Desktop Organizers

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Now you can start work on the built-in desktop and two small organizers. This addition is what makes the project more than just your run-of-the-mill loft bed.

DESKTOP. First comes the desktop assembly. All the important details are shown in the drawings above, so I'll just hit the high points.

A piece of 34" plywood covered with plastic laminate forms the surface of the desktop. It's sized to fit snugly against the lower back rail and between the two end rails. So, you'll have to knock off the back corners (detail 'a'). I fit the panel before applying the laminate and then simply trimmed it flush.

cap amd cieat. Detail 'c' above shows the treatment that the front of the desktop recieves. A chamfered cap hides the exposed plywood and laminate edge . Then, a thick cleat backs up die cap and stiffens the front of the desktop.

INSTAll IT. The desktop is supported by, and attached to, cleats screwed and glued to the lower frame. A look at detail 'b' above will give you the picture.


The drawing at right shows how the organizer on the left side of the desk goes together. The right organizer is a mirror image, with one difference. The divider is left out to make it "CD friendly" (see photo).

THE CASES. The organizer cases are pretty basic. The bottom is joined to the sides with a tongue and dado. And a dado holds the divider (detail 'a'). The shelf forms the top of the case and there's no need for a back. A spacer, glued to the side, provides clearance past the comer block in the frame.

THE SHELF, The iaminate-covered shelf is a little different than the desktop. Here, all the edges are exposed. So after cutting theplywood panel to size, I applied hardwood edging, mitered at the exposed comers (detail 'b' below). Then before applying the laminate, you'll want to fasten the shelf to the case

#3 x V/i' Fh woodscrew with screws. And last of all comes the laminate. It's simply trimmed flush with the hardwood edging.

The organizers aren't fastened down. Just "snug" them into the corners and they'll stay put.

Except for the vertical divider, this organizer is a mirror image of the other. It's sized to hold CDs.


End rail overhang






(§) NOTE: Make four right, four left and seven center brackets





NOTE: Leave opening in front railing for ladder

' with Vis" fender J, washer and lock nut o=T[

NOTE: Brackets and tubing added to frame as unit



Finally, Dowel Holes. I found it easier to use a hand drill for the dowel holes in the ends of the brackets.

You'll find everything you need to know to build this jig in Shop Notebook on page 32.

Forstner bit

How-To: Make the Railing Brackets



& E


I A End railing i bracket '----

Bolt Holes. With the blank snug in the jig, I drilled the holes used to bolt the brackets to the frame.

Next, Holes for the Tubing. At this point, separate the brackets into right, left, and center. The detail shows the depth of the right and left holes.

safe, solid, and gives the loft bed a really unique took.

first, the brackets. I started with the brackets. The good news here is that with one exception, they're identical. But if you look at detail 'a,' you'll see that there's quite a bit to them. This, and the fact that I needed 15 brackets, convinced me to streamline the job.

a simple jig. The photo at left shows the routing and drilling jig I built to ease the work of making the brackets. It eliminates the need to lay out all the holes and lets you rout the bracket to shape. You'll find the details and dimensions for the jig on page 32.

making the brackets. The box at the bottom of the page gives you the "step-by-step" on using the jig to make the brackets. But there are a couple of things to point out.

First, you're going to drill three sets of holes in the bracket blank (Figs. 1, 2, and 3 below). The first set of holes (Fig. 1) is used to bolt the brackets to the frame. So they need to go all the way through the blank.

Next come the holes that hold the aluminum tubing. And this is where the brackets are slightly different. Take a look at the drawing above and you'll see that the holes in the end brackets don't go all the way through (they're only deep). So what this means is that you'll need to make four left end, four right end,

Finally, Dowel Holes. I found it easier to use a hand drill for the dowel holes in the ends of the brackets.

You'll find everything you need to know to build this jig in Shop Notebook on page 32.

With the desk in place, you can tum your attention to two important assemblies — the safety railing and the ladder.

railing overview. As you can see above, the railing consists of three main parts, A series of brackets is bolted to the frame and a pair of horizontal aluminum tubes span the brackets. Doweled to the tops of the brackets is a railing cap. The whole assembly is and seven center brackets (these have through holes).

The tubing I found at the hardware store was lMe" in diameter. So I had to add a new Forstner bit to my collection (refer to Sources, page 49).

shaping the brackets. Once all the holes are drilled, you can start shaping the brackets. Figures 4, 5, and 6 below give you the rundown, so I'll just add a few details.

Before routing the brackets to shape, you'll want to rough them out on the band saw. Just use the jig to trace the pattern. Then I used a 2"-long flush trim bit in the router table to finish the job. To get a clean cut, be sure to start at the upper, coved end and then rout down along the bracket and around the bottom curve.

The last major step is a notch at the bottom of each bracket that fits over the frame rails. Figs, 5 and 6 will guide you here. And after routing a roundover on the outside edge, the brackets are ready to go.

installation. Now before making the railing cap, you need to install the brackets and the aluminum tubing. These pieces are added as a unit.

