We've had a hardside waterbed for the past 26 years and really appreciate the comfort it provides.  We've had the same waterbed frame for 26 years and it is looking a bit dated, the drawers in the captain's bed stand have never worked well.  This is a cherry craftsman-style bed design with some Greene and Greene elements that will replace that old pine waterbed frame.  The plan is to make this the first component of a complete bedroom suite that will include two night stands and a dresser.


Design in Progress

    The following is the VariCAD model that was used to sketch out the primary design details.  The sketch model is being used as a basis for a detailed 3D engineered model that incorporates the joinery and detailed design elements.  The footoboard is a cloud-lift rail with plant-on cherry panels.  The headboard consists of a shelf, mirror, 4 drawers, and 4 framed glass doors.  The cloud-lift motif is carried to the headboard with the center section lift.

3D Model

  Current detailed 3D design model:
    The bed is being detailed from the base up.  Current design status is the base frame and drawer models are complete as well as the mattress deck. 

2D Drawings
    Drawings shown are those generated to date.  Drafting is starting from the base frame and proceeding upward

Base Frame:


Mattress Frame

  • Cloud lift and tsuba-style elements from Greene & Greene style
  • Bed frame is a captain-style bed with drawers below the bed frame.  Waterbed mattress is supported by 1/2" birch plywood panels through the base
  • Headboard and footboard are decorative elements, they do not support the bed frame


    The sketch above shows glass doors and a mirror with a tsuba-styled frame.  A cloud-lift design is also a candidate design element, so I built two mirrors, one with the tsuba-type frame and the other with a cloud-lift style. 

  Tsuba-style Mirror

Cloud-lift Style Mirror

Side by Side Comparison

    Based upon assessment of the mirror prototypes, we have decided that the cloud lift is a better design element and ties in better with the footboard and headboard design.  The mirror frame and glass door frames will be adjusted in the actual 3D model to reflect that design detail adjustment.  The relative sizes of the mirrors did not enter into consideration.  The more rectangular shape of the tsuba-style mirror reflects compensation for a construction snafu.


Waterbed Progress

Base Frame and Drawers

  The base frames are shown stacked on top of one another below.  The frames will be back to back with a spacer as shown below:

Base Frame Layout: There are two drawer sets, back to back, separated by a spacer to set the bed width and hold the mattress

Base Frames (stacked on top of each other for photographic purposes)


  The base frames are 1/2" plywood that extends from top to bottom to provide direct support for the mattress from the waterbed frame to the floor.  This makes the frame somewhat less rigid when lifting laterally, so care must be exercised when moving the base frame.  However, it makes the frame very strong vertically because all mattress weight is transferred directly to the floor through the vertical plywood sheet.  A total of 5 vertical supports are provided on both sides and four will be provided in the center as shown below.  The center supports are offset from the outside supports as shown in the picture.

 The drawers are cherry front with ash secondary wood.  Bottoms are 1/4" cherry plywood.  Drawers are dovetailed using the Akeda jig.  A wooden drawer runner is attached to the side of the drawer, the drawer is suspended on the runner with the groove as shown in the picture.  Drawer hardware is from Horton Brass: Mission style ring pull MS-4: Horton Brass MS-4


 Base frame back details.  Spacers will be placed in the grooves in the spacer blocks shown.  The spacer blocks are poplar 8/4 pieces screwed in to the back of the base frames.  The spacers will be 1/2" ply to support the waterbed mattress in the middle of the frame. 

         Bed Frame Construction is Next       


Progress Log
  Time:  272 Hours to date.  This includes preliminary concept sketches, the 3D model "sketch", mirror prototype construction, and base assembly.

Last Update 11/17/12  mkl