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I'm making a platform bed with 3" thick legs and had planned on using 4/4 milled for the rails and side pieces. I planned on making 1 1/2" tenons so also has deep mortises. I thought after milling my rail to 3/4" min then I would have a typical 1/4" thick tenon. This is where I am getting confused. Is a 1/4" thick tenon thick enough for a long board? How do I make a 1/4" diameter mortise 1 1/2 deep? I usually use a plunge router and my 1/4 spiral router bit is only 1" long? And then what is the best way t make the 1 1/2 tenon with a 60-70" board that is 7-8" wide. Hope that makes sense. Thanks,...T
 

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Tom...
think stress/shear... (the rock 'n roll thing)

I believe a ¼'' thick tenon will be way too weak...
A tusk tenon w/ the smallest shoulder on it would serve you so much better...

.
 

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A 1/4” tenon is not too beefy for such an application. A search online for this task will reveal many examples of making your project well. I would consider a thicker rail piece to start with but with hardware you could probably use a 3/4” rail - just not particularly robust. Others will chime in here...
 

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A 1/4” tenon is not too beefy for such an application. A search online for this task will reveal many examples of making your project well. I would consider a thicker rail piece to start with but with hardware you could probably use a 3/4” rail - just not particularly robust. Others will chime in here...
true...
adding an internal ledger and a cross tie or two or three would substantially help out there...
 
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1... How do I make a 1/4" diameter mortise 1 1/2 deep?
2... what is the best way t make the 1 1/2 tenon with a 60-70" board that is 7-8" wide.
1... round??? did you mean rectangle???
as for a square or rectangular mortise...
Hog out the waste w/ a forstner bit and hand chisel to finish...

2... 7/8'' thick???...
hand router, guides and a mortising bit...
use clamp on scrap to temporally thicken the edge to carry the router and prevent it from tipping/rocking...
then router out the faces...
 

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A good "rule of thumb" for mortise and tenon work is 1/3 the thickness of the stock, or the next larger common size. For 1" thick material I would go with 1/2" mortise and Tenons.

Look into making the mortises using a guide bushing on a plunge router, the correct size spiral bit, and a template with it's hole the width of the chosen guide bushing and the length determined by how long you want the mortise, plus the difference between the bit and the outside of the bushing for each end of the mortise. Make your template out of thin plywood, tempered hard board (MDF), plastic, etc. Attach some guides so it's easy to position and clamp it to your work. Set the depth of cut for the router. Make many overlapping plunge cuts into the work being guided by the bushing and template. When the bulk of the wood has been removed, slide the router back and forth to the ends of the template to clear the remaining wood, and the mortise is complete.

If you make a mortise in both joining pieces, it's easy to make tenon stock the needed thickness using a table saw or surface planer, then cut a piece the size you need to fit between these two mortises. This is called a "Floating Tenon" but it doesn't truly float, because both ends get glued into the mortises. The quality of fit of the sides of the tenon to the sides of the mortise is important. It needs to rub, but not require a hammer. You need room for the glue, but the pieces should not fall apart when dry fit together without glue. It's much easier to size a tenon to fit a router mortise than size a mortise to fit a tenon. The mortise gets cut with a standard size router bit. Size the tenon to fit the mortise that it makes. Chisels and mallets should not be required.

Charley
 

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I could also make my rails and sides 1 1/2 with a 1/2" tenon.
I'd make the tenon 1" with 1-1/2" material. The tenon provides all the strength, and you are making it too small.

How big is this bed, and since it's a platform bed, are these rails carrying a load?
Without knowing exactly what you are doing, it's hard to give the correct answer.



How do I make a 1/4" diameter mortise 1 1/2 deep?
Drill press and chisels?
 

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Fairly typical is a 3/4" fairly wide side rail (at least 6") but a narrower ledger board attached inside to both hold up the cross slats and reinforce the side rail. It's also typical to use corner hardware to attach both rail and ledger combination to the corner posts or footboard and headboard. If you ever plan on moving the bed out of that room you'll need the rails and ends to separate. Lee Valley sells some pretty sturdy corner hardware.
 

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just so everybuddy is on the same page... (adapt this pic to your needs)
the base intent of the ledger strip is to stiffen the bed rail...
make the joist your tie/spreader only lay it over...
the tie/spreader is mechanically connected perpendicular to both rails...
it can be installed on top of the ledger or to the inside using U or Z clips...
use near VG wood for the ledger.. install it w/ the grain horizontal to the rail...
Note:
I'd make the ledger 5/4 tall and 6/4 deep to the rail.......

.
 

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Fairly typical is a 3/4" fairly wide side rail (at least 6") but a narrower ledger board attached inside to both hold up the cross slats and reinforce the side rail. It's also typical to use corner hardware to attach both rail and ledger combination to the corner posts or footboard and headboard. If you ever plan on moving the bed out of that room you'll need the rails and ends to separate. Lee Valley sells some pretty sturdy corner hardware.
a ledger board would be fixed to say a structure wall...
the ledger strip would be fixed to the bottom of the ledger board...
the joist would be fixed to the ledger board and resting on the ledger strip...
 

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Tom did mention round holes with a router, I guess he means something in the Domino style.
I agree that 1/4'' tenon is way too small. We do not know the load factor for this bed ! how much weight will be on it. How much activity(LOL) would also be a factor. If the combined weight is 200 lbs or 400 lbs it makes a substantial difference. If you are 30 years old or 70 years old will probably make a difference. If you have 2 or 3 young children that like to jump on your bed on a Saturday morning to wake you up will make a difference.
To be on the safe side, I would use 8/4(2'')hardwood rails that are at least 6 to 8'' wide with 1'' mortise and tenons. I also think that the mechanical hardware is a good idea. If a headboard is in the picture, bolting it to the wall securely will also help. Another possibility is to use a combination mattress and box spring with a metal frame and then the wood rails can be purely decorative. Seeing a question like this makes me appreciate my mortising machine !
 
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Tom, This is the method I used for a bunk bed. The legs were 3"x3". The headboard and footboard were glued, and the rails were bolted as shown (removable).
 

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For me, the hardware solution looks best. Every bed will eventually need to be moved for one reason or other. A pegged mortise would allow for this, but you'd have to deal with getting the peg out of it. A tusk mortise sticks out pretty far and that means the headboard will have to stand away from the wall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yes on hardware. Actually I planned on using hardware from Rockler for the sides and mortise and tenon for the rails at the foot and headboard of this Queen size bed. It's obvious that I need to use a thicker rail so I will plan on that. I downloaded a plan from Woodsmith and they used 1 1/2" for the rails and sides. Thanks everybody for your help.
 
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