Crafting a Bed

Material List:

–  (3) 2” x 4” x8 ‘ studs

– (1) 4′ x 8′ x 3/4” sheet of plywood

– (  ) 8′ long tongue and groove pine boards

– (3) tubes of construction adhesive

– (1)  box 2  1/2” torque screws

– (8) 3” torque screws

– (4) 2” torque screws

– (2) garage door tracks

– (2) garage door track rollers

– (1) 3/4” bolt action for locking mechanism

– (1) 8′ piece of 1/2” cable wire

– (2) cable locking clamps

– (2) 2’ bungy cords

– (2) 1/2” threaded closed eye hooks

– (2) 4” x 2” blocks of wood

– (2) 3” threaded bolt

– (2) nuts for the threaded bolts

– (12) 2” threaded lag screws

Tool List:

– circular saw, tape measure, pencil, tri-square, level, hammer

– cordless drill with all necessary bits, and drill bits

– angle grinder with hard wheel attachment

– channel locks, pliers, small adjustable wrench

– socket set and wrench

I will begin by saying that this part of the bus renovation was very tricky and required a lot of wit. I didn’t have an exact plan when starting to make the bed or how it would actually be fixed upon the ceiling. Without Marty’s help on this, I don’t know if I would have come up with a successful plan. It required ingenuity, imagination and collaboration

We started by cutting the 4′ x 8′ x 3/4” thick plywood to 7′. I then cut two 2” x 4” x 8′ studs to 7′ and two other studs to 39”. I put construction adhesive on the studs and placed the around the perimeter of the plywood. With 2  1/2” torque screws I set the screws from the plywood side into the studs. I placed the screws roughly 4” apart from another. Just these four corner braces are enough support for the bed, and will also be strengthened further with the tongue and groove.

Now that the bed is in the bus, and framed together, the real trick begins here. We had no idea how to fix the bed to the ceiling sufficiently! After about an hour, rummaging around the property Marty came up with a brilliant plan. He saw an old garage door, wasted and torn apart. We dismantled the doors and removed the tracks.

With the angle grinder we cut the two straight tracks to the desired length for the drop down. With the adjustable wretch we curled in the corners of the tracks so that no sharp edges would gash us, and so that the roller had a stopping point just above the counter. The tracks were fastened to the bathroom partition wall with the 2” threaded lag screws.

We laid the bed just up against the tracks, and placed the rollers in the track. There is a 3” x 3” plate that comes off the roller, and this is what will be fastened the bed. We laid it out, marked the lines and then predrilled the holes. After the holes were pre drilled we then threaded the 2” bolts into each hole and tightened them with the socket set.

The bed will now slide evenly up and down the old garage door tracks. From here, we needed to find a way to hold up the front end of the bed. Since the skylight is positioned right at the front of the bed there was only way to hold it up. Marty had a lever, spring-loaded bolt sitting around which worked perfectly. In the middle of the skylight there is another steel framing brace.

We packed the brace down 2 1/2” to line up with the middle of the stud on the bed. With four  3” torque screws I fastened the bolt to the framing brace. We held up the bed, pulled the lock out, and with a pencil made the circle of the bolt on the stud.

The last step in the bed installation was drilling out the bolt hole. I took a  1/2” bit in the cordless drill and made the hole. We pushed the bed back up to the ceiling and slid the lock into place. The bed can now hold itself up!

Now that the bed is installed, and rests neatly on the ceiling, it is time to finish it off with the tongue and groove. I wanted the bed to look seamless with the roof, so my first piece was ripped down to match the ceiling above. Once I made the first piece match up, I simply cut the rest of the tongue and grove pieces all to 7′ and installed them. Again, I used construction adhesive to bond the tongue and groove to the plywood, as well as nail then together with the air powered staple gun.

After the tongue and groove was installed on the underside of the bed, I needed a better mechanism to drop the bed. With an 8′ piece of 1/2” wire, two screwable clamps, the laws of minor physics took over. I draped the wire under the bed and around the top. I then took the cable are crossed both ends over the bolt mechanism. With the clamps, I tightened the two ends of cable together, looking them in place.

I then pulled out two screws from the fire escape and in its place threaded the 1/2” closed eye hooks on both sides. Then taking the two bungy cords, I hooked both sides from the eye hook to the clamp of the cable. This set-up severely reduced the weight of the bed, by allowing the cable and bungy cords to disperse the weight. When dropping the bed, simply hold the bed up with one hand and unlock the front bolt. Slowly allow the bed to drop to a 45 degree angle, and will now stay supported by the cable. I crawl under the bed and from the bathroom side, unscrew the threaded nuts and pull out the blocker from both sides. The back side of the bed will slowly glide down the reclaimed garage door tracks.

With the bed down, and now supported, I can put my ladder under the bed, climb up, and take off the bungy cords. I pull out my mattress pads, pillows, and set up for a good nights’ rest. It takes about 5 minutes to drop the bed and have it fully set up for sleep. When I am done with it, it tucks neatly back up on the ceiling and out of the way.

A Little Bit Of Privacy

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