And the design is adaptable to suit your preferences: You can build it with or without a headboard (see the headboard plans article here), and if you want a smaller bed, you can shrink many of the parts and replace the center box and drawer at the foot with a framed panel to create a queen-size version (get the Queen-size Platform Bed cutting list here).
Almost any hardwood or softwood would suffice for this project; I used solid white ash and quarter-sawn white ash plywood. Ash is easy to machine, warm-toned, light-colored and relatively cheap compared with other hardwoods. My materials cost about $900; keep in mind that other types of wood may cost more.
This is a large project, and not for beginners; completing it requires a moderate amount of woodworking knowledge and skill. You must be able to glue solid-wood pieces to the edges of plywood pieces so they are aligned perfectly flush, and you'll have to trim drawer faces to fit perfectly in inset openings. (I used my edge sander.) Be prepared to assemble large pieces with help from a friend or family member. I spent 120 hours building this bed. I'm not trying to discourage you; I just want you to know what you're getting into before you invest a lot of time and money in the project.
Platform Bed Construction Notes
Building this bed requires all of the common woodworking machines, power and hand tools, a pocket-hole drilling jig, at least five 78-in. opening pipe clamps, a variety of shorter bar clamps and a table saw blade with flat ground teeth. (A flat-tooth ripping blade is fine.) You'll also need these router bits: a top-bearing pattern bit, a 1/2-in. roundover bit and a 1/4-in. roundover bit.
The storage section is made up of seven boxes screwed together: the head box, two drawer boxes, a narrow drawer box and two corner boxes (at the foot of the bed) with a center drawer box in between. Two deck panels are screwed on top of the storage section to complete the platform. This component approach makes building, finishing, transporting and setting up the bed much easier.
The bed has five large and four small drawers made from 1/2-in.-thick Baltic birch plywood, a dense multilayer material that is very stable. It should be available at your local hardwood lumber supplier, or you can buy it online. The drawer corners are joined with glued and pinned interlocking tongue-and-groove joints. Machining the drawer joints for a perfect fit can be difficult, but the strength of the joint is worth the effort. The drawer slides are 1-in. over-travel models, meaning they extend all the way plus an extra inch. They offer complete access to the drawers even though the deck panels overhang the base by 2 in. The drawer faces are attached to the drawers with screws so they can be trimmed and adjusted.
Keep in mind that when you assemble the three boxes at the foot of the bed, their cumulative width must be slightly (1/32 in. to 1/16 in.) less than the length of the narrow drawer box. This ensures that the sides of the corner boxes can be aligned flush with the faces of the narrow drawer box.
The mitered corners of the stiles (E1) make assembling the two corner boxes the most difficult aspect of construction. I considered just using butt joints, but after seeing the finished bed, I'm glad I employed miters. Follow the how-to assembly sequence closely when you get to that point, and you'll be fine.
Cut pieces B1 through B5, C1, C2, E1, E2 and E3 to size. Note: The dimensions in the cutting list assume your 3/4-in. plywood is 23/32 in. thick, so the lengths of the pieces that fit between other plywood pieces have been configured accordingly. Take eight of the 20 rails (E3) and drill the screw holes in them for joining the boxes later. Two rails with holes are used on each of the three large noncorner drawer boxes, and the other two are used on the narrow drawer box.
Glue and clamp rails without screw holes to the sides of panels C1 and C2. Miter one end of eight of the 14 long stiles (E1); they are used in building the two corner boxes. Glue and clamp mitered stiles to the ends of the wide panels (C1). Glue and clamp short stiles (E2) to the ends of the narrow panels (C2). Assemble the three large face frames for the noncorner drawer boxes and the two face frames for the narrow drawer boxes. At this point, just glue and clamp the joints; the biscuits that join the face frames to the plywood sides later will add strength. Attach the remaining two rails (E3) to the front edges of the inside birch plywood sides (B4) of the two corner boxes.
Finish sand the fronts of the face frames and framed panels to 150-grit. Cut the biscuit grooves for joining the parts to make the boxes. Glue and clamp the dividers (B5) to the long sides (B1); then add the framed panels to complete the head box, and add the narrow face frames to complete the narrow drawer box. Glue and clamp the large face frames, the long backs (B2) and the sides (B4) together to make the three large noncorner drawer boxes.
Glue and clamp the framed panels to the ends of the head box, and make sure the assembly is square.
To build the two corner drawer boxes, glue and clamp the sides with the rails attached, the short backs (B3) and the framed panels together; then add the stiles (E1) to complete the corner boxes. Rout the rounded over outside edges on the corner boxes.