First, I cut the tubing to length and then spent a little time polishing and sealing it. You'll find more on this on page 33, When everything is ready, you can assemble a section of railing and bolt it in place. To keep the tubing from turning, 1 used epoxy in the holes of the outer brackets.

RAILING CAP. Now, all that's left is to add the railing cap. The back and end

Ladder is screwed io leg assembly at top and bottom



#8x3' Fh woodscrew


Va" radius on front and back edges

»8x3- Fh woodscrew



Ladder is screwed io leg assembly at top and bottom

Hailing cap

NOTE: Add tread tape to steps after applying finish

*8x2'/i' Fh woodscrew


caps are cut to fit snugly between the legs. In front you'U need to leave the correct gap for the ladder. Then, after easing the edges with a roundover, I used dowel centers to locate the holes for the dowels. Glue the raiting cap in place, and you're done.


After working on the railing, building the ladder is a nice change of pace. A look at the drawing above, and you'll see that ifs pretty straightforward.

THE DETAILS. In a nutshell, the two uprights are cut to fit flush to the top of the leg and railing cap and notched to fit over the frame (detail 'a'). The top ends are chamfered and all the edges are rounded over.

The joinery consists of a series of dadoes that firmly capture the steps. I made the steps a little wider than the uprights for better footing and then eased all the exposed edges with a roundover (detail V).

Once all the parts are made, the ladder is assembled with screws (detail 13'). And finally, it's firmly attached to both the front leg and the side rail (details 'a' and 'c').

Railing bracket


Remove bracket from jig

Start at -shoulder.

second: Carefully rout away waste



Clean Up the Profile. Use the jig as a template to flush trim the bracket profile. Be sure to start routing at the top cove.

Clean Up the Notch. After removing the waste on the band saw, I smoothed the cut at the router table.

Rough cut profile on band saw

The Notch Shoulder. I started the long notch in each bracket by using a dado blade to make a "wide" cut at the shoulder.


Mounting screw ^ holes for rails • are on 8'/;' centers.

Mounting screw holes for mattress > panel are on ~~ 17" centers '—■

V/i" xJ6" aluminum angle

I racket


Angle support r*V>

Comer block

-#8x Vu" Fh woodscrew



Ladder upright

Aluminum angle support

With the railings and the ladder in place, you're in the home stretch. But there's still one very necessary item left to install — the plywood panel that supports the mattress.

ancle supports. The drawing above shows what you need to do. As you can see, the mattress panel is supported by lengths of aluminum angle. The angle is strong, lightweight and easy to work with

A look at detail 'b' shows that the aluminum angle is screwed flush to the bottoms of the frame rails. And then for added safety, you'll want to screw the mattress panel to the angle. So the hardest job here is drilling and countersinking screw holes in the aluminum angle before it can be installed. The drawings above wil! show you the locations of these holes.

mattress panel. The mattress panel is simply a sturdy piece of plywood cut to fit "loosely" in the pocket created by the angle. You'll have to knock the corners off, as shown in detail 'a.'

finish up. That's it. The building is done. But before taking a rest, 1 finished the bed by applying a coat of wiping varnish followed by two coats of water-based finish. And for the final detail, I made the bed a little safer by applying strips of self-adhesive tread tape to the ladder steps (refer to page 29). Now everything is ready for the new resident to unpack and settle in. ¡hi

Materials and Supplies a Wide Leg Pieces (4) b Narrow Leg Pieces (4) c Leg Corners (4) D Upper Side Rails (2) E Upper End Rails (2) f Lower Side Rail (1) g Lower End Rails (2) H Corner Blocks (6)

1 Vi x 2% - 76 1 % x 1 % - 76 11/2 x 8 - 80 1v2 x 8 - 42

O Organizer Bottoms (2) % x 8 % -12 p Organizer Shelves (2) 3k ply -10 x 24 Q Shelf Edging (1) % x \ - 72 rgh.

r Organizer Divider (1) V2X8V2-12 s Organizer Spacers (2) % x 11/2 - 5% t Railing Brackets (15) 1 x 3 -14 U Back Railing Cap (1} 1 V2x 3% - 78

v Front Railing Cap (1) 1 % x 3 % - 63 w End Railing Caps (2) 1'/2x3%-42 X Ladder Uprights (2) 1V2 x 3'/4 - 76

Y Ladder Steps (4) 1 Vi x 3% -13 Z Mattress Panel (1) % ply. - 40% x 76s/s • (4) 1 '/,6"-dia. Alum. Tube (72" long)

(3) 1'// xlV -72" alum, angle (30) V x 3" Carriage Bolts (12) s/is" x 5" Carriage Bolts (42) 5/,6" Rat Washers (42) 5/)6n Lock Nuts (44) #8 x %" fh Woodscrews (8) #8x2" fh Woodscrews (19) #8x2'// fh Woodscrews (38) #8x3" fh Woodscrews (1)2"-Wide Tread Tape (41 long) (1)24" x 120" Plastic Laminate (8) #8 x 1 y2" fh Woodscrews

Frame rail h.


—Aluminum angle is flush witn bottom of rail

NOTE: Mattress panel is ¥4 plywood

NOTE: For safety, mattress panel should be screwed to aluminum angle adding the

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