Fixing the Roomie’s Bed Frame

Completed side rail

Completed side rail

(First off: I apologize for not getting pictures of the process.)

A week or so back one of my roommates texted me in the middle of the night apologizing for the noise I may or may not have heard above my bedroom.  I can only assume this is what was happening when his bed broke, but regardless of what nefarious things were going on above me I offered to repair the damage.

The Damage

If I had been motivated enough to take a “before” picture you’d see that a side rail split completely down the middle.  From the yellowish red color and grain of the lumber I’m pretty certain his bed was made from douglas fir.  I had some on hand (it was the same stuff my old floors were made from), but I concluded that none of the material I had on-hand would stand up to the rigors of modern bachelor life.

The Repair

I decided to make the new rail out of oak.  I knew  it was never going to be a perfect match, but hey–if the finish was going to get splashed with booze and seminal fluid on a regular basis anyway, why worry about a perfectly matched finish?

The rail is a little over 8″ wide with curved lifts at either end and an additional strip at the bottom notched for slats that run perpendicular and hold up the box springs.  I cut everything to size and glued and screwed the bottom strip.

The rail had a groove cut in the end grain to accept the metal hardware.  I’m not sure how the original was accomplished, but I did this cut as a bridle joint on my band saw and then cut and glued filler strips to close the ends back up at the top and bottom.

In order to create the curves on top of the side rail I traced the original on a piece of 1/4″ plywood and made a template.  I rough-cut the new pieces on the band saw and then completed the curve with a flush trim router bit.  I edge glued and clamped the curves to the main piece and left it cure.

Once the glue was dry I scraped both sides clean, then used a roman ogee bit to put a decorative edge on the new piece. It wasn’t an exact match for the curve on the old piece, but I didn’t feel like buying a new bit to match a piece that wasn’t going to match the original anyway.

I fail on matching the finish.  I was told the original finish was Old English which translated in my brain to Early Colonial which I had on hand.  Nope. Totally different. Sue me.

The metal hardware was pinned to the rail with metal dowel rod and unfortunately a few were missing, I bought a new piece of 1/4 metal dowel and made a jig to make it simple to cut off pins of a uniform 3/4″ length.  I softened the edge of the pins on my grinder and put everything together.

My New Fence Gate

After months of having zero desire to spend time in my wood shop due to the weather I finally had a few days to complete a project I’ve had in mind for months: a new gate for the fence around my yard.  My dog isn’t thrilled that he can no longer agitate the neighbors at will, but I’m as happy as can be.


I made my gate out of stuff I had sitting around.  The frames are made of 2 x 4 and the slats are made from some leftover fence material.  I’d like to stress at this point that Lowe’s 2 x 4 stock sucks.  Their lumber is just too warped for something like this.  I bought my lumber at Mifflinburg Lumber and Building Supply. Their prices are competitive and their lumber always seems to much straighter than what the bigger stores offer.

The fence that I cannibalized for the center slats was similar to this one.

Preparing Stock

The first thing I did was cut everything to length, then planes and jointed all of the pieces. As a beginner in woodworking I can’t stress enough how much easier your tools will work and much simpler calculations and assembly becomes when you take the take to ensure that your material is actually square.

I decided to put a decorative edge on the frame using one of the bits from my MLCS 8377 15-Piece Router Bit Set.


My original plan was to finally make use of my Dewalt Biscuit Joiner to assemble the frame.  I put two biscuits in each corner to stiffen up the miter joints, after the fact I decided that a couple of screws might be necessary.  I put a single 2″ exterior screw in each corner and hid the holes with plugs made from dowel rod.

The slats were an interesting problem. Each slat overlaps the one beside it by about 1/4″, which left about 2″ of open space in the groove cut into the frame.  This was going to result in water pooling in that area which would destroy the bottom of the gate in no time at all.  I decided to solve the problem by gluing in filler-strips.

The four pieces of hardware that hold the board used to “lock” the gate are simply 10″ strips of pine 1 x 3 glued to 2″ of 1 x 3 and fastened to the gate with stainless steel hardware.


For the finish I ended up using stuff I already had on hand: Minwax Early American Wood Stain and exterior polyurethane. The hardware is all stainless steel.  I’d like to paint it black and I do have some touch-up to finish on the gate where I removed the old hinges, but overall I’m really please with the way this turned out.