Build the drawers
The drawers are designed with slide-in bottoms. I find it much easier to finish the drawers before installing the bottoms. Cut the drawer pieces I1 through J3 to size. Note: The dimensions in the cutting list assume your 1/2-in. Baltic birch plywood is 15/32-in. thick, so the lengths of the drawer fronts and backs have been configured accordingly. Cut the drawer corner-joint grooves and tongues. Test your machining setups on scrap wood to be sure the joints fit.
Cut the grooves in the drawer fronts and sides for the drawer bottoms. (Match the width of the groove to the thickness of the plywood bottom.) Drill the holes in the drawer fronts for mounting the drawer faces. Cut the drawer bottoms (K1, K2) 1 in. wider than the finished dimension (22-3/4-in.); with this approach, you can use the drawer bottoms to square the drawers during assembly and then grab the excess to pull the bottoms back out.
Finish sand the insides of the drawer sides, fronts and backs; then assemble the drawers. After the glue has dried, remove the drawer bottoms, cut them to their finished size and finish sand them.
Drawer faces and pulls
Cut the drawer faces (D1, D2) to size. Make the drawer edging pieces (G) a bit wider than the thickness of the plywood. Cut the edging pieces to length plus 1 in.; then attach them to the drawer faces. Use a palm router with a flush-trim bit to trim the edging strips flush with the plywood. Finish sand the drawer faces to 150-grit.
Rip the 1/8-in.-wide drawer edging strips off the edge of a wide 3/4-in.-thick board. Work so that the pieces drop away from the blade. You'll have to reset the fence a few times. Be sure to use your saw's guard.
While you're making the drawer pulls (H1, H2), make 4 ft. of extra stock to build a sanding stand. Sand the sawn edges of the drawer pulls smooth. Use a miter saw or stationary belt sander to bevel the ends of the pulls.
Next, drill the holes in the drawer faces for attaching the pulls. I made templates to lay out and drill the holes relative to the tops of the drawers. After I drilled the holes in the drawers, I cut down the templates to match the backs of the pulls so I could drill the screw pilot holes with the proper spacing.
Mount the drawers
Make and attach the slide cleats (M1, M2). I used spacers to align the slide cleats as I mounted them to the boxes. Next, separate the drawer-slide members. Mount the slide cabinet members to the slide cleats using the front-to-back elongated holes, and mount the slide drawer members to the drawers using the up-and-down elongated holes. Align the fronts of the slide drawer members 1/16 in. from the front edges of the drawers. This stops the drawer faces from banging on the drawer slides when the drawers are pushed in.
Insert the drawers, set the drawer faces in their openings and check their fit. Use 1/16-in. spacers to check the margins. Trim the edges until they fit; then mark and drill pilot holes for the screws that attach the drawer faces to the drawers. Label all of the parts for final assembly. When you're done, detach the drawer members from the drawers.
Platform bed deck panels
To make the deck panels, cut pieces A1, A2, F1, F2 and F3 to size. Make the solid-wood edging pieces equal to the thickness of the plywood. Attach the edging pieces to the deck pieces. Drill the pocket-screw holes in the ends of pieces F2 and F3. Cut the radius on the front corners and then rout the roundover edges. Drill the holes for the screws used to mount the panels to the storage section.
Assemble and Finish
If you want to include a headboard, build it using these headboard plans, and attach the blockings (N). Otherwise, attach the stop block (O) to the head box to keep your mattress from sliding forward. Assemble the storage section; then make and attach the filler cleat (L).
Assemble the storage section on a flat floor. Drill pilot holes and insert the screws to join the rails. Add screws to join the box interiors as needed. Setups on uneven floors will require shimming.
Disassemble the parts as needed for finishing and fill the nail holes in the drawer sides with putty. Finish sand all exposed surfaces to 180-grit, ease any sharp edges and apply your favorite finish. I used water-borne polyurethane on the ash pieces and Danish oil on the drawers. Don't finish the deck panels; unfinished wood will help to keep the mattress from sliding. When you're done, nail the drawer bottoms in place, remount the drawer slides, attach the pulls, mount the drawer faces, make the final drawer-alignment adjustments and then insert locking screws in the drawer slides. Finally, set up the bed and enjoy a good night's sleep.
Handyman Club member Bruce Kieffer is a custom furniture builder, freelance woodworking author and technical illustrator. You can see a collection of his work at www.kcfi.biz.