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Posted: 9/29/2014 1:45:56 PM EST
About to build a bunk bed and trying to find that right price/strength ratio for wood. I need something that will hold up, but won't kill my wallet.

I've thought about Radiata Pine since they offer it at HD for a good price, but am not sure if it'll hold up. Basically the bed is going to consist of two book shelves with the bed on top. Something like the photo below. The vertical posts will be 2x2s.



Any insight?
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 2:09:15 PM EST
that for kids?? if so, I"d use framing pine with a lot of sanding and 3 coats of paint, kids just eat up furniture worse than termites.
..
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 2:31:53 PM EST
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Originally Posted By douglasmorris99:
that for kids?? if so, I"d use framing pine with a lot of sanding and 3 coats of paint, kids just eat up furniture worse than termites.
..
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I haven't seen any 1x's in framing pine and the 2x2s are twisted all to hell.
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 4:05:58 PM EST
I haven't run the numbers but I'd bet Douglas fir has the best strength to cost ratio. It is stronger than pine and is low priced. It's usually available in straight boards, too, but some hand selecting is usually needed.

2X2 for the corner posts seems too small for the weight and dynamics that will inevitably happen up high on the bed.
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 4:43:27 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
I haven't run the numbers but I'd bet Douglas fir has the best strength to cost ratio. It is stronger than pine and is low priced. It's usually available in straight boards, too, but some hand selecting is usually needed.

2X2 for the corner posts seems too small for the weight and dynamics that will inevitably happen up high on the bed.
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My thoughts exactly. Douglas fir will be best $/strength... and 2X2 sounds way too small for what is going to happen on that bed no matter what the age (college student down through young kids)... all age ranges will in some way induces some sort of stress to the frame. I would be going with 2X4 minimum and make sure it's X-braced in the back...
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 4:53:03 PM EST
My work bench is made of Ash, I think it was about $4.00-4.50 per board foot. Poplar is generally cheap as well, but it is stone cold ugly unless painted or otherwise masked.

I'd skip all the construction lumber, you can actually watch the stuff twist and bow after you mill it.
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 6:23:15 PM EST
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Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:
I would be going with 2X4 minimum and make sure it's X-braced in the back...
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If he does it right, the bookcase' flat plywood panels would act as shear panels, avoiding the need for X-bracing.
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 6:25:02 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Skunkeye:
I'd skip all the construction lumber, you can actually watch the stuff twist and bow after you mill it.
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However true this is, he said he was after the lowest cost per unit strength.

If it warps after milling, don't mill it.
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 6:27:08 PM EST
Here's a link to the strength of wood species.

Click here
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 6:31:17 PM EST
I've built two sets out of 2x6s.

Works fine.
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 6:36:47 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2014 6:39:53 PM EST by peasant]
The type of wood doesn't really matter. It's all about construction. I could build that out of Cottonwood and have it hold up. In case anybody doubts me look up calebwoodardfurniture.com. That's my son. 40 years experience here. Put it together right and it will hold up.
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 6:38:02 PM EST
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Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:

My thoughts exactly. Douglas fir will be best $/strength... and 2X2 sounds way too small for what is going to happen on that bed no matter what the age (college student down through young kids)... all age ranges will in some way induces some sort of stress to the frame. I would be going with 2X4 minimum and make sure it's X-braced in the back...
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Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
I haven't run the numbers but I'd bet Douglas fir has the best strength to cost ratio. It is stronger than pine and is low priced. It's usually available in straight boards, too, but some hand selecting is usually needed.

2X2 for the corner posts seems too small for the weight and dynamics that will inevitably happen up high on the bed.

My thoughts exactly. Douglas fir will be best $/strength... and 2X2 sounds way too small for what is going to happen on that bed no matter what the age (college student down through young kids)... all age ranges will in some way induces some sort of stress to the frame. I would be going with 2X4 minimum and make sure it's X-braced in the back...


