I'm pretty sure I have a good idea of what I'll be doing for the rest of the bed. For those curious. I'm wanting to make my own version of the DWR American Modern bed. The two boards in question are the main support board, which will support the middle of the bed slats, and a 1x2 toe rest to hold the mattress. The lumber will be either poplar or maple (I still need to price wood, and budget is unfortunately a constraint).

I'm planning on a 1x4 for the center board. It is green in the image below. enter image description here

I am planning on applying glue to the end-grain faces of the board and then butting it to the pink main boards. I think I'll then use a Kreg jig to secure it with at least two screws per side. I do have a biscuit joiner; would it be better to use that? It would be my preference to use it. I'm just hesitant about alignment.

For the toe rest, I can only think of one way to do it. It is the green rectangle in the image below. enter image description here

The toe rest will be 1x2. I'm planning on drilling the underside with a doweling jig, and then using dowel centers to mark holes on the end of the pink board. Is there a better a way?

I'm hoping that I can get confirmation that my plans for joining the two boards will work, if not I'd like advice. Thanks in advance.

  • My two bits, normally I'd be in favour of wood joinery (so here, biscuits) over something like pocket screws but for this they'll probably be stronger and they'll be easier for you to do, so between those two picks go with the screws. But, M&T joints would be much stronger. Even lapped joints might be stronger since it would be a face grain/face grain joint, with no end grain involved in a major way. The laps could be further strengthened with nails or screws for long-term security.
    – Graphus
    Jun 19, 2017 at 7:45
  • Re. fixing the 1x2, you don't need to use dowels (or any other reinforcement for that matter) unless you need them as an alignment aid, as this is a face grain/face grain joint a glue-only fixing is plenty strong enough.
    – Graphus
    Jun 19, 2017 at 7:45

1 Answer 1


There are several considerations you must address before executing this project.

  1. Your tapered edge frame is too shallow. If you look at most wood bedframes, the side boards are usually around 6" deep. Your profile appears to be 1 1/2" deep and approximately 3" wide with a tapered profile. This is not adequate to carry the load of the mattress and people it must support. Looking at photos of the DWR designs I strongly suspect that there is an embedded metal frame supporting the bed frame. There is a link to a website called the Sagulator under the "Design" tag wiki for this site that provides a tool for evaluating the strength of various woods and profiles.
  2. Your mattress should rest directly upon the 1x4 slats which means that your tapered edge pieces are either too high or extend beyond the edge of the mattress. This could create a hard edge for people to climb over resulting in bumped knees etc..
  3. Gluing the end grain to the side of the edge boards is the weakest possible joint. Consider creating a rabbet on the inside top corner of the edges to receive slats. If you cut the rabbet to the depth of the slats, you will create a continuous flat surface for the mattress to rest on. Make the rabbet at least 1" wide to provide adequate gluing surface.
  4. The relative thinness of your frame and the use of screws instead of continuous gluing will allow your frame to rack out of square more easily making moving the frame more difficult. Make the entire platform as rigid as possible.
  5. If you do not use a box spring to support the mattress, I would be concerned about the 1x4's supporting the mattress. The wider the mattress is the more there will be a tendency to sag across the width of the bed frame.
  6. I would strongly recommend avoiding softwoods and less dense hardwoods such as poplar for the structural members of this design.
  7. Bear in mind that you can make the framework much thicker and still show a thinner edge profile using a design such as you show, but with a much deeper frame set in from the edge approximately 1'-0".

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