Since the beginning of time humans have been looking for a more comfortable place to sleep. And long before any other material was used for a bed frame, people used handmade solid wood to construct their bed frames. Not only was wood readily available and able to be worked with simple tools, but it was a lot more comfortable than sleeping on a rock.
Fast forward to the 21st Century and there are innumerable choices for bed materials. Which material is the best for a bed frame? Metal, plastic, plywood, pressed-board composites, and many more are readily available. But the look, feel and quiet strength of solid wood beds help them to remain one of the most popular in the marketplace. Handmade solid wood beds are the best choice for a bed frame.
The best solid wood bed frames are built from American Hardwood. Hardwood is produced by Angiosperm trees that reproduce by flowers and have broad leaves. The most popular American hardwoods are Ash, Cherry, Maple, Red Oak, White Oak and Walnut and are known for their dense, hard wood, straight grain and durability over time.
Appalachian Hardwood, grown in the Eastern United States between Georgia and New York, is world renowned for the uniqueness and consistency of its wood grains and color and the strength of its fibers. Many high end furniture builders will only use Appalachian hardwood because of its high quality and consistency.
Softwood such as Fir or Pine is great for building houses and other general construction tasks, but is less desirable for building quality, long lasting furniture.
It is important that a quality wood bed frame be built from solid hardwood and not imitation wood such as particle board or other types of base material covered with veneers. Solid wood has a natural beauty that cannot be replicated. Solid wood is much more durable than other choices and can be sanded and repaired if accidents happen.
The best solid wood bed frame is built in the USA with time honored traditional building techniques and quality hardware. In many parts of the country, quality craftsmanship and furniture building skills are passed down from generation to generation of furniture builders. A cheaply made bed can squeak and be unstable. A quality solid wood bed frame will be strong, quiet and trouble free for generations.
Hardwood is the best wood for making a bed and other furniture because it is strong, durable and has a beautiful natural look and feel that cannot be replicated.
The most popular hardwoods for making a bed are Ash, Cherry, Maple, Red Oak, White Oak, Wormy Maple and Walnut.
Ash is known for its light color, distinctive grain pattern and durability. Ash is traditionally used for tool handles that need high impact resistance such as hammers and shovels as well as baseball bats. Color is yellow to gray.
Cherry is known for its smooth finished surface and it how it develops a rich reddish-brown patina as it ages. Cherry is very stable, straight grained, and machines well. Cherry’s rich red-brown color is frequently imitated with wood stains on other hardwoods but never can be truly replicated. This aging process can be accelerated by exposing the wood to direct sunlight.
Maple is very light in color with white to cream to yellow tones, sometimes with a red cast. Maple is very hard and is often used wherever a very durable surface is needed such as cutting boards, basketball courts and bowling alleys. Grain is fine and generally an even texture. Maple is the best choice for grey colored stains because the light wood color shows the gray tones of the stain very well.
Red Oak may be the most popular hardwood in the United States, Red Oak is commonly seen in flooring, furniture and just about everywhere else wood is used. Red Oak is hard, very strong and machines very well. Just like White Oak, Red Oak has very distinct grain that can be seen and felt even after the wood has been sanded to a smooth finish. Red Oak grain has microscopic openings. Wine barrels are made with White Oak, not Red Oak. Wine would run very slowly through the Red Oak! Red Oak is nearly as hard and strong as White Oak. Color is light to medium brown, commonly with red overtones.
White Oak is a great choice for furniture that will receive the most active use such as by children and or pets because it is very hard and strong. White Oak is not white in color – rather it has yellow to gray tones.
Wormy Maple Wormy Maple (aka Ambrosia Maple) features unique marking in the wood caused by Ambrosia fungi, which is found in association with Ambrosia beetles. The beetles bore into the trunk of the tree, bringing with them the ambrosia fungi, which subsequently stains and discolors the surrounding wood. This striking “wormy” pattern does not affect the final performance of the lumber in any negative way.
Walnut has a distinctive grain and rich dark color. Walnut is a durable choice for furniture, but somewhat softer than the other choices, so we don’t recommend it for a surface that will receive significant wear such as a desktop. Walnut is becoming more and more rare causing the price to rise.
Pine, Fir and Cedar are softwoods that are better suited for homebuilding and general construction than to building fine furniture. Softwoods do not have the warm color and grain patterns of softwood, and may weaken over time. Fir is often used for Dorm Room furniture but lacks the good looks of hardwoods such as Oak or Cherry.
Bed slats are the horizonal pieces of wood that create the platform that supports the mattress. Even though they are not seen once the mattress is in place, high quality bed slats are important because they are key to the stability and strength of the bed. Low quality bed slats will sag and become squeaky over time.
Hardwood is the best choice for bed slats because of its strength and dimensional stability. Bass and Poplar are hardwoods that are often used for bed slats because they is strong, cost effective, easy to work and has a very straight grain pattern.
