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Thread: Attaching bed rails to posts with thread inserts

  1. #1
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    Attaching bed rails to posts with thread inserts

    I'm building a king size bed frame, out of white oak, for the first time and thinking about attaching the rails to the posts using 3/8" thread inserts. The rails are 1 1/4" x 8" and the post are 3 pieces of 1 1/4" glued together thus 3 3/4" square. I was going to rout out the inside edge of the posts a 1 1/4" x 8" cutout. This is not a mortise but a cutout so the inside face of the posts and rails are flush. I was then going to attach them with inserts installed in the posts and then running the bolts through the face of the rails.
    I didn't want to use bed bolts because I didn't want any bolt heads showing. Do you think the bolts/inserts will pull the rail into the posts together snug enough ? Also, since the posts have 2 vertical glue lines I prefer they aren't on the front side. Thus the inserts would have to be installed on the edges of the 1 1/4" oak that make up the posts. Will the inserts hold just as well in an edge or do they need to be installed in the face ? Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
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    Beds need to take lots of racking force, once I discovered traditional M&T with bedbolts I never looked back. My earlier beds with various sorts of allegedly wonderful hardware wiggle, and some with screw-in fasteners failed during stress testing by jumping children. All the ones made with bedbolts are rock solid, up to 30 years later.

    I'd look at your design, depending on the style perhaps you could hide the bolt heads under a false through tenon or similar? Or a flush plug held in place with a magnet? You don't need to get to them very often.

  3. #3
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    I built three beds this year. One was bunk beds. I used mortise and tenon on them. The other two were kings. I used the metal bed rail plates with hooks that are mortised into post and the end of the rails. I used three 3 inch screws to secure each end. They make a tight connection that is very strong. They would work just as well on the edge of the post. They can be taken apart by knocking the rail up. They are not visible until the rails are removed.
    Last edited by Charlie Jones; 05-03-2021 at 10:45 PM.
    Charlie Jones

  4. #4
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    5" x 5/8" Bed Rail Fasteners Ylo Zinc 1/8" Mth Platte River Pkg 0f 4 Ea 130607 from Amazon. Rockler has them to.
    Charlie Jones

  5. #5
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    I would not be a fan of threaded inserts for that application.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the replies

    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    Beds need to take lots of racking force, once I discovered traditional M&T with bedbolts I never looked back. My earlier beds with various sorts of allegedly wonderful hardware wiggle, and some with screw-in fasteners failed during stress testing by jumping children. All the ones made with bedbolts are rock solid, up to 30 years later.

    I'd look at your design, depending on the style perhaps you could hide the bolt heads under a false through tenon or similar? Or a flush plug held in place with a magnet? You don't need to get to them very often.
    Have you ever used or seen concealed bed bolts, Amish bed bolt as an example, where I wouldn't have to drill a hole all the way through the post and having the bolt exposed ( I could hide it as you suggested). I'm assuming the advantage of a bed bolt is that it pulls the rail into the post?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wall View Post
    Have you ever used or seen concealed bed bolts, Amish bed bolt as an example, where I wouldn't have to drill a hole all the way through the post and having the bolt exposed ( I could hide it as you suggested). I'm assuming the advantage of a bed bolt is that it pulls the rail into the post?
    No idea what an Amish bed bolt is-- Google came up empty for me. The ones I use are like this: https://www.rockler.com/3-8-diameter...AaAmDSEALw_wcB with the nut captured in the rail and a hole that penetrates the post to draw the M&T tight. I've had bad luck overall with threaded inserts (even ones that are epoxied in) and really wouldn't use them where there are structural stresses. The strength (and ability to retighten whenever needed) of a through bolt with even a short tenon is hard to beat.

    Sorry, I don't know a great way to accomplish what you want. Perhaps really high quality hanger hardware will do OK for you. I don't do any sleek modern stuff, so there's always been a way to add a good looking bolt cover, either a cast brass/bronze one or a wooden one I've made.

  8. #8
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    Greenfield, Indiana
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    Hidden Bed Bolt

    bedbolt.jpg I found this from a Google search for hidden bed bolt. There were other options, too.

