How to Choose a Log Bunk Bed
By Cari Haus
So you've got the perfect little log cabin, or chalet by the lake, or just want a country touch to your home. You want a log bunk bed, or two, but don't know where to start. And they don't carry them in your downtown furniture store.
Not to worry, there are plenty of options available on the Internet. There are loft log bunk beds, twin over twin log bunk beds, full over full or even twin over queen. I haven't seen a twin over king yet, but really the Amish can make any size you want. A lot of college students who looking to build an inexpensive loft bed might find an Amish loft bunk bed to be just the ticket, and some of them come with futons under them, too.
There are federal regulations regarding bunk beds, so you'll want to make sure that whatever bed you choose meets the regulations. We're talking safety here, and things do happen. But you certainly wouldn't want a bed that doesn't meet the regulations, so make sure that the one you buy, does. Most accidents with bunk beds happen to children under the age of three. Many of these accidents can be avoided by having safety rails on both sides of the top bed. If one side of the bed is against the wall, that can be sufficient--but it must be against the wall. There are also regulations regarding headboards. There is a link to a page with the regulations at the bottom of this article for those who wish to read further.
Bunk beds built to those regulations are generally built to hold an adult weighing up to 250 pounds. If you are pushing the limits, try cedar instead of pine. In the beds we sell, the cedar logs are 5 - to 6 inches in diameter, while the pine is about 3 - inches in diameter. They are both built to federal specifications, and the pine bunk beds are very solid and strong, but if there is a question in your mind, go for the bigger logs. And of course, you can always put the big fella on the bottom, too.
Some log bunk beds come with a metal frame to hold the mattress, but some of the Amish build them with a wood frame to hold both the box spring and the mattress. You don't have to put a box spring in those beds, but you certainly can.
The other alternative to hold the mattress up is called a Bunkie board. A Bunkie board is basically - inch plywood cut to the size of the box spring. It sits inside either the metal bed frame, or the wood bed frame, and supports the mattress. If you have a box spring you don't need a Bunkie board, but if there is not a box spring, the Bunkie board is what supports the middle of the mattress. We sell Bunkie boards if people want them, but a lot of people just cut their own. It's up to the buyer.
Another option to consider is the type of ladder you want with your log bunk bed. Some of the Amish beds have the ladders built right into the end of the bed, so you don't have a ladder leaning out from the bed. Others have a moveable ladder that can hook on the end or the side. In many cases, the amount of space available determines the type of bunk bed you buy. If you have a small room, the larger cedar logs may seem too massive. If you don't have room for a slanted ladder, however, you may opt for the cedar bunk bed anyway that has the ladder built in. If you have a larger room or larger people, you may opt for the larger cedar logs.
If you get a pine bunk bed with metal frame, there is a way to give the metal frame that log look when the covers are thrown back. These are decorative half logs or rails, not to be confused with the safety rails that go around the top of the bunk bed. The top safety rails are always included with the log bunk bed, but the decorative half rails are optional and just for looks.
Last but not least, be sure to measure before you buy. Last year we sold a couple of log bunk beds to somebody in Montana. They absolutely loved the beds, but had bought two for the room and soon found out that only one could comfortably fit. Since we are in Michigan and they in Montana, it would have cost quite a bit to ship it back. They ended up selling the extra bed on ebay, but the problem could have been avoided with a bit of careful measuring up front.
Copyright 2006 Cari Haus
About The Author
This article was written by Cari Haus, President of Log Cabin Rustics, http://www.logcabinrustics.com, which retails log bunk beds on the Internet. Also, here is a helpful information about log bunk beds at http://ecfr.gpoaccess.com/. Go to that site and search for bunk bed regulations.