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War beds - an slightly different question.

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  • Michael
    Out of all the war beds people have made and used, which designs seem to be the sturdiest? Which holds up to the most use and abuse? What kinds of woods have
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 24, 2008
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      Out of all the war beds people have made and used, which designs seem
      to be the sturdiest?

      Which holds up to the most use and abuse?

      What kinds of woods have you tried?

      And has anyone had any "interesting failures" of a bed?

      As in, did one ever break on you while you were doing more than just
      sleeping on it!

      Mike...
    • Chas
      Mike, I too asked this same question two years ago or at least a year ago now. I got some varied responses. I was not sold on rope beds. For our first Pennsic
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 25, 2008
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        Mike,
        I too asked this same question two years ago or at least a year ago
        now. I got some varied responses. I was not sold on rope beds. For
        our first Pennsic we literally used a regular bed frame with extra
        slats anda high end futon mattress (not foam cushion) for our bed.
        Yes, we broke a slat that first year with some tent activities late
        one night. The frame was old and the slats were super dry and not up
        to the weather changes outdoor tent camping provided. We did replace
        and buy more slats and used the frame for 2 more years though. until
        the veneer started to delaminate and it ended up next to a dumpster
        after Pennsic 35. nothing like getting rid of your bed to motivate
        you to build a new one. I desinged the slat bed based on patterns
        shown on this group and others to fit our mattress and using our
        existing white oak slats (scavenged at Pennsic). The 4x4 corner posts
        are dimensional red fir from Home depot and the balance is 1x6 Red
        Oak, again from HD. I also cheated and purchased a Delta mortising
        machine. I need to find a new mortising bit set for it but I got thru
        all teh holes I needed to. The pegs are the corner cutouts from the
        side and end rails. I made a jig and cut tham at about a 5 degree
        angle on the table saw. I cut all the corners out which gave me
        extras and some variation in thickness too so I can mix and match
        which pegs go where. One of the downfalls is it is a LOT of wood to
        haul and weighs a lot. However it is VERY sturdy and we ahd the whole
        family in it at one point during the night when we had Thunderstorms
        at Pennsic 36. It didn't even creak or wobble at all. I'm very happy
        with it and it serves as a geust bed at home when we aren't camping
        with it. Photos can be found in the photos section of this group
        under Valentin's projects.

        http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalsawdust/photos/browse/80ce?c=

        Valentine Lyme
        (mka Chas)

        --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Michael"
        <michaelgosline@...> wrote:
        >
        > Out of all the war beds people have made and used, which designs
        seem
        > to be the sturdiest?
        >
        > Which holds up to the most use and abuse?
        >
        > What kinds of woods have you tried?
        >
        > And has anyone had any "interesting failures" of a bed?
        >
        > As in, did one ever break on you while you were doing more than just
        > sleeping on it!
        >
        > Mike...
        >
      • Trevor Payne
        Michael wrote: YOU: Out of all the war beds people have made and used, which designs seem to be the
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 25, 2008
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          Michael <michaelgosline@...> wrote:
          YOU:
          Out of all the war beds people have made and used, which designs seem
          to be the sturdiest?
          ME:
          Well, I haven't used a bunch of styles, but the bed I designed has been a tank:
          http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalsawdust/photos/browse/55ca
          First 3 pictures.  It is based off the Osberg bed, made of pine and plywood, and has had eight full size humans laying/sitting on it with no problem.
          YOU:
          Which holds up to the most use and abuse?
          ME:
          I have found that using re-adjustable or re-tightenable (is that a word?) joints works better than hard joints.  Ie, the bed above is completely put together with mortese and tenon joints.  These joints are easily "tapped" back in when they work loose.  They also do not fail when more rigorous activities are in play.
          YOU:
          What kinds of woods have you tried?
          ME:
          I've worked mostly in pine, but for harder woods you can go thinner.  But, I have found that the heavier the wood the less likely your wife is to help you unload it on site. ;)
          YOU:
          And has anyone had any "interesting failures" of a bed?
          ME:
          Well one time while I was "showing" the bed to a potential customer I busted one of the slats.  I just so happened to be literally dancing on the bed at the time (me 300+lbs).
          YOU:
          As in, did one ever break on you while you were doing more than just
          sleeping on it!
          ME:
          No, as a matter of fact every bed I have sold has be field tested and come back with glowing reviews from the purchasers. :)
          Aiden



          "Those who beat their swords into plowshares plow for those who didn't"
          --Benjamin Franklin--


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        • Bill McNutt
          First, you must be 18 or older to ride this ride. The easily embarrassed or extremely conservative will want to skip this one. Well, it wasn’t MY bed, but
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 25, 2008
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            First, you must be 18 or older to ride this ride.  The easily embarrassed or extremely conservative will want to skip this one.

