Sunday, 25 August 2013

DIY Ikea Murphy Bed

Hi All

My wife found a DIY ikea bed made by Herbie (link) and a 2nd version made by Jerry (link).  Thanks to those two for the great sites!  Needless to say, the project was born for our house.

A few changes --

  1. Our room was smaller and we couldn't fit the extra two Pax cabinets on the outside.  This required changes to structure. With no side cabinets, the side of the main cabinet is not supported.  I added vertical supports (3/4" melamine) along the full length of the cabinet and bolted them to the wall.  
  2. Another change was that my toe kick had to be structural in nature to support the bottom corners. 
  3. I had to shorten the cabinet by 2" to fit underneath a trim strip at the top of my wall -- note, we cut this from the bottom of the panel, it seems to work.  Make sure to check clearances!  You still need the door to be flush with the top, but not hit the floor if you cut too much off.
  4. I have big baseboards and trim -- I cut a profile out from the side panels so that that cabinet would sit flush with the wall.

I was worried that the single thickness of the side panel wouldn't be enough, but so far it seems to be okay.

My photos show the build process with a little bit of detail.  I'm happy to add more if asked. For reference I basically followed Herbie's site and Jerry's site. (link)  (link)

1. - The trim profile I cut.  This was painful as I didn't have the proper tools (pipe cleaners are not wonderful for holding a profile).  At Lee Valley I found this PVC Trim Gauge AFTER I cut the profile.  Oh well.  I cut the profile with a jig saw.

2.  I had to cut quite a few lengths of melamine to make the horizontal ledger board and vertical support beams.  The sheets are too heavy for a table saw, especially without extension rollers which I don't have.  I use a long straight board as a guide for my skill saw.  I masking taped the cut line as well as the sled on the saw so it wouldn't scratch the melamine.

I used 4" wide strips.  For my saw, it's roughly 4.5" from the edge to the guide as there is a 1.5" offset from the sled edge to the blade.  With a sliding ruler, it's easy to set the width one and quickly make long accurate cuts.

3.  The setup just before cutting.

 4.  Starting the cut.

5.  Supporting the back once the melamine starts to sag.  Note, do not pinch the blade here if you do this, open the cut a bit, then clamp.  Alternately, get helper to help.

6.  I fastened the horizontal ledger board ahead of time to the top panel.  I used these 70mm knock down bolts from Lee Valley (link).   I made the top panel pretty much exactly like Herbie.  I used 3/4" melamine.  Attached the ledger board to the cabinet meant that I didn't need anti-tip brackets, the ledger was bolted directly to the wall and serves that purpose.

7.  I made a nice jig to set the bolt location.  I spent 10 minutes on this, and saved hours over the course of the project!

8.  Top panel with bolts installed.  For the top, I didn't countersink the bolts since you won't see them.  For the side vertical supports I countersunk and covered the bolt holes (later photos).

9.  Here is the partially built cabinet in the room.  You can see the installed horizontal ledger board.

10.  Here is one vertical support being installed.

11.  The bolt holes are countersunk with a small forstner bit, and later covered.  I used white PVC screw covers from Lee Valley (link).

12.  You can see the two vertical supports added.  I was really worried about the side panels when they weren't supported.  I had visions of standing this up and the legs splaying out sideways and breaking the connection at the top panel.  You can see a temporary brace I used to help support the bottom of the cabinet.

13.  Cabinet tipped up.  Yes, that light is in the way...  This was most definitely a two person job, likely even three person.  I had a really strong guy help out.  Without him, three people would probably have been needed.

14.  The cabinet placed against the wall.  For bolting to the wall, I used 3" toggle bolts with large washers.  It's not super pretty, but I couldn't fathom drilling anchors and moving the whole cabinet back and forth, or lining up holes / etc.  I drilled a hole directly through the melamine and into the wall.  From there, the toggle bolt was pushed through and bolted.

15.  Here you can see the profile I cut out for the cabinet to fit against the trim.  Also you can see that I had the pleasure of cutting out a section of corner round for the murphy bed frame.  I put the murphy bed frame on heavy duty felt pads to protect the floor.

16.  Murphy bed frame installed.  You can see the toggle bolts securing the supports to the wall.

17.  The toe kick was fabricated from two 3" strips of 5/8" plywood, laminated with carpenters glue and screws.   I let the glue dry overnight. I sanded out the mill marks and finished the front face of the plywood. I used a spackle compound to help smooth out the rough plywood.  It needed to be quite smooth to match the gloss melamine.  Note that I did this before attaching the top piece.

18.  I used dowels and glue to secure the top melamine piece.

19.  Lots of clamps needed....   After drying, I primed with a primer/sealer to help block knot bleed though, and two coats of paint.

20.  Finished toe kick.

21.  For the foundation, I used 5/8" plywood.  It was two pieces of plywood 36.5 x 53.5 (for a double).
I didn't want to buy an extra sheet, so I ended up actually joining two pieces for (dowels + glue) for one of the pieces.  Those blocks are temporary while the glue dried.