  9. #9
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    I'm in the same boat (bed?), Tom. Building a new modern king bed at my wife's request and would like to use bed bolts, but don't want anything exposed externally. I've been planning on using bed rail brackets. Our old king sleigh bed had them and has survive for 25+ years. That said, I'm much prefer mortise and tenon with bed bolts or the like.

  10. #10
    I have 4 beds in my house I built and one of my kids has two, the other has three. There is only one of these beds that does not have the bed rail fasteners I like, after trying several options including bolts as you describe. I wish I could post a link but I can't get this computer to do that with the touchpad. Rockler calls the something like "heavy duty wrought steel bed rail fastners". They are totally hidden when the bed is assembled. You have to mortise the headboard, footboard, and the ends of the rails for the fasteners but it is pretty easy once you make a router jig to do most of the cutting. Especially on the rails use a long screw (at least 2 inch) and they hold fine. No cross dowel or other measures are necessary. The bed assembles easily with them and the only issue taking them down is you may need a mallet to get them unstuck.

    The bed with a different joint is a crib where I made the mistake of following a Wood plan. It was a terrible headache. Never again. Bolts into cross dowels work but are just terrible to get aligned.

    I strongly recommend you use these bed rail fasteners. You will be happy you did.

  11. #11
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    california
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    No idea what an Amish bed bolt is-- Google came up empty for me. The ones I use are like this: https://www.rockler.com/3-8-diameter...AaAmDSEALw_wcB with the nut captured in the rail and a hole that penetrates the post to draw the M&T tight. I've had bad luck overall with threaded inserts (even ones that are epoxied in) and really wouldn't use them where there are structural stresses. The strength (and ability to retighten whenever needed) of a through bolt with even a short tenon is hard to beat.

    Sorry, I don't know a great way to accomplish what you want. Perhaps really high quality hanger hardware will do OK for you. I don't do any sleek modern stuff, so there's always been a way to add a good looking bolt cover, either a cast brass/bronze one or a wooden one I've made.
    Similar to these:https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/9204...grid_organic=1

    But the only way I can think I could make it work is to cut the mortise & tenon and then cut hole for bed bolt on inside face of bed rail. Then cut a horizontal slot, width of bolt shaft, on the inside face of the post and square off cutout. Slide the bolt in the horizontal shaft where the non-bolt end fits in the squared off cutout in the post. Tap the mortised post onto the tenon, in the rail, with the bolt in place. Then tighten the nut and washer. The bolts you linked would probably work this way too. Maybe I'm making it more complicated than need be.

  12. #12
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    Sep 2007
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    california
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Liebling View Post
    I'm in the same boat (bed?), Tom. Building a new modern king bed at my wife's request and would like to use bed bolts, but don't want anything exposed externally. I've been planning on using bed rail brackets. Our old king sleigh bed had them and has survive for 25+ years. That said, I'm much prefer mortise and tenon with bed bolts or the like.

    I was leaning away from the bed rail fasteners because I've heard over time they loosen up some. I have no experience, myself, with this though. The mortise & tenon and then snugging them together with a bed bolt seems pretty solid though.

  13. #13
    I suggest using bed bolts and making small covers for the heads from the same wood. Many years from now the bolt up beds will be saved
    when other beds are thrown out.

  14. #14
    I used these and theyíve been great. They were mentioned above but he couldnít get the link to copy in. I built my king bed over a year ago and it has held up great. Iím very much a beginner and Iíve had zero issues.

    https://www.rockler.com/heavy-duty-w...ck-select-size

    C5D1AE6D-F1DE-4938-B532-6BC9C5DD5A17.jpg BD0CE684-97FD-4660-9F75-D9250200F4B0.jpeg
    Last edited by Ty wayne; 05-04-2021 at 2:00 AM.

  15. #15
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    Sep 2007
    Location
    california
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    I think I'm going with the concealed bed bolts with a mortise & tenon joint. Anyone have any thoughts on: 1) a single tenon ( 5" tall x 3/4" wide x 1" long) with the bolt running through the center of it or 2) 2 tenons stacked (2" tall x 3/4" wide x 1" long with a 2" space between them). The bolt would run through the space between the tenons. Bed rail is 8" x 1 1/4"

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