I've talked with the builder of the bed and they said the 2x2s are strong enough, and with it being on shelving units, is very sturdy.
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 6:40:41 PM EST
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Originally Posted By peasant:
The type of wood doesn't really matter. It's all about construction. I could build that out of Cottonwood and have it hold up. In case anybody doubts me look up calebwoodardfurniture.com. That's my son. 40 years experience here.
View Quote


So, what do you think about this particular design? Anything construction-wise I should keep in mind while building?
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 6:56:24 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2014 6:58:58 PM EST by TxBird]
I just built this for my kid with some modifications. She loved it. I used #2 SYP.
I adjusted all lengths so I could use dimensional lumber. Make the 2x2's into 1.5"x1.5".
I'll post pics later.
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 1:35:22 AM EST
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Originally Posted By TxBird:
I just built this for my kid with some modifications. She loved it. I used #2 SYP.
I adjusted all lengths so I could use dimensional lumber. Make the 2x2's into 1.5"x1.5".
I'll post pics later.
View Quote


For high quality SYP you could get some OSHA planks (scaffolding planks), they are inspected for growth rings per inch and strength. Not cheaper than scabby studs, though.
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 5:32:48 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:


If he does it right, the bookcase' flat plywood panels would act as shear panels, avoiding the need for X-bracing.
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:
I would be going with 2X4 minimum and make sure it's X-braced in the back...


If he does it right, the bookcase' flat plywood panels would act as shear panels, avoiding the need for X-bracing.

You are right, they will. But in the longitudinal direction there isn't much there even if the panels are done right... I would just X-brace the back and be certain. There is nothing to lose by doing it except a little less pleasing appearance...
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 10:45:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/30/2014 10:46:53 AM EST by Trollslayer]
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Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:

You are right, they will. But in the longitudinal direction there isn't much there even if the panels are done right... I would just X-brace the back and be certain. There is nothing to lose by doing it except a little less pleasing appearance...
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Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:
I would be going with 2X4 minimum and make sure it's X-braced in the back...


If he does it right, the bookcase' flat plywood panels would act as shear panels, avoiding the need for X-bracing.

You are right, they will. But in the longitudinal direction there isn't much there even if the panels are done right... I would just X-brace the back and be certain. There is nothing to lose by doing it except a little less pleasing appearance...


I think the width of the file drawers/book cases will help in that direction. There are also pairs of legs on each end to provide additional support. There are shear panels on the left side and the right rear.

I think the joinery, gluing, bracing and fasteners are the keys to success.
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 10:46:13 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:


I think the width of the file drawers/book cases will do the job in that direction. There are also pairs of legs on each end to provide additional support. On the right side there is a shear panel in the back.

I think the joinery, bracing and fasteners are the keys to success.
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:
I would be going with 2X4 minimum and make sure it's X-braced in the back...


If he does it right, the bookcase' flat plywood panels would act as shear panels, avoiding the need for X-bracing.

You are right, they will. But in the longitudinal direction there isn't much there even if the panels are done right... I would just X-brace the back and be certain. There is nothing to lose by doing it except a little less pleasing appearance...


I think the width of the file drawers/book cases will do the job in that direction. There are also pairs of legs on each end to provide additional support. On the right side there is a shear panel in the back.

I think the joinery, bracing and fasteners are the keys to success.


What type of joinery do you suggest?
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 10:49:38 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/30/2014 10:52:54 AM EST by Trollslayer]
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Originally Posted By Durka-Durka:
What type of joinery do you suggest?
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Good joinery.

Are you working to plans for this build or just designing it yourself based on that sketch?

Are you going to mill and use true 2" X 2" boards or 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" boards from the store?
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 10:57:25 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:



Good joinery.

Are you working to plans for this build or just designing it yourself based on that sketch?

Are you going to mill and use true 2" X 2" boards or 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" boards from the store?
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Originally Posted By Durka-Durka:
What type of joinery do you suggest?



Good joinery.

Are you working to plans for this build or just designing it yourself based on that sketch?

Are you going to mill and use true 2" X 2" boards or 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" boards from the store?


Well shit there are a ton of different good joints I can use.

