Design, The Tornado Bed
Comments 9

The Tornado Bed: design ideas

A worthy bed. A good-looking bed to be given to a family who’s been through a lot.

I announced in my last post that I will make a bed to be given to a needy family – victims of the April 27th tornado outbreak. I am calling the project “the Tornado Bed.” I still need to finish work on my dining room crown molding project, but I also want to begin work on the bed, so I will try to spend time on both, which will be interesting.

Since I made the decision to build the bed, I have been thinking about what it should be – should the bed be basic and utilitarian and therefore fast and easy to build? I could simply make a headboard and attach it to one of those metal bed frames eliminating the footboard. But, isn’t that sort of short-changing the victim of a horrific situation? Wouldn’t a nice, all wood bed be much more appropriate for someone who has suffered through the devastation of a monster tornado strike? I think so.

I am opting for the full bed: headboard, footboard and rails, all made of wood. Which brings me to the next consideration: what kind of wood should I use? I could go the budget route and use the acceptable, but super soft, dent prone pine found at the local home center. That would be the economical route. But I am leaning towards a hard wood – one that is easy to obtain in a variety of sizes and lengths, already surfaced. That means red oak (even though I have read how some outspoken woodworkers greatly frown on this wood). I’ll have to run the numbers to see what works from a money perspective.

The design
I have never made a bed before. I can’t imagine such a project would be difficult, especially as I have designed this one. It is made from straight boards and it gets a dose of style from the panels and finials. This is a queen size bed and was easy to design. I used an existing bed we own as a guide for the basic dimensions.

The headboard. I decided on panels vs. a solid board because panels mean increased visual interest.

Borrowed. I got the idea for the finials from a bed I saw years and years ago. These could be a challenge to make.

I need one like this. Our guest bedroom could use a bed like this. I may have to make a copy for myself.

I hope to begin buying lumber for the bed as early as this weekend. This will be a rewarding project to build. Also, the cost of the bed means that I may need to ask for donations. I’ll have to think this through, but if you are interested in donating funds towards this project, let me know in the comments.

The Tornado Bed is being built in response to the historic tornado outbreak that occurred in Alabama on April 27th. On that day, 63 tornadoes struck our state which claimed the lives of 247 people and caused between $2.45 billion and $4.2 billion in property damage (click the image at the right). The Tornado Bed will be given free of charge to a needy victim of the April 27th tornado event.

This entry was posted in: Design, The Tornado Bed


During the week, I sell flooring products for The Dixie Group. Weekends, you'll find me in my basement workshop making furniture.


  1. The bed will mean a lot to a tornado victim. I admire that you are so giving of your time and talents. I am glad all of your family is safe!

  2. This is beautiful and your generosity is so touching. You can count on me for a donation.

  3. Thanks Deb and Amy. I have to admit, I am a little nervous about this project. I plan to start buying the lumber tommorrow.

  4. Such a nice design Jeff and so heartwarming. I'm willing to throw in some money for such a good cause.

  5. Looks great Jeff! Good luck with those finials. WOW! I don't even know where to start on something like that. What wood did you decide to go with? Maple or birch might be an inexpensive option???

  6. Jason – Lowes has some select grade pine which is virtually clear of defects. That's what I am thinking. Poplar would be good, but I don't have a good source for maple.

    On the finials, I am trying to come up with a jig that I could cut the bevels with my table saw.

  7. The pine will be perfect with this design! Good call. I wish you and your fingers the best of luck on the finials. 🙂

  8. Jeff,
    Looks like it'll be a nice bed for a good cause. I can't wait to see it take shape. I also wish my Lowe's stocked usable lumber.

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