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Murphy Bed Build (9): Final Installation and Adjustments

May 30, 2018

Adjust the boxes to the hardware, and then to each other. Rotating the panel gives a little extra wiggle room

This video is part of a series on Making a Murphy bed. the series landing page is here.

Official Transcript:

And that's the last of the trim on the box. So now I'm gonna slide it back against the wall, center it, get it plumbed up, and screwed to the wall. The box fits about 1/8 inch in from the edge of the sheetrock, on either side. And I'm gonna go ahead and get the top mounted first, and then I'll plumb it down and screw the bottom in place.

So we're pretty well plumb, and the good news is, I'm following the sheetrock pretty well. Eventually there's gonna be some wood paneling on this so I've got a little bit of wiggle room. I'm feeling pretty good about this. I'm just gonna bounce the bottom back this way and put a screw down low.

Mount the mattress box inside the wall cabinet

I think that's plenty of screws in this box for right now because there's a possibility I might have to adjust it just a little bit more once I get the bed frame in here. But now, I'm ready to bring that bed frame in, and I'm gonna use some clamps and some blocks of wood to hold it up until I can run the screws through from the outside into the bracket that mounts right there.

Well, I've wrestled around and got the first screw started on each side. Now, all I can do is ease off on this clamp a little bit, let it settle back in, and start to fit the other screws in.

So once you get the first two in there, everything else pretty well falls into place. It's just getting those first two in that's a real battle. We got this side attached. Now I'm ready to move over to the other side.

Test the pistons

The next thing I wanna do is just do a test run, lift it up, and hopefully, then I'll be ready to actually put my pistons on.

Well, we look like we're in pretty good shape. The next thing I'm gonna need to do is put the pistons on and see what they do. So I'm gonna let it back down then we'll get the pistons.

Working by yourself, it takes a bunch of fighting back and forth. I just used a clamp and a board to hold the bed up in the right position to where I could get this cylinder on here. Now, when I take this clamp loose and I push the bed down, this pivots, this is gonna shrink and I'll be able to get the band off of there.

Make sure that these little screws are tight.

Adjust the wall cabinet to the bed frame

Now, it's always gonna close beyond where you want it to the first time because there are no stop blocks yet. This is the first chance I've been able to see how the frame fits in the opening.

There's two things I need to do from here. I'm gonna plumb the bottom of the cabinet out away from the wall and use a metal L bracket to hold it in place, and then I'm gonna come back and see what the reveals look like on the side of the cabinet.

At that point, if you remember earlier on, I said I didn't wanna put all the screws in to hold this panel in place because I may need to actually back those screws off and shift this panel a little bit to get it to line up. We're not in just terrible shape, but I'd definitely gotta plumb things up and then do some shifting around to make sure everything fits.

At that point, I'll have a few more steps, fit a stop, make a header trim, and I don't wanna forget to put those brackets in up on the top, plus some more screws in the plywood. But the next thing I need to do is go ahead and lower the bed back down, put the metal straps on the cylinders so I can get them off. And that's gonna give me a lot more freedom to make all those adjustments that I need to make to this bed.

Now that I'm ready to make my final adjustments, I've gotta get these sides held in place; otherwise, with them moving around, I'll never know exactly where the bed's gonna end up. What I'm doing is putting a metal L bracket like this against the side, and I'm putting it right where the baseboard of the cabinet that sits here will cover it and so it'll never be seen. And then I'm gonna use these little anchors to hold it in place in the slab.

Now if I was on a crawl space, I wouldn't have to use the anchor.

But I'm just gonna use two of these little metal L brackets, one on each side, to hold the outside edge in place. Now that I've got both sides in place, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna need to make a slight adjustment on the platform.

Final adjustments: rotating the panel within the frame

The back panel needs to come this way a little bit on the top, so I'm gonna hold it in place with some clamps, back the screws out, pull the panel that way a little bit, then just reset the screws. I clamped these three corners. Now, I didn't clamp the back corner because that's the pivot point. These clamps are not real tight, just tight enough to hold it. I've let out all the screws except the screws in that corner. Now I'm just gonna give this a slight adjustment and I'll just put a screw back in another hole that hadn't had screw in it yet. Okay, that looks good.

I'm just gonna go ahead and put some screws in here.

I'm gonna work my way around the perimeter of the bed, redoing these screws, and then I'll be able to take the clamps off. I'm gonna raise it up and see how it fits.

Because the pistons keep constant pressure on the bed, you have to have stops or else the bed frame would come on in past lining up with this outside. So I've just cut some pieces of poplar that are gonna make a solid stop to keep the frame exactly in the straight up and down position is really what I'm looking for.

Okay, I'm gonna check the alignment one more time to make sure that the platform's right where I want it, and then we'll be ready to put the two pistons back on. So the reveals are just the way I want them to be now. I need to go back, put the two pistons on, and from this point on, the pistons are gonna keep this held up in this place.

Fill in the top and bottom pieces

Then the only other thing that I need to do is put a header piece across the top, add a little base piece across the bottom, and then there'll be one more thing I wanna talk about, that's the final preparation for putting the mattress in.

Now, you want to make sure that you put these little keeper screws on here. I've got both the cylinders on now. I'm gonna take this clamp off and lower it down, pull the spring off, and the platform should just come up and set right against those stops that I put in there.

We'll cut the piece for the header and for the base. I've test-fit this piece to make sure it had some clearance when it came down. Now I'm sheeting it up just a tiny, tiny bit because I wanna have the least gap here that I possibly can. I'm just gonna nail it in place with one nail. I'm gonna go check the other end, I'll do one more test fit and then we should be able to nail it off.

It looks like that's gonna work, and that's as tight as I dare get it, so I'm gonna put about three or four more nails in from each end, and I'll be ready to move up here and put the header piece in.

Cover the slats with thin plywood

Okay, that's the last piece of trim that goes on the outside of this wall bed. From the outside it's totally done, but there's one more thing we need to do on the inside so that the mattress is gonna have something to sit on, and that's put some 1/4 inch plywood in. But we're only gonna talk about it, because if I actually put the 1/4 inch plywood in, I wouldn't be able to add a couple of handles that I need to pull this down. Right now, barely got room to get my fingers in here. Matter of fact, I hope I have room to get my fingers in here to pull this down so we can talk about it.

I need to add one strip of wood right here that goes between the two legs, and that's to support the plywood on this end and then we'll just take two rippings of 1/4 inch plywood and using some screws, lay 'em in here on top of these ribs, and that's what's actually gonna support the mattress. But I don't wanna do that yet because if I have that in place, I couldn't get my hardware on for my pulls so I'm gonna use a couple pretty good sized pulls on the front of this so the person doesn't have to struggle to get the bed down.

Now, right now this bed is still trying to come up, but once you add the weight of a mattress and bedding, it should stay down pretty easily. If for some reason that didn't work out, I'd have to swap out for the next weaker or less strong set of pistons. But I think this is gonna work out just right.

Previous segment: 8/ Building the Bed Cabinet

See the whole series here: A Wall Bed That Even Murphy Can Make

—A recovering production trim carpenter, Gary Streigler is a partner in Craftsman Builders in Northwest Arkansas.

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