I'm working off that basic sketch, but using my own design. I was planning on using a mix of pocket-hole, rabbet, and/or butt-joint.
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 5:12:56 PM EST
Wood in compression is very very strong.
You need to prevent racking and have wide enough rails.
Even a pine 1x10 would be adequate for the rails.
Just make sure the grain does not 'run out' the side of the 10 inch dimension.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 12:30:20 PM EST
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Originally Posted By peasant:
The type of wood doesn't really matter. It's all about construction. I could build that out of Cottonwood and have it hold up. In case anybody doubts me look up calebwoodardfurniture.com. That's my son. 40 years experience here. Put it together right and it will hold up.
View Quote



Your son needs to take a look at his site. When you click on the furniture to view it the page doesn't display.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 12:35:00 PM EST
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Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Wood in compression is very very strong.
You need to prevent racking and have wide enough rails.
Even a pine 1x10 would be adequate for the rails.
Just make sure the grain does not 'run out' the side of the 10 inch dimension.
View Quote


I'm not so much concerned for the rails as I am the 2x2's holding the shelving and bed up. Unless by "rails" you mean something else?
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 5:11:41 PM EST
Rails are the boards that run horizontally, such as around the perimeter of the bed (beneath the matress).
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 7:14:08 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Durka-Durka:


I'm not so much concerned for the rails as I am the 2x2's holding the shelving and bed up. Unless by "rails" you mean something else?
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Originally Posted By Durka-Durka:
Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Wood in compression is very very strong.
You need to prevent racking and have wide enough rails.
Even a pine 1x10 would be adequate for the rails.
Just make sure the grain does not 'run out' the side of the 10 inch dimension.


I'm not so much concerned for the rails as I am the 2x2's holding the shelving and bed up. Unless by "rails" you mean something else?


Do you have any idea of the compressive strength of wood?
Think many thousands of PSI.
Ever try to actually compress a 2x2 vertically?

Take a piece a few inches long and try to crush it in a vice.
You will likely need a dial caliper to tell if you changed the length.


Link Posted: 10/3/2014 10:59:47 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/3/2014 11:00:38 PM EST by Trimdad]
Nice layout. I just finished building my son something very similar
But with a fort type theme , it took 13 sheets of ply.. Im staining it right now,,,, which I absolutely
Hate doing.

Anyway, I made the entire thing out of hone depot pine plywood.
I've built all my shop cabinets out of it.. Good stuff
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 9:08:57 PM EST
Any link for plans like the one in the picture?
Link Posted: 10/5/2014 12:42:39 AM EST
Google ANNA WHITE PLANS. Good site. I built the American girll bunk beds and horse barn.
Link Posted: 10/5/2014 6:13:39 AM EST
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Originally Posted By mohawk17:
Any link for plans like the one in the picture?
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Here's a few
Link Posted: 10/5/2014 7:09:13 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Durka-Durka:


Well shit there are a ton of different good joints I can use.

I'm working off that basic sketch, but using my own design. I was planning on using a mix of pocket-hole, rabbet, and/or butt-joint.
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Originally Posted By Durka-Durka:
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Originally Posted By Durka-Durka:
What type of joinery do you suggest?



Good joinery.

Are you working to plans for this build or just designing it yourself based on that sketch?

Are you going to mill and use true 2" X 2" boards or 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" boards from the store?


Well shit there are a ton of different good joints I can use.

I'm working off that basic sketch, but using my own design. I was planning on using a mix of pocket-hole, rabbet, and/or butt-joint.


You're better off using mortise and tenon joints or other mechanically locking joints. There is a lot of stress on a bed, especially one such as that and for kids no less. You can use knock down hardware like what furniture from Ikea uses and that'd work well enough. Butt joints don't have a lot of strength unless it's in a long grain glue joint like a panel. Pocket joints are fine for static joints like face frames or even table bases that don't really rack or move much. In a bed there's a lot of racking, twisting, and general movement. Mechanical fasteners alone will get loose and fail over time.

With that said, if you do use the tried and test M&T joint you'll need to start with milled lumber that's straight and square. Construction grade or even "finished" lumber you buy won't give you a good surface to reference measurements from. Of course, you could use a Festool Domino joiner but those are expensive.

Yeah I know that sounds like I'm making more of it than you probably want but that's coming from a woodworking hobbiest.
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