I started working on my headboard in July 2019 (see From Toilet Surround to Headboard post). At the end of that post I wrote “So what to do. Use the oak I purchased or create a fully salvaged headboard and use the pine. You’ll have to keep checking my blog to see how this project is going to end. Anyone want to lay bets?” The winner was pine. Not the floor joist I referenced, but reclaimed barn lumber I purchased Building Value. All the weeks and hours I spent building the top shelve out of oak and side shelves out aspen were scrapped.
First step was going back to the Jen Woodhouse plan I purchased for her Evelyn King Headboard. I had cut off 10″ of the back for the top shelf. My first step was reattaching it. The only blessing in my stupid decision to cut it off was that it led to my not following her plan precisely from the beginning. If I had I would have had a 100% glued up headboard that would NOT have fit up the stairs leading to my master suite. The seam is noticeable, but by turning that end towards the bottom the seam is hidden by the mattress. After that I went back to her plans and added the other section of plywood it called for minus a couple of inches as I had made the bead board panel longer than her plans. I plugged the pocket holes and then decided to paint the back side the same blue, Indigo Batik, as the bedroom walls. I still had the sample quart, so no need to spend more money on paint.
Since I had gone back to the plans, I also decided to build the side and foot rails. I had plenty of bead board (it was going to be used for my beverage station project) to work with, but I also had two unique pieces that I thought would make great side rails. I had the sidelights from the original front door. After removing the remaining glass the outer frame was perfect. They were longer and slightly wider than what the plans called for, but a couple of passes on a table saw and chop on a miter saw made them the right size. They were covered in paint and peeling veneer. I knew this could be cleaned up with a couple of passes through the Manufactory planer. I used my heat gun to remove the remaining paint from the decorative edge. I only needed three pieces of bead board per panel to fill the opening. I wanted more definition between the sides and the bead board, which I had treated with natural Danish Oil. I used dark walnut Danish Oil on the frame.
The next step was preparing the side pieces. The plan called for 2x4s, but I didn’t want to use new wood for it. I didn’t want to rip down the floor joist given two me (I want to make a farm table with them), so I went to Building Value and purchased several pieces of reclaimed 2×6 pine beams. They were still filled with nails, so they only cost $1/foot. Once I had removed all the nails I ran them through the planer and joiner to create smooth surfaces. I could have left the rough saw marks, but that seemed too rustic for my bedroom. I was going for rustic chic given all the old repurposed wood I was using. I made all the cuts per the plan. I applied dark walnut Danish Oil to them. Once dried I attached the short legs to the side light panels and plugged the pocket holes. I decided to paint the insides blue just to clean them up.
With the side rails complete I turned my focus on the foot rail. The plan called for just one 2×4 on the top with the design boards underneath, but I made another slight alteration by putting what was basically a 2×2 at the top and bottom with the design in the middle. I was trying to replicate the side rail look. The plans also had the design boards running horizontal (same as the side rails), but I decided to run the chevron to match the headboard. I wasn’t concerned with precise cuts for the sides and bottom as my plan was to run the board through my table saw to trim the bottom and miter saw to trim the sides. I painted the back to cover the plywood board in the same fashion as the headboard.
With all the pieces complete it was time to move the pieces upstairs. The connecting of the headboard sides and top will need to take place in my bedroom and I’d need help carrying it upstairs, so I took the side and foot rails up and put them together with bed frame rails. I wish I had gone back to Jen Woodhouse’s website with the bed plan as she recommended a specific style rail. I purchased Surface Mounted Keyhole Bed Rail Brackets from Rockler. Rockler had the style she recommended also, but the one I selected allowed you to enter a screw for security, ensuring they would never come apart. I’m not sure why I was concerned about that. I was excited to get the headboard up, so I reached out to my cousin Zachary (young muscle) for help getting it upstairs.
I picked him up after his work shift. We carried it up the basement stairs, out the back door, around the house, through the front door, and then up the stairs to the master. It took us hours to get the side rails attached. Poor Zach had worked all day and then I held him hostage another 5 hours. I was so engrossed in attaching the sides, trying to get the mitered corners right that I didn’t take any pics, but finally we got it erected and leaning against the wall. Attaching the side rails to the headboard I thought would be the easy part since I had successfully attached the bed rail brackets to the foot and side rails. NOT! The rails I bought didn’t work the way the rails she recommended based on the headboard design. I finally gave up and took Zach home. I slept on the floor that night.
Clarity always comes in the morning and I had a plan devised. I needed to add pieces of wood to the bottom of the headboard to create a flush surface to mount the bracket. Fortunately I had plenty of scrap pieces to work with. Once I got those pieces glued and screwed in place I was ready to try attaching the rails again. I didn’t have the extra pair of hands, Zachary, anymore so I used my 4′ ladder and clamps to hold the headboard upright. I discovered I had actually installed the brackets on the bottom backwards. With all four pieces attached I then went back to the plans and attached the support pieces that would hold the box spring slats. I won’t need them, but I did want to put the support pieces in place for any future owner of the bedframe. Despite the splice at the bottom I think it turned out beautiful; not bad for an advanced DIYer. It’s sturdy and well built. My hopes would be that the headboard always remain in this space if I should depart this life while still living in the house. With the headboard complete I was back to the issue of what to do for a nightstand. Thanks to Etsy that problem was solved. Read how in my next post.