George Nelson Case Study Bed Hairpin

I had no prior experience in building furniture. I had my husband help me build this bed and it took us two days to build it, excluding the drying time for the stain. The bed is a queen size measuring 64” W x 82” L. It is pretty sturdy and has no problem (so far) supporting two adults, two dogs, and two cats at the same time (total weight of 400 pounds). It cost us about $350 (as of August, 2009) to build this bed.

Some people had asked me to post more detailed instructions, so here it is – I did my best. This is not a carpentry blog, so please forgive me if the instructions are somewhat vague…

Caution before you tackle this project:

  • If you have a question, please feel free to contact me. However, I am not a professional furniture builder – I may not be able to answer questions that are too technical.
  • I am not sure how strong this bed will be in the long run.
  • If you don’t have basic carpentry skills, find someone who does to help you.
  • I cannot be responsible if the bed doesn’t turn out right for you. If you have a doubt about my measurements, I recommend you make your cuts a few inches longer.


1. Build a support (bottom) frame – this part will not show once the bed is complete

a. Lay four (4) 2 x 6 pieces flat and attach (screw) them together with wood glue and four (4) metal braces.

b. Attach (screw) three (3) 2 x 4 pieces inside of the 2 x 6 frame with wood glue and five (5) metal braces for additional support.

c. Attach all eight (8) legs.

d. Attache two (2) L-shaped metal braces for a headboard. Attach while the bottom frame is still upside down. You will need to prop the bottom frame up to do this. Leave an enough space for the headboard to slide in (between the support frame and corner of the braces).

e. Flip the bottom frame once the glue is dry.

2. Attach (glue and screw) the top frame to the support (bottom) frame – the top frame is the visible part of the bed. The side and foot pieces overhangs by 3″ – be sure to screw where the mattress covers the screw holes. Use clamps!

3. Attach (glue and screw) slats to the support (bottom) frame.

4. Fill the screw holes with wood filler, sand and stain the top frame. Follow manufacturer’s instruction.

5. Headboard

a. I used iron-on oak veneer edge banding for edges. I then sanded and stained before attaching it to the body.

b. Attach the headboard. Be sure to use the short screws for the upper part of the L-shaped braces (so they don’t go through to the other side). Screw (with longer screws) into the support (bottom) frame as well.

6. Finished product.

Material List:
This material list is to make a queen size bed that measures 64” W x 82” L. You may need to make adjustments according to your needs and the size of your mattress.

You should be able to obtain all the materials locally except the hairpin legs. You will need to order the legs from These legs are made to order, so I recommend ordering them ahead of a time.

You will need a lot of different kind/size screws. I cannot remember exactly what kind/size of screws I used. All I can say is that you would want to use the strongest/longest screws possible for maximum support. If you are not sure what kind/size of screws you need, please consult with a store associate (good luck!) where you are purchasing your materials.

For the Support (bottom) Frame:
The support (bottom) frames measures 58” W x 79” L. The top frame will over hang the bottom frame by 3” on each side and foot of the bed.

* 2 – 79” 2 x 6
* 2 – 47” 2 x 6
* 1 – 68” 2 x 4
* 2 – 22″ 2 x 4 (21.75″ to be exact – I made a mistake cutting mine a little too short, so I listed as 22″)
* 9 – 10” metal braces
* Screws to attach the metal braces
* 6 to 8 – 8” Hairpin legs (only four legs are visible from outside – I used four hairpin legs and four wooden legs, but I recommend using the same type of legs because it can be hard to match the height of the two different kind of legs)
* Screws to attach the hairpin legs
* 2 – 10” L-shaped metal braces to attach a headboard
* Screws to attach the L-shaped braces to the support frame

L Shape Brace

For the Top Frame:
* 1 – 64” 1 x 6 red oak board
* 2 – 76 ½” 1 x 6 red oak board
* 1 – 53” 1 X 3 red oak board
* Screws

For the Slats:
* 11 – 52.5” 1 x 4 (you may need more/less 1 x 4s depending on your spacing between slats)
* Screws

For the Headboard:
* 1 – 22” x 64” Furniture grade oak plywood – I cut a notch on each side (bottom)
* Screws to attach the headboard to the L-shaped metal braces which are already attached to the support frame
* Iron-on oak veneer edge banding

*Wood glue
*Tape measure
*Carpenter’s square
*Sanding block or paper (150 grit)
*Wood filler
*Safety glasses
*Wood stain of your choice and tools recommended for applying the stain

Tags: DIY Project

Modernica Case Study V-Leg Bed

I have an eleven-year-old dog named Cid with a back problem. He has a hard time jumping up on our bed – so I decided it was time to do something… Get a platform bed! I have always wanted a George Nelson Case Study Bed with hairpin legs (v-legs). Needless to say, the original piece is out of reach, but Modernica sells reproductions for around $1,500 (queen size). I think $1,500 is not a lot of money for a nice bed – the question is… Do I want to pay $1,500 for a bed? Not really – so I started to explore my options. I searched online to see if there were any other styles – yes, but nothing within my budget. Then I started to think all these platform beds were so simple that I could build one myself. I have never tackled building furniture, so let this be the first one!

Hairpin Legs

I researched many sources and decided to make a platform bed with slats. My original idea was to make a platform bed using a plan in Todd Oldham’s book called Handmade Modern. I could make the platform part according to the plan using four plywood pieces and attach some hairpin legs instead of the pipe legs in the book. Then, I read somewhere that putting a mattress on a solid surface prevents it from breathing, thus resulting in mold growth underneath the mattress. Yuk! I cannot let my dog (and us) sleep on the moldy mattress!

For the body, I would use some 2x6s and 2x4s (for the support frame), oak boards (for the top frame), and 1x4s (for slats). The headboard would be cut from a 4×8 furniture grade oak plywood sheet. I could then use the rest to build two nightstands. For legs, I would use four 8” stainless steel hairpin legs and four wooden legs. Four wooden legs would be attached inner part of the bed where you could not see.

DIY Case Study Style Bed Materials

I bought all the materials local except the hairpin legs. I made my reluctant husband help me build a Case Study style platform bed one weekend… He was fine with the old bed – but I convinced him that Cid could hurt his back worse trying to jump on the bed that was too high for him. After all, Cid was his precious angel, too.

Slats are going in...

First we put the support frame together – four pieces of 2x6s were attached together with wood glue and steel braces. Inside of the frame, we attached some 2x4s for additional support. Then we attached all the legs and flipped the frame over to attach the top frame. Since this would be the only visible part of the platform, we chose red oak boards. We then attached 11 slats that hold our mattress.

Finished Product

The headboard was cut from a 4×8 oak plywood sheet. The widest oak board available was 12 inches which was too narrow to attach to the support frame. Modenica Case Study Bed uses three L shaped braces to attach the headboard to the platform body. Instead of using the L shaped braces, I cut the plywood 22″ x 64″ with two notches on each side and attached it directly to the support frame. Then, we attached the two steel braces (behind the headboard) for additional support. We stained the top frame and headboard with “honey” colored stain.

Not too bad, huh?

We spent about $350 for the materials. We are pretty happy and proud with how it turned out. The bed feels pretty sturdy and the height is just right. The only regret is that when we are standing up, we cannot see the hairpin legs very well – but Cid no longer has problem getting up on the bed and that’s all that matters!

Tags: DIY Project, hairpin legs

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