We have two kids and one on the way. This meant that we need to get my (current) youngest out of his crib-turned daybed and into a twin sized bed. The catch? The kids room is so small that only bunk beds will fit. *** ENTER PERMISSION TO START A NEW PROJECT*** Fellow dad’s like me can attest to the feeling of being given permission (and budget) to go design and start a new project. I feel like a greyhound where the gate has just been opened and there is a mechanical rabbit to chase.
So I get to build bunk beds for my kids! I’m pretty sure, as a dad, this is one of the most iconic projects I can build. I’m excited. I’m going to build this thing with all mortise and tenon joinery so it will be bullet proof as the 35lb kids turn into 135lb teenagers.
There is a problem though, my router is a early 1980’s Craftsman model that makes funny noises when spinning up, doesn’t like to hold bits at a consistent height, and only accepts 1/4″ bits. Solution? Include in the budget for this project the cost of a new router.
BOOM I got me one of these bad boys!
DEWALT DW618PKB 2-1/4 HP EVS Fixed Base/Plunge Router Combo Kit with Soft Start
I have to say, this new router is pretty sweet! The height adjustment ring is a nice change to my old router that just lifted and lowered in the base, and you hoped to get it to stop right on the 3/8″ depth you were aiming for.
The soft start feature is also very nice. It is probably not that big of a deal, but the tool kicking in your hands when you turn it on is unnerving. This router slowly revs up as if to say “good morning, shall we have a nice safe time today?”.
But the biggest improvement is the plunge base. When combined with a spiral bit, I can cut mortises like a madman. All I need now is the edge guide (arriving from amazon tomorrow) so I can dial in the perfect distance of the mortise from the edge of the board. DEWALT DW6913 Router Edge Guide with Fine Adjustment and Vacuum Adaptor
Okay enough about the router…
Here is a picture of the rough plans. I still need to add more stretchers on the ends and probably some angle bracing on the back. Here are the main points of the design:
- Bed Materials: All materials for the bed structure will be 2×4 and 2×6 douglas fir lumber from lowes. I’m going to run them through the planer and take them down to 1 1/4″ in thickness and 3″ or 5″ in width.
- Bed Joinery: The ends of the bed will be glued mortise and tenon and will be moved around as a unit. The long stretchers will be mortised in, but I plan to use bolts and threaded inserts to keep the joint together instead of glue.
- Stairs: The stair cubby on the end will be made from 3/4″ plywood using pocket holes. It has a 1/4″ back on it to help prevent racking. This will help get my daughter up to where the bed is waist height before she has to climb into bed. Call me a crazy parent, but I don’t trust my kids coming down ladders in the middle of the night when they have to go potty.
- Finish: Everything will receive a milk paint finish. More posts will come on this later when we paint the project.