Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Three-in-one Wallbed Unit

A versatile and attractive space-saver, this unit is easily built from plywood, using ordinary tools

BEDROOM planned just for sleeping is wasted space for two-thirds of each day. Here's a way to use less furniture in a small room and still retain all the functions of a bigger bedroom set. The handsome 3¬in-1 wallbed unit shown here requires only the space of one twin-size bed, yet its four large drawers give you the equivalent of a full-size dresser. The wall shelves, which are attached to the bed, hold a generous supply of books and knickknacks. The en¬tire unit is mounted on heavy casters for easy mobility.
All major components are of plywood;
the unit pictured is of birch plywood, but you can use any veneer of your choice. Exposed plywood edges can be painted to contrast with the natural-finished wood surfaces, or you can cover the edges with matching flexible wood tape for a truly professional finish.
For such a large unit, the construction is relatively simple, and no special tools are needed although a power saw speeds and simplifies cutting out the various parts.
Start by cutting the front panel from 3/a¬inch plywood. Make the cut-outs for the four drawers and cupboard drawer. Trim all edges so they are smooth and square with the surface. Make up two drawer slide frames. These have scalloped end pieces; you can clamp the four end pieces together when cutting and trimming the scallops for an exact match. These scallops are more than decorative-particularly as
they are inside the unit-as screw holes must be drilled through the center of each scallop.
Assemble the two drawer slide frames with glue and #6 21/2-inch flathead wood screws, then attach the two frames to the back of the front panel, as shown in the photo. Use glue, and #6 13/4-inch flathead wood screws inserted through the frame
screw holes and driven into the front panel. Attach corner cleats at each end of the front panel with glue and #6 11/4-inch screws.
Cut out the two end pieces, and notch the upper rear corner of each as shown on the plans. Fasten these to the front panel with glue and #6 11/2-inch flat head wood screws. These are driven through the end panels into the cleats. Be sure to drill and countersink for all screws. These screw heads are later covered by trim pieces. Cut out and attach the back panel, using corner cleats in the same manner as on the front panel. Attach the drawer slide frames to the back panel at this time. Work carefully, and make sure that everything is perfectly square!
Make up eight drawer slides from 1 x 2¬inch and 1 x 1-inch pine stock, as shown on the plans. The assembled slides are fastened to the drawer slide frames with #6 13/4-inch flathead wood screws. Install the 3/a x 3/4-inch pine stripping all around the frame. Install the two "anti-tip" strips for the drawers. The lower one nails to a block that is glued and screwed to the front panel.
Now install the cupboard support strip, caster blocks, and the stripping for the cup¬board floor. Use glue and #6 13/4-inch flathead wood screws for the caster blocks, and glue and finishing nails for the support strip. Cut the cupboard wall and floor from 1/s -inch tempered hard board, trim to fit, and install with finishing nails. Add outer trim to the end panels. This can be 1/2 x 2-inch matching plywood, or hardwood or mold¬
ing of your choice. Install with glue and finishing nails. Set the nail heads and fill with plastic wood.
The basic bed framework is completed by adding the mattress floor panel. This is nailed to the upper stripping. Cut out the cupboard drawer, and trim it so that it overlaps the frame opening by 1/2-inch on all sides. Add hinges, catch, and door han¬dle of your choice.
Make up the four drawers next. A 1/8¬inch wide groove, 3/16-inch deep, is cut along the bottom of the "B" and "C" panels. When front, back, and sides are assembled with glue and finishing nails, the bottoms of 1/8-inch tempered hard¬board can be slid into these grooves. Glue and nail the bottom to the back piece "D" of each drawer.
Cut bookcase top, uprights, and shelves from 3/4-inch plywood. Fasten 3/a x 3/a-
Three-in-one Wallbed Unit

Completed drawer. When front, back and sides are assembled, hardboard bottoms can be slid into grooves.
inch cleats to the uprights with glue and #6 11/4-inch flathead wood screw. Lower shelf is then attached to the cleats, and additional shelves are attached to the up¬rights, with glue and finishing nails. Use a temporary diagonal support to hold the work square while work is in progress, and add remaining shelves and dividers of 1/2¬
inch plywood. Remove the diagonal strip, and attach the back of 1/8-inch tempered hardboard. Use glue and finishing nails.
Mount the bookcase on the bed unit, setting the uprights into the notches of the two side pieces. Fasten with screws through the uprights into the exterior trim strips that run along the top of the side panels. Screws through the hardboard back of the bookcase into the back panel of the bed give additional support.
Finally, paint all exposed plywood edges, or cover with flexible wood trim, then give the unit the finish of your choice. If you have picked a plywood with a decorative veneer such as birch, maple, or mahogany, you will want to use a varnish or other clear finish to bring out its beauty. Use at least two coats, and sand lightly between coats. Add drawer pulls and the door han¬dle, mattress, and bedding.
Original design by Steve Ellingson.

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