Up Furniture Outdoor Small Items
"Convertible Bunk Bed Project"

Over Xmas 2003, SHMBO asked me to make our boys a set of Bunk Beds but they had to be made so that they could be normal single beds until the little one (who's not quite 2) gets some sense (hah - never happen).
Below is a picture of them in Bunk Bed configuration (the ladder was not attached yet). I had not finished the ladder when this shot was taken but it is designed to hook over the rail in the gap between the top safety rail and the bed head.

Under the bottom bed is a set of very big storage drawers which are a separate unit (they are about the size of a cupboard but lying on its side!!)

Oh, that is my oldest boy Jacob in the shot - a very pleased 5yr old!! He thinks Daddy done good

This is a shot showing the beds in individual setup - the safety rails have now been fitted to the right hand bed and will stay on until the little fella has grown up a bit.  In years to come, they will be configured as bunk beds and the rails will go back on. 

A bit about the Construction

The timber is just plain old radiata pine but with a "New Maple" stain over the top it came up a treat.

For the mattress support, I used just hardwood slats. Actually, the slats are from our old hardwood fence - came up beautifully after a few hours "treatment" on my Jointer/Thicknesser. In fact, I was a bit reluctant to use them as bed slats. But I did in the end as I did not have a choice really.
The Bed head and end are true 1/2" Mortise/Tenon on the top and bottom rails. As are the main joints on the Safety Rails. The vertical slats in head/end/safety rails are done the "cheats" way. This involves cutting a groove in the edge of the support rail for the whole length and then fitting in a filler strip that has the mortises pre-cut. The filler strip is made by marking up 50mm dado's spaced 50mm apart in a piece of 140mm (or whatever size) pine and then cutting out the dados.
I have a Dado set in my T/S so I used that but you could also do it on the Router Table or even using a handheld router with guide bars clamped across. Anyway, once you have then cut you then just slice them into 12mm strips using the Table Saw. Below is a picture showing some leftover pieces together and then separated which should give you the general idea.
The Safety rails are also a bit tricky. The back one is fixed to the bed at the back by short lengths of steel strap that are on the inside of the rails. These are screwed to the bed rail. As well, there are two small straps going from the safety rail posts to the bed head/end posts. Except for the two top small straps, the rest are hidden by the mattress.

The front shorter one also uses these straps but is not screwed in place. It simply slides into place and then the Ladder is designed to lock it in place. I did it this way to make it easier for the Boss to change the linen. She can easily remove the ladder but lifting it up and then remove the safety rail by sliding it across and then up. Took a bit to figure out but it works a treat and the safety rails are very solid when in place.

To the left is a composite pic showing the front rail in place (no ladder yet) and then in the process of removal. Also a picture of the back showing the steel support straps.

The beds convert to bunk beds from singles as follows:

1) Both Bed Heads are fitted to one bed
2) Both Bed Ends are fitter to the other (I just bolt together fittings to make them strong and also help with fitting in any configuration)
3) The Bed Heads have two 60mm deep holes in the top which are covered by timber buttons when they are single beds. Remove the plugs and fit 10mm steel rods which are 120mm long.
4) The Bed Ends have 60mm deep holes drilled into the bottom of each leg.
5) Get the SHMBO to help and lift the bed on top of the bottom bed lining up the pins and give a small push
6) Done.
Hope this explains everything.

Below is a picture of the storage unit carcass.  Each of the drawers is 900mm x 500mm x 300mm so they should hold quite a bit of gear.
And here is a picture of the completed storage unit under one of the beds.

Below is a picture of the unstained Safety Rails.

Up Furniture Outdoor Small Items