Many customers seek out beds and other furniture that is made in the USA because of its reputation for quality of materials, traditional craftsmanship and beauty of the finished product.
While furniture is built all over the world, choosing made in USA means that the buyer can count on a level of quality in materials, design and craftsmanship that cannot be replicated elsewhere.
Buying a bed made in the USA supports the domestic supply chain, supporting a wide range of tradespeople from loggers, mill workers and the furniture builders themselves.
Buying locally made furniture can be an environmentally responsible choice by reducing the distance between the furniture supplier and customer. Quality furniture that is designed to last for generations reduces waste by being passed down to new owners and is an environmentally sound choice.
For centuries wood has been the best choice for bed construction. When properly cared for a high-quality, American hardwood wood bed can be passed down from generation to generation and last almost indefinitely.
Hardwood is very dense and hard and only gets stronger as it cures and ages over decades. As any “Antiques Roadshow” watcher would tell you, Harwood furniture is highly prized by antique collectors and can bring a very high price at auction.
High quality furniture construction also contributes to the longevity of a wood bed. Time tested traditional bed construction techniques yield extremely durable furniture.
Wood is also able to be re-finished over time which can give a fresh look to an old piece of furniture.
Solid Wood Platform Beds are very popular because of their simplicity and ability to be used in a wide variety of bedroom styles. From sleek Mid Century Modern, homey Craftsman all the way to Japanese Tatami style, this type of bed can work for everyone. A Platform Bed uses horizontal support slats rather than a Box Spring to support the mattress. A Platform Bed eliminates the need for a traditional Box Spring. Because they provide a strong, supportive base surface, Platform Beds can be used with all types of mattresses. Many Platform Beds can also be used with a Japanese Tatami mat.
Customers often ask how high should a bed be from the ground? This is entirely personal preference! Please consider style, function and don’t forget to calculate the thickness of your mattress.
Low Platform beds are typically 6-24 inches from the ground
High Platform beds are typically 24-60 inches from the ground
Loft Platform beds are typically 60+ inches from the ground
Platform beds with storage, most often called Storage Beds, are an excellent way to organize the often-unused space under a bed. Storage beds typically have cabinets, drawers or open “cubbies” under the bed. Storage beds can also have storage space in the headboard and or footboard.
These types of beds typically use a platform mattress base rather than a box spring base to free up space for more storage capacity.
Solid wood beds can provide years of healthy sleep.
Customers tell us that putting their mattress on top of a solid wood platform gives them a grounded feeling while sleeping and as a result they wake up refreshed and ready for their day.
Low platform beds facilitate sleeping low to the ground, which many customers report is a key for their sound sleep.
A solid, squeak free platform ensures quiet and restful sleep.
Solid wood beds, and in particular low wood beds can be ideal for Feng Shui enthusiasts as experts say that a bed height should be between 8-18 inches and the space between the mattress should be open. There should be as little as possible between the person using the bed and the floor. This will help to ground the sleeper and ensure good sleep.
Basic metal bed frames can be a lower cost alternative to wood bed frames and sometimes come free with a mattress and box spring purchase. These types of frames typically are not seen once the mattress and box spring are placed on top of them.
High quality metal bed frames, such as antique iron beds can be a good investment but be sure to assemble and test prior to purchase to make sure it is high quality with no damage. Also inspect for rust and other signs of wear that could impact their stability.
Low-cost metal bed frames, Box Springs and mattresses are notorious for being unstable and squeaky. No matter how much you tighten the hardware, a cheap metal bed can make noise, wobble and deliver an overall poor night sleep.
Higher end beds, such as cast-iron beds are susceptible to oxidation and rust if not properly cared for. Metal beds must not be exposed to moisture, humidity or salty air. Any chips or cracks in the paint / finish must be cleaned and repaired immediately to make sure oxidation does not occur.
Some people believe that metal bed fames can increase the sleeper’s exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and other unhealthy electrical fields. This can impact sleep and possibly create health problems such as headaches, insomnia, and muscle cramps.
Wood beds provide a fantastic foundation for upholstered bed styles. Typically the upholstery is applied on top of a wood bed frame because wood makes it easy for the upholstery to be attached to the wood with screws, staples or glue. The most common way to upholster a wood bed frame is on the headboard and or footboard. Many wood beds can be constructed in such a way so that the upholstered sections can be made separately and attached to the frame at the final assembly.
Fabric webbing is a very popular version of an upholstered bed. Webbing, typically 2-3 inches in width, is applied to the headboard in crisscross pattern.
Solid Custom Heirlooms creates wood bad frames made in the USA customized to each customer’s individual needs. Each piece of furniture is built to order by American craftspeople from the highest quality hardwood, sourced from throughout the Appalachian region. We believe that “solid is best” and avoid the use of veneers and compressed particle board. We are practical artists devoted to the creation of attractive forms in beautiful wood that meet functional needs and provide visual pleasure for generations of users.