Now that your window arches are cut in, you can move on to the next panel pieces. I advise you wait and dry fit all of the pieces before you start nailing and gluing them in. Not all boards are perfectly straight and make for some wonky lines. I happened to purchase culled lumber for my panels at a discount, and some of my boards were warped so bad that I had to sand and trim to make a nice fit. It’s probably worth the extra $5 to just buy good boards in the first place. I just tell myself that the crooked boards add to the charm, lol.
Back to the bed.
Lay your bed frame face down on a flat level surface and place the boards so they are resting on top of your trim pieces. I used a scrap of wood under the center of the long boards so they rest even the entire width of the bed. Align the top arched board in place, and the remaining two 77” 1x4 and 1x6 boards at the bottom portion of the upper bunk panel. Before fitting the smaller pieces that will separate the window spaces, I glued the edges together and used my nailer at 45 degrees, this made these smaller pieces even and easier to deal with when it came time to attach them to the panel. I recommend clamping these pieces together and allowing them to dry.
Cover the back side of the trim pieces with glue and lay your first board into place. Run a bead of wood glue on the top and bottom edge of the board as well. Using your nailgun, nail the top board to the trim pieces on each end. You can also toenail a few shots into the top frame piece to make sure your board is secure. Take time to make sure that your board is nailed level and even.
Next, with the smaller 15 inch sections, run a bead of glue on the edges and nail into place. This will be easy on the edge pieces, but for the center section that is between the windows, you will have to put a block underneath to keep it level with the rest of the panel. Also, make sure to align the center section with the marks between your arches. The center section will be ¾ of an inch in from the edge of the top window arch. This allows for trim to line up flush inside the window opening.
Continue fitting your boards into place, checking for level, nailing and gluing down the entire width. When you are finished, stand up your panel and wipe clean any glue that has dripped to the other side (there will be glue). I used a large 4’ pipe clamp to hold everything in place while it dried. Note: It may be necessary to throw in a few 1 ½”pockethole screws to secure the wider panel pieces into place. I did not do this, but it sounds like a good idea; especially in the center section between the windows.
So, how’s it going? Are you still with me? If so, get ready for the bottom portion, By now, the top section should look like it’s getting there, you might be a little concerned with the edges around the window openings, but they will be secured when it is time for the trim.
Lay your panel down again, and dry fit the lower sections. Again, if you would like your lower windows arched, take your 22 ½” long 1x6, measure in 7 inches from each end, and make your arch between these two points; this time using a smaller round object ( like a cake pan or a floor lamp). I’m sure there are simple instructions somewhere on how to make a perfect arch without tracing random objects, but I haven’t googled them yet. The pieces beside the window opening are only 6 ¼” long, making them almost seem pointless, but trust me, they are necessary for the cute factor on this bed.
Starting with the top 1x4 that is 22 ½ ” wide, glue and nail it into place, checking for level. Then, attach the window arch board to the edge trim followed by the smaller boards on each end (gluing and nailing as you go) and the final two boards that sit below the window. If you notice that your shorter boards do not align perfectly on edge around the window opening, it will be okay. The front side of the panel will be covered with trim, just make an attempt to keep them level. Unless you are going with a “crooked house” theme, do your best to keep things even.
Do this to both sides of the center opening and you will see your bed taking shape. This was the part of the process that got me really excited, because my vision was becoming reality! Remember to wipe off any excess glue, because you will be crying real tears if you have to scrape it off when it has dried. So I have heard.
NOTE: Short panel pieces on outsides of top windows are 15" long. 15 3/4" long marks the start of the optional arch cutouts.
NOTE: On the lower front panel measurement, the small boards along the sides of the windows are mislabeled. 1x6's are 1x4's - you'll see that these boards are wider in width (Ana mistake here!)