             

            Well, it wasn’t MY bed, but it was ONE of mine.  I’d built a bed for an individual who shall remain nameless.  The bed was a slat bed, with a double set of slotted bed hardware holding both the rails and the headboard and footboard to the posts.  This is a great design for packing small, as all the pieces come apart, and you’ve got nothing but a bunch of 2x6’s and a few 4x4’s to stack in the back of the van. 

             

            One weekend event, the bed-pilot in question invited not one, but TWO companions to bed.  The bed was subjected to more, ah, dynamic vertical stress than I had anticipated, and in mid, um, encounter, they herd a sharp crack.

             

            And then nothing happened.

             

            Fast forward to the next Pennsic.  Again, my client was enflagrante delecto, this time in a more traditional manner, and the bed was again under dynamic vertical stress.  The failure was in how I had attached the cleat upon which the bed slats rested.  The cleat was ¾” thick.  I used carpenter’s glue and 1” drywall screws to attach the cleat.  I know, drywall screws are wildly inappropriate for this usage, but my experience has been that under normal circumstances, this is enough to withstand the weight of 2 sleeping people of average size.  And I had them in the shop, already paid for. I never expected there to be three people in that tiny little bed for any reason, let alone three people applying dynamic vertical stresses.  The crack they’d heard during the weekend event was, of course, them breaking the glue joint.  The drywall screws managed to hold up for the rest of that particular gymnastics session, but they were working them loose.  The next time they were stressed, they pulled out of the rail, and the two gymnasts were precipitated to the floor of the tent.

             

            Fortunately, I was attending that event, and was able to affect repairs to everything but the damaged dignity.  I’d never had one of my pieces break under anyone for any reason, so I was more than a little embarrassed.  The field expedient was a quick trip to 84 Lumber just off site, and a box of decking screws, accompanied by a lot of yellow glue.  The joint is still holding, but as far as I know, it’s not been load-tested to that extent since.

             

            These days, I cut a dado into the rail and inset the cleat, plus glue and screws. 

             

            Will

             


            From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Michael
            Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 2:21 AM
            To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [MedievalSawdust] War beds - an slightly different question.

             

            Out of all the war beds people have made and used, which designs seem
            to be the sturdiest?

            Which holds up to the most use and abuse?

            What kinds of woods have you tried?

            And has anyone had any "interesting failures" of a bed?

            As in, did one ever break on you while you were doing more than just
            sleeping on it!

            Mike...

          • Eric
            It s been more than 10 years since I built my Gokstad slat bed from the Oakley plans, using Doug Fir for the posts and 1x red oak for the rails and slats. I
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 25, 2008
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              It's been more than 10 years since I built my Gokstad slat bed from
              the Oakley plans, using Doug Fir for the posts and 1x red oak for the
              rails and slats. I tweaked some of the dimensions to get the final
              product more similar to the original in the photo. There is no glue
              or metal used in the design, all pegged mortise and tenons. The frame
              is sized for a full size mattress (54x75) and I use a cotton futon.
              The bed had withstood considerable "live" loads of varying kinds over
              the years and I have not had any complaints with the bed's
              performance. If I ever build another, I will use Ash or White Oak for
              for historical accuracy.

              Years ago, in a non-SCA situation, a modern camp cot (aluminum and
              vinyl canvas) did not fair so well, under much less active loading,
              but that is another story....

