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Old 05-11-2015, 09:40 AM   #61
Dia
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Re: making a slat bed base for the PH

Stand back! I'm about to stupid.

We spent some time at the hardware store over Mother's Day. We went in to get a Torx socket for the seat brackets, but then we wandered around looking at possibilities for the various beds in the van.

After much consideration, we've decided to go with a skinned slat arrangement on the advice of Boywonder. I don't have the skills or the tools to do the biscuit joinery or the beautiful product he made, so I'm hoping to get out of this with ugly but functional.

What I'm thinking is that we can run the slats crosswise and secure them underneath to another piece of wood that runs lengthwise and would butt up against the edge of channel the slats are resting on. If I'm understanding this correctly, the strength is provided by the slats and the pieces underneath are mostly just to keep the slats in place so they don't move under you. Would a third piece running lengthwise down the middle add anything important structurally speaking?

So - cherry for the slats, right? Because pine is soft and bendy and cherry's stronger and more rigid? Boywonder's look like 1x1s for the cross members, but I'm wondering if 1x2s or 1x3s might be better for what we're planning.

And - is there any reason I shouldn't get a nice, kiln dried 2x6 in Douglas fir and cut it into 39.5 inch pieces? Too much flex? Too thick?

Skin with 1/8 Baltic birch and use screws and wood glue to hold it all together. I'm thinking of only skinning the top to provide a flat surface for foam or sleeping mats. The bottom skin is just cosmetic, right? Any reason not to use Masonite / hardboard?

The slats need to be cut to 39.5 inches. Got that part.

What are the ideal dimensions for the slats? Is a 1x2 significantly stronger or more/ less rigid than a 1x1 or a 1x3?

What's the ideal gap between them? Boywonder's set up looks like 4 inches? So.. 1x2s or 1x3s spaced 4 inches apart?

Is this sounding do-able and strong enough? Am I missing anything vital here?
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:43 AM   #62
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Re: Lola, The Petroleum Falcon

Dia, I'll get back to you on the bed idea but more immediately USE AN AIR RATCHET to undo all those annoying huge Torx bolts for the seats. If you don't, you'll be in for quite a workout. I hope you haven't already done it. Most folks that are pretty handy will have an air ratchet or socket, so borrow one at least and make it much easier on yourself.
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:45 AM   #63
Dia
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Re: Lola, The Petroleum Falcon

Thanks, Scotty!

We're putting the bolts in, not taking them out. Does that make a difference?
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:53 AM   #64
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Re: Lola, The Petroleum Falcon

A few things on your slat/platform:

For slat spacing, you want the slats (joists) close enough together so that your plywood skin doesn't deflect or break. For your suggested 4" spacing and 39.5" span, I think that you could easily use pine that is 2" tall. The deeper the section (thickness of your platform), the stiffer/stronger it will be. Also, that bottom skin does add strength to your platform - it is the tension member of your composite beam section. Hopefully that is making sense.

Your idea to use the 2x6 doug fir would work fine too. Are you thinking about just using those boards for your surface, or would you skin those with a piece of plywood?

For comparisons sake, I am just about done building my rear bed platform which is only about 2' long, but spans 4' wide. My original plan was to use 1/4" ply with my slats/joists spaced around 6". I found that my 1/4" ply would creak and groan if I put my knee in the middle so instead of making my joist spacing closer I decided to increase my top ply thickness. I am now using a piece of 1/2" ply with my slats (roughly 1.5"x1.5") spaced about 10-12" apart. This feels pretty strong as is, but I think I will probably add a piece of 1/4" ply to skin the bottom and increase the stiffness.

There are a lot of ways to go about this that will work just fine. You just need to find the right compromise of weight, strength, and simplicity that works for you!
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:32 AM   #65
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Re: Lola, The Petroleum Falcon

Thanks, Rockbender!

I'm working out the math on the length.

9 slats @5.5 inches = 49.5
7 voids @ 4 inches = 28
---------------
77.5 inches for a two-piece bed

9 slats @5.5 inches = 49.5
8 voids @ 3.5 inches = 28
-----------------------
77.5 inches for a one-piece bed

9 slats is three 2x6s at 10 ft with three slats per board. That's about $18 for the slats, which is hella cheap compared to wire decking or the SMB bed.

Plywood for the skin looks to be $15 - $30 depending on kind and thickness. Add screws and glue and I'm looking at $50 to $60 bucks. I'm liking this.

Oops - gotta figure out what I'm using for the boards that run lengthwise. I'm still loving the price, though.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:33 AM   #66
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Re: Lola, The Petroleum Falcon

If you are near an IKEA, you might take a look at their slatted bed bases. Could save you a lot of time...

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categ ... om/24827/#
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:39 AM   #67
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Re: Lola, The Petroleum Falcon

Thanks, Brian!

Alas - no Ikea near me. That said, what I can't figure out about those bases is how you'd trim them to make them fit. Seems like you'd have to take the thing apart, cut it, then re-assemble, plus the cuts would leave you with an asymmetrical curve in the slats, wouldn't it? *scratching head*

And by the time you did all that trimming, would it have saved any time?
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:43 PM   #68
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Re: Lola, The Petroleum Falcon

Actually, if I want cheap and easy, why am I messing with voids and skins?

I can get three 2x10s, cut them into 39.5 inch pieces, line 'em all up and boom, done. $35 bucks. Add another $10 if I want to screw them all to a board underneath in sections of three.

I suppose it's heavy, but my van is light. Am I missing something here?

3.5 inch foam mattress from Wal-Mart for $60. PH bed solved for $100?
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Old 05-11-2015, 04:21 PM   #69
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Re: Lola, The Petroleum Falcon

I would measure to make sure that much height would clear with the top closed. The top on my SMB wouldnt even latch closed if I had more than a sheet on the bed and I don't think the factory bed was 5" thick (total).

I think using a bunch of 2x10's would be cumbersome. Maybe just getting thick plywood and covering the bottom with fabric, vinyl, or some other material would make it look finished. You could then just get the cleats like what SMB does and hang the bed to the top when you want standing room, then unhook it from the cleats to use the bed when you're ready to sleep.
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Old 05-11-2015, 04:41 PM   #70
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Re: Lola, The Petroleum Falcon

If you are looking for cheap and easy, how come you don't just use a sheet of plywood?
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