Antique Folding Bed to Custom Wooden Storage Bench
Imagination and creativity are qualities that can turn something old into something new and useful.
A Jacksonville, Florida resident, living in the Mandarin neighborhood, contacted us for help with a custom woodworking project she had envisioned. And Borders Woodworks enjoys helping people bring their custom woodworking visions to life.
In a trip to her family farm in Vermont, she had found pieces of the frame of an antique folding bed. She had always thought the old wooden bed frame pieces could be made into a custom wooden storage bench. She asked if we could help make that concept a reality. And we were happy to take on her project.
First we laid out the antique folding bed pieces (of oak and pine) that she had in our Borders Woodworks workshop in San Marco.
We clamped and glued the base of the folding bed together, and took dimensions for the pieces that we would use to convert this bed frame into a custom wooden storage bench.
After sanding and staining the antique folding bed pieces, we added the new wooden structural components and the bench starts to take shape.
On the back of the top cross board of the antique bed frame, you can see the original directions for the “Andrews’ Gem Folding Bed”. These printed directions are a detail that provides authentic authority to the piece. We agreed with our client; these original directions should be saved on the piece.
Their concept for the Andrews’ Gem Folding Beds were similar to those of the Murphy Beds, which are still being manufactured today. This Andrews bed appears to have been made as a movable, free-standing piece of furniture, while Murphy beds also fold up for storage, concealed in a bookshelf or console; a piece of furniture which is secured to a building wall.
Andrews’ Gem Folding Bed information and image courtesy Digital Commonwealth – Massachusetts Collections Online.
The refinished wood carving detail on the front panel of the bench give it a charming and period-correct look.
Stained (“Expresso”) and finished with a sealer and a clear top coat, the custom bench with ample storage space below the removable cushioned seats turned out very nicely. Our client was very pleased with her custom wooden storage bench with historic appeal. And we enjoyed helping bring our client’s woodworking concept into a reality.