              In Service,
              Eirikr Mjoksiglandi
              Ashgrove, Barony of Angels, Caid

              --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Michael" <michaelgosline@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Out of all the war beds people have made and used, which designs seem
              > to be the sturdiest?
              >
              > Which holds up to the most use and abuse?
              >
              > What kinds of woods have you tried?
              >
              > And has anyone had any "interesting failures" of a bed?
              >
              > As in, did one ever break on you while you were doing more than just
              > sleeping on it!
              >
              > Mike...
              >
            • Trevor Payne
              I just posted some new photos of a 6 board chest that I did. Pine with white oak stain. The next one I do will have a dado ed bottom panel and cleat nails
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 25, 2008
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                I just posted some new photos of a 6 board chest that I did.  Pine with white oak stain. The next one I do will have a dado'ed bottom panel and cleat nails across the bottom.

                The pics are in the "new photos" section or in the folder ABC ent.

                Tell me what you think.


                thanks
                Aiden


                "Those who beat their swords into plowshares plow for those who didn't"
                --Benjamin Franklin--


                Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.
              • AlbionWood
                IMO it all starts with wood selection. Choose a wood that is less prone to splitting and has high stiffness (Ash) and you can design a much slimmer, lighter
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 25, 2008
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                  IMO it all starts with wood selection. Choose a wood that is less prone
                  to splitting and has high stiffness (Ash) and you can design a much
                  slimmer, lighter weight frame than if you used Doug Fir or (Heaven
                  forfend) pine. My ash and oak beds are made with 8/4 posts about 2 to 3
                  inches wide, and 4/4 rails with an applied 4/4 shelf for the slats to
                  rest on. (This joint must be very well made, as Will's post indicates.
                  I typically use a strip about 1.5 inches wide and join it to the rail
                  with biscuits about every foot, use lots of good fresh glue, and clamp
                  well.) Never heard of a break in any of them, but a couple of early
                  models did have a problem with the sides bowing outward and allowing a
                  slat to fall out. Solved that by either a tusk-tenon (like Oseberg) or
                  a dovetail on the center slat.

                  For the ultimate in strength use ash for the slats as well, but really
                  this is overkill and poplar works fine for 7-slat or 9-slat beds,
                  especially if you select straight-grained material and use wider slats.

                  Fir and pine are very poor choices; you have to bulk up the structure,
                  adding a lot of useless weight, and it's still going to be prone to
                  splitting. Not worth the small cost savings IMO.

                  The knockdown joinery should be designed to leave as much wood around
                  each mortise as possible. I dislike the design that has one tenon
                  passing through the other - this is a weak joint, requiring 4x4 posts
                  just to have enough wood surrounding the mortise, and the tenon is
                  weakened as well. Instead I place the headboard and footboard higher
                  than the side rails, so the mortises don't weaken each other. (This
                  works better anyway, you want the headboard to extend above the mattress
                  so the pillows don't fall off.) Doing it this way you can use 8/4 posts
                  and save a lot of weight and volume.

                  Tusk-tenons with vertical wedges are incredibly strong, tend to be
                  self-locking, plus they look cool, so I like them on the ends of the
                  rails (where racking stress can be extreme under certain conditions!).
                  Headboard and footboard can be secured with crosswise pegs, but the
                  owner must check and re-tighten them occasionally.

                  Cheers,
                  Colin
                • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
                  Rope beds are the way to go. Less weight and space in wood, No slats to break or slip out of place. With a bed wrench you can tighten the ropes so tight they
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 25, 2008
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                    Rope beds are the way to go. Less weight and space in wood,
                    No slats to break or slip out of place.

                    With a bed wrench you can tighten the ropes so tight they vibrate when
                    'plucked' which would give plenty of support for other 'rhyming' activities.

                    The extra support running from the foot to then head of the bed also keeps
                    sagging ropes ( not that I have had any problem with that ) from making one
                    hammock and dumping two into the center pressed up against each other.

                    Want more details?


                    Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

                    Aude Aliquid Dignum
                    ' Dare Something Worthy '


                    ----- Original Message ----
                    From: Trevor Payne <littleaiden@...>
                    To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 1:14:53 PM
                    Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Re: War beds - an slightly different question.

                    I just posted some new photos of a 6 board chest that I did.  Pine with white oak stain. The next one I do will have a dado'ed bottom panel and cleat nails across the bottom.

                    The pics are in the "new photos" section or in the folder ABC ent.

                    Tell me what you think.


                    thanks
                    Aiden


                    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares plow for those who didn't"
                    --Benjamin Franklin--


                    Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.




