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How to Build a DIY Cane Daybed

Updated: Jan 28, 2021


plaster art, canvas art, cane daybed, moody office, fluted table

Other DIYs seen in photo: Canvas Art, Fluted Table


Ever since I laid eyes on this cane daybed from CB2, I knew we had to have one in our home. The office seemed like the perfect place because a daybed here could serve as a sofa or an extra bed for guests.


While we did consider purchasing this daybed from CB2, we decided: a) we could make one for A LOT less money and b) we needed the bed to be more narrow so that the closet could still open in the office. I immediately began searching "how to build a cane daybed" and sure enough somebody had done this before! Christine from HoneyBuiltHome made a dupe of this same daybed over a year ago, so we knew it could be done. Her plans were super helpful to give us a plan on how to build the bed, however Casey, as always, had a few different ideas in his head of how he would do things differently.


A few changes we were going to make included: the width of the wood, the sizing in general of the bed, how we would install the cane and a few aspects of framing.


Now that the daybed has been built I can definitely say that HoneyBuiltHome's method of installing the caning would have been much easier, but the the method by which we installed our cane webbing led to a nearly identical look of the CB2 daybed. So if you are not up for a challenge with installing the cane, then definitely check our HoneyBuiltHome's method of installing cane webbing.


