How to build a log bed: A step-by-step approach

A bed in a log cabin (Photo by William Warby)

Building a log bed is a relatively easy process compared to building other types of log furniture. Consider using the following steps when constructing your bed. This method is courtesy of

Start out by choosing the pieces of wood to use. Find two matching 48″ posts and two matching 36″ posts. Select wood for the head and footboard, and then choose four rails. The box spring will be placed on the top rail.

The first thing to start constructing are the headboard posts. Place them side-by-side and position them so that the cracks in them face toward the back of the bed. The next step is to mark the top of the posts to show the position of the headboard and the rails. Use a block and screw it to the bottom of the post. The block should be marked into quarters so that you can easily find the center of each side of it. Cut a thin groove on each side of the block. Attach the post to the center of the block so that the headboard side is up. Use chalk to mark the center of the post from one end to the other. Then drill holes in the post with the rail side facing upward. Do the same for the other post. Use the same process for the footboard.

The next step is to place a tenon on the headboard and footboard. Build a set of blocks to accept the tenons. Five spindles are usually appropriate for a queen-size bed. Once you finish constructing the top and bottom rails for the headboard, place them together with the posts and measure them for the spindles. if you make the center spindle tenon a little longer, you’ll have to forcefully squeeze the rail and post together. But doing so will keep the headboard together tightly. Do the same steps for the footboard.

One of the toughest parts of this process involves notching the top rail to allow the box spring to sit in it. Use a saw to do this. The notch should be cut at the center from the top downward toward the top of the tenon. The horizontal cut should go from the top of the tenon down to the center cut.

Use cables to hold the bed up and make sure it is sturdy when it is time to actually put it together. Put eyehooks on each post to the holes that were drilled for the headboard and side rails and at the center of the top rail. Attach a cable to one eyehook and the other cable to a turnbuckle. When the cables are attached diagonally from one post to the other and are tightened, the bed will be tightened and will be very secure and sturdy. If both cables are measured to be equal, the bed will be square. You can then enjoy sleeping in a wonderful rustic log bed.

For additional information on log beds and other methods of making them, use for all of your log furniture needs.

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