                    Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.
                  • Bill McNutt
                    While detaching a headboard and footboard from the posts makes transportation and storage easier, I have had my best luck building static headboards and
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jan 25, 2008
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                      While detaching a headboard and footboard from the posts makes transportation and storage easier, I have had my best luck building static headboards and footboards with removable rails.  I find the bed to be far more stable overall.  But that assumes that you have the space to both transport and store the headboard and footboard assembled.  I’ve decided that for my use, I want it to break down all the way.  My garage is just too full of STUFF. 

                       

                      Will

                       


                      From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of AlbionWood
                      Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 1:25 PM
                      To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] War beds - an slightly different question.

                       

                      IMO it all starts with wood selection. Choose a wood that is less prone
                      to splitting and has high stiffness (Ash) and you can design a much
                      slimmer, lighter weight frame than if you used Doug Fir or (Heaven
                      forfend) pine. My ash and oak beds are made with 8/4 posts about 2 to 3
                      inches wide, and 4/4 rails with an applied 4/4 shelf for the slats to
                      rest on. (This joint must be very well made, as Will's post indicates.
                      I typically use a strip about 1.5 inches wide and join it to the rail
                      with biscuits about every foot, use lots of good fresh glue, and clamp
                      well.) Never heard of a break in any of them, but a couple of early
                      models did have a problem with the sides bowing outward and allowing a
                      slat to fall out. Solved that by either a tusk-tenon (like Oseberg) or
                      a dovetail on the center slat.

                      For the ultimate in strength use ash for the slats as well, but really
                      this is overkill and poplar works fine for 7-slat or 9-slat beds,
                      especially if you select straight-grained material and use wider slats.

                      Fir and pine are very poor choices; you have to bulk up the structure,
                      adding a lot of useless weight, and it's still going to be prone to
                      splitting. Not worth the small cost savings IMO.

                      The knockdown joinery should be designed to leave as much wood around
                      each mortise as possible. I dislike the design that has one tenon
                      passing through the other - this is a weak joint, requiring 4x4 posts
                      just to have enough wood surrounding the mortise, and the tenon is
                      weakened as well. Instead I place the headboard and footboard higher
                      than the side rails, so the mortises don't weaken each other. (This
                      works better anyway, you want the headboard to extend above the mattress
                      so the pillows don't fall off.) Doing it this way you can use 8/4 posts
                      and save a lot of weight and volume.

                      Tusk-tenons with vertical wedges are incredibly strong, tend to be
                      self-locking, plus they look cool, so I like them on the ends of the
                      rails (where racking stress can be extreme under certain conditions!) .
                      Headboard and footboard can be secured with crosswise pegs, but the
                      owner must check and re-tighten them occasionally.

                      Cheers,
                      Colin

                    • Peter Valentine
                      We have been using a 4 poster which I made nigh unto 10 years ago which has held up admirably. The four redwood turned wooden posts consist of 3 segments each
                      Message 10 of 10 , Mar 1, 2008
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                        We have been using a 4 poster which I made nigh unto 10 years ago which has held up admirably.  The four redwood turned wooden posts consist of 3 segments each which friction fit into each other with turned tenon joints and the portions of the posts which accepted the plywood head/foot boards and side rails are thru mortised to allow  tongues to pass through the post and held with wedges in a fashion similar to the osberg beds.  The overall look is of a 15th century 4 poster but I used wedges to hold the elements together.  The bed is a slat bed with most of the slats resting on a cleat inside the rails (one in the center passes through to keep the rails from spreading).  http://www.roguehaven.org/Events/Estrella2005/Estrel22.jpg

                        This bed is a fusion of Osberg and late 15th century bed and is a compromise to my woodworking skills at the time.  It has stood up remarkable well.. .the only problem is the edge banding used to disguise the plywood has delaminated in a few spots requiring minor repair.  One day (when I get a round tuit) I plan on a much more accurate reproduction of a german 15th camp bed which was my original inspiration. 

                        Wolfgang


                        --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Michael" <michaelgosline@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Out of all the war beds people have made and used, which designs seem
                        > to be the sturdiest?
                        >
                        > Which holds up to the most use and abuse?
                        >
                        > What kinds of woods have you tried?
                        >
                        > And has anyone had any "interesting failures" of a bed?
                        >
                        > As in, did one ever break on you while you were doing more than just
                        > sleeping on it!
                        >
                        > Mike...
                        >

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