22.  One foundation piece with the notch cut for the spring bar.  Notch dimensions from the murphy bed website (website or PDF manual).  I should have rounded the corners a bit, especially the corners at the end of the foundation.  Our mattress was a tiny bit smaller than the foundation, and the sharp corners are perfect shin bone height.

 23.  We covered the foundation, here is one of the them covered.

24.  Foundations installed on the murphy bed frame.

25.  The final product.  We're quite happy and my mother in law arrives in 15 minutes to try it out!

26.  Inside view, a few lights from Ikea added for guests.

27.  All done.

Any comments or questions?  I'd love to hear them!  Don't forget to check out a few more of my renos here:

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Making a play structure for my little guy

I thought it might be fun to make a swing set, tower and slide for my little guy.  I found some plans here   It was a great start, especially for free (Thanks!).

A few changes I made to the plans:

  • I upgraded the joists from 2x4's to 2x6's,
  • Added a joist so they were on 16" centres.  I just thought that made sense from a structural point of view. 
  • Adding a few strengthening stuff here and there. 
  • Added a concrete strip footing, some would say overkill, I'm just like that. 
  • I didn't like the top cap of the railing over top of the slide, so I added a post beside the slide and will stop of the railing halfway across.
  • On the top frame which will hold the canopy, I added a 2x4 (for strength) beside the front/back 2x4d aligned with the wide axis down.  I just figured if my little guy will swing, it might be from there
  • I added a 4x4 beam which the swing beam will rest on.  I bolted the swing beam to the vertical column, and used a post to beam connector to attach the swing arm to the beam I added.  Note that I don't want the three swings, so I have some extra length for this.  Otherwise, you would need a longer beam.
  • I bolted through the two joists and 4x4 posts at the deck level.

1. -- Making the concrete forms

2. -- Digging out the dirt.  I want the concrete footing at below grade so no heads will bump on it.

3. -- Concrete poured, gotta put a big letter H in the concrete for history to know about our efforts!.  In the end, I mixed 8.1, 30 kg bags of concrete.  The footing is around 5' - 3" wide, for a 1.5" overhand (play structure frame is 5' x 5').  The inside dimension was too small, so I made extra concrete for no reason.  oh well.

4. -- ok, maybe this was overkill, but it was HOT.  I kept an old sheet moistened for the first 24 hours to keep the concrete moist in the heat.

5. -- Finished footing

6. -- Starting the structure.  Nothing too major here, posts, bolts, etc.  The bolts are countersunk so they don't stick out for safety reasons.

7. -- Framing, fasteners, etc.

8. -- Started the railings.

9. -- Railing done expect where slide will go.

10. -- A view with the extra post I added.  It's well blocked and bolted.  Bolts for strength.  Blocking for strength too, but also to give the decking support.

11. -- Final view for tonight.  I ended up getting the cedar 5/4 deck boards installed, but no photo.  Pizza was waiting and it was a long day.

12. -- Cedar 5/4 boards on! Notched nicely around the posts if I do say so myself.

13. -- A few seats for the sand box.

14. -- I bolted through the 4x4s and both joists at each corner, deck level.  I didn't have a drill bit long enough to make the entire hole, so I made this little jig so I could drill easily through both sides, no measuring.

 15.. -- Jig in action!  Worked really well.

16. -- Final state for the weekend.  The swings, slide, etc are all on order.  If you look at the front top 2x4 and compare it to the original plans, you'll see the extra piece I added.

17. -- Sand box full of sand.  I had 0.5 cubic yards delivered, and used maybe 0.4 yards.

18. -- Getting some action.  Now we can't wait until the slide, swings and accessories arrive!

Have any online links or sources for other free play structure plans?  Leave a comment, I'd love to check them out.

The Back Porch Project of 2011

The back porch was due for re-doing.  Start the demo, deal with old footings, non level, nothing 90, you get it.


1. -- Start the demo

2. -- Need a dumpster

3. -- Roof is supported, demo done.

4. -- Framing the rim joists.  I've had a lot of success with the epoxy bolts, so I went this approach again.  Really secure, and really easy.  Make sure you get a SD drill for the holes.  If you tack on the ledger board with tap cons, then drill the epoxy bolt holes through the board and wall, you can take the ledger down, build the entire frame and lift it on to the wall.

5. -- I built the frame in place.

6. -- PT Plywood makes a good subfloor

7. -- I used tongue and groove pine to keep the old look.  It's a pain, but for life span of the wood I treated the bottom, grooves and tongues.

8. -- Another view

9. -- The railings were made by mounting a wooden frame, then using v-board secured against the frame, finished with another frame to hold it in.  All cedar for looks.  Railings are cedar 2x4"s, made nice with a router

10. -- I'll have to dig for a final photo. That's it for now

11. -- Ok -- found the final photos!