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I'm designing the leg for a bed loft and was planning on laminating together 4 1x4's of Poplar. The middle two boards would not go the full length of the leg, so that a 2x6 can slide into it. This 2x6 would be what forms the length of the bed on each side. I am wondering if wood glue on the faces of the 1x4's would make it strong enough, or if I should drill a hole through all 4 of them about every foot and glue in a wooden dowel. Would the dowel help or would drilling the hole just hurt the integrity of the boards and create more work for myself?

Also, the 2x6 will be running the length of the mattress and supporting most of the weight (along with its parallel one on the other side of the bed, about 7ft long). Is a 2x6 overkill and would a 1x6 suffice (dropping the legs to be three 1x4's instead)?

Loft leg

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    Well-made glue joints are stronger than the wood around them, so yes, glue alone is more than fine for this type of thing. Some related Answers for more, woodworking.stackexchange.com/questions/6227/… woodworking.stackexchange.com/questions/4233/… and woodworking.stackexchange.com/questions/4151/… – Graphus supports Monica Mar 18 '18 at 19:35
  • Re. your second query, try not to have two unrelated queries in one Question. As much as possible Questions should be about one thing, and it's perfectly fine to ask multiple Qs about various aspects of a single project (as long as they haven't been covered in previous Q&As). – Graphus supports Monica Mar 18 '18 at 19:38
  • For odd-sized pictures like this, I tend to add the letter m at the end of the imgur link (before the file extension) to make it medium-sized (no need to re-upload, just change the inserted link when you edit). Or s for small. It's a lot of scrolling to get to the answers sometimes! Is this plan made with sketchup? – ww_init_js Mar 20 '18 at 17:10
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To answer the first part of your question, the glue adhesion should be more than adequate to handle the weight from the 2x6. This is both because the glue is more than strong enough to bind the four pieces together and the weight can easily be carried by the inner 1x4s so no load even has to transfer to the outer ones. The outer boards are only used to bracket the 2x6 in its slot and to provide additional resistance to having the posts bend from weight at the top.

With regards to the size of the 2x6 vs. 1x6 in all probablility the 1x6 could carry the load, but it is not thick enough to prevent twisting over its length. The thicker 2x6 provides more than enough strength to support the weight and also is thick enough to avoid twisting which would result in the board not being vertical at the center and providing less support and a really insecure appearance.

Other thoughts I have on your design is that you using poplar on the posts but not on the beams? They may not accept finish the same. IF you use pine on the beams, why not everywhere? Note that finding clear pine other than in 1" thick pieces is difficult. I often go to the big box and sort through their 2x12 lumber. You can often find pieces with no knots over much of its width and I will trim off the knotted portions creating my own 2x? clear stock. Also, if you intend to glue 4 pieces of poplar note that the edges will not necessarily be flush. You may need a jointer or planer to clean up the outside faces.

BTW. Drilling holes (say 1/2"d) at the center of the post width would have almost no affect on the strength of the post.

  • Thanks for the feedback. I was planning on using poplar for everything to attempt to match some existing furniture, though I am finding that a 2 x 6 is not a standard poplar size. Could I also laminate two 1 x 6 poplar boards to create the 2 x 6? – ctrlalt313373 Mar 18 '18 at 22:45
  • @DavidOsborn, yes absolutely. – Charlie Kilian Mar 18 '18 at 23:43
  • Actually, I think the outside 1x4 will make a significant difference to the strength of the columns. The likely failure mode is Euler buckling (it bends), rather than compression failure of the beam (it gets crushed). Making the column thicker will make it much less likely to bend. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Mar 20 '18 at 14:57
  • When face-gluing boards together, always arrange the growth rings so that they all curve the same way (all frown, or all smile) -- as best as you can. This guarantees that expansion/contraction will work in your favor. And, yes, glue has a stronger bond than wood fibre --- but only if your faces have good contact when you glue them -- so make sure everything is planed flat at glue-up, and well clamped. – ww_init_js Mar 20 '18 at 17:03

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