Searching For Bunk Beds: Why We Settled On These Plans

I wonder if your experience is anything like ours.  Our kids needed bunk beds.  We were on a budget, and I had minimal tools and woodworking experience.  We searched high and low, and went through several phases before finally settling on the bunk bed plans now offered on this site:

First, we tried to find finished bunk beds at local furniture stores. Several places had the style we liked, but we ran into two main problems.  The beds were either sturdy and very expensive (in the $500 – 700 range), or they were affordable ($200 – $350), but flimsy and cheaply made.  The $200 Walmart version was made of thin wood, and there wasn’t even a finished display model we could inspect.  We priced another set for just over $350 at a furniture store, but they were made from cheap materials and the bed was wobbly.  After looking at so many beds, we thought we could probably make our own cheaper, and safer.

Next we looked for used bunk beds on Craigslist. Occasionally people do sell good used bunk beds online, or in thrift stores.  We found a few online, but unfortunately they had already been sold by the time we responded.  About a month after we built our own, the local thrift store had a half-way decent set on display.  If you happen to need bunk beds at the right time, you might get lucky and find a good set of used bunk beds.  We couldn’t wait for an indefinite sale, so we had to move on.

Third, we looked for free plans on line. This was a chore in itself.  While we found many listings for free bunk-beds, most were buried in ad campaigns for actual bunk beds or plans that cost around $10.00 or more.  The few free plans we found were not the style we were looking for, did not have the safety features we desired, and lacked the kind of step-by-step instructions we needed.

Our fourth phase was searching for good plans we could buy: Again and again, we ran into site after site that served as a front for a huge CD that offers 14,000+ woodworking plans.  Maybe you’ve seen it already.  We were impressed with the apparent professional quality of the display pictures.  The problem was, we are not woodworking enthusiasts looking for a life-time variety of hobby projects, but only parents who wanted a set of safe, affordable bunk beds for our children, that we could make with minimal experience and tools.  I was unable to get much information on what specific bunk bed plans the CD actually offered.  While the pictures they did show looked highly professional, the exploded views blew me away, and were not the style we were looking for any how.  Maybe the CD does have something we would like and could actually build, but I was unwilling to hand over 50 bucks to find out.  We ended up buying a set of plans for $10.00, from a nationally known woodworking magazine, and the results were about the same.  There were many detailed, professional looking photos and handy tips and techniques, but the project required a lot of expensive materials, tools we didn’t have, and the instructions and pictures were overwhelming to a woodworking novice like myself.

Finally, we decided to make our own plans. We modeled them after the style we like the most, and that seemed the safest to us for children.  Next we had to figure out ways to make it simple enough to build with common tools.  I don’t have routers, joint cutters, jigs, or even a table saw, and wasn’t about to invest hundreds of dollars just for this one project.  We were forced to come up with plans that we would actually be capable of building with our existing equipment and experience.  The results were pleasantly surprising.  Not only did the beds look the way we wanted, but they met the national standards for bunk bed safety, and they were rock solid!  My only regret is that I didn’t have these plans to begin with.  It would have saved me hours of time, and a lot of money wasted on trial and error.

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Bunk Bed Plans, Rustic, Twin


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