This is an image from the SketchUp model I made. I have shown it as color coded to make it easier to identify the parts of the doll bunk bed.
It has been an interesting challenge to find a way to make a 3 way corner joint.
A simple butt joint would not be strong enough to withstand rough handling. in my humble opinion.
So this is my solution to using dowels to make the joint a bit stronger.
Close up view of the corner joint.
I have made the rails and posts translucent to show how the dowels are inserted at an angle.
One of the reasons I like to design and make wooden toys is the fact that I don’t need to use expensive woodworking machinery.
All I used for this project was an electric drill, a 12 inch disk sander and a hand saw.
If you have a clamping mitre box saw combination, you wouldn’t really need the disk sander.
If you want to, you can use a router to cut the grooves for the base. To do this, I used a D-handle router mounted in a home made router table. Click on the link to find out how I made it.
The label says DAR 18 18 TASOAK/SEL
Taking a wild guess, this is what I think it means:
Dressed All Round 18mm x18mm Tasmanian Oak Selected.
Quite the pedigree. It’s available in 2.4m lengths.
Please note that this is just an example. Where you get your stock may sell Meranti which is also fine for this project, in my humble opinion.
For the base I used 7mm plywood.
I found a packet of 5mm dowels at my local craft shop, which proved to be ideal for this project.
The horizontal rails have to be cut to the same length, and the ends have to be square.
The way that I did this is to tape the pieces together and sand them square with a 12 inch disc sander.
Another way to do this is with a clamping mitre box saw combination.
I am using 7mm project plywood for the base, and to attach this to the rails, I have to cut a groove with a router mounted in a router table.
As I said before, if you don’t have a router, simply attach the base to the underside of the frames.
I decided to make the end frames first. In the photo above, you can see how I have clamped the post and end rails to drill the holes for the dowels.
The holes are drilled in the post on the high side on one corner, aiming slightly down into the end rail.
The red line shows the angle to be drilled, and the blue triangle highlights the clear plastic square I was using.
Remember to mark the frames as you go so that you can re-assemble them in the final steps.
The top rail dowel pin is simply drilled at 90 degrees because there is no other connecting rail.
Here is how I assembled the end frames using my trusty B&D Workmate. You don’t see the grooves in this photo because they are facing down.
I found it was easier to complete the two end frames first, one at a time, with the assembly of the side frames in the final step.
This photo shows the end frames already assembled. I am using a scrap piece of 7mm plywood to keep the alignment, and in the corner you may notice a clear plastic square.
Trim the dowels flush, sand down the sharp edges, and the project is ready for painting or varnishing.
This DIY doll bunk bed is available as part of the free print ready set of toys for girls eBook