rope bed

This spring we had enough of the old camp beds (and mine was close to falling to pieces anyway) so we needed a proper bed. Medieval beds for sale tend to be rather expensive so we thought we'd give it a try ourselves. We wanted to keep it simple and easily transportable. So we decided to use four square posts with holes in them through which the two side, the head and the foot boards could fit. We wanted to try the design in pine wood (cheap and easier to work with) first. Instead of using planks as support for the matress we wanted to use hemp rope, which was a common construction that can be seen on the following pictures:

rope bed, Schillingchronik rope bed, Schillingchronik

Schillingchronik, 1474-83, Switzerland

Making the holes in the posts by hand was far heavier work than anticipated... (And it made a lot of noise which unfortunately annoyed our neighbours.) So we probably won't do another one in hardwood any time soon! And the bed seems to be stable enough made from pine wood...

rope bed, Bettina

rope bed

For transport it is not necessary to remove the rope, it is easier and faster to loosen the rope a little bit before 'rolling up' the boards along with the rope... And the rope ties the whole construction very efficiently together, so no further wedges or splines are needed to keep the boards in the bed posts. The holes in the center of the side boards were originally intended for an additional board in the center (to keep the tightened ropes from pulling the long side boards inwards). The problem is that our combined weight lets the ropes sag too much so the central board turned out to be rather uncomfortable. Anyway, these holes at least facilitate carrying the side boards :-)

(bettina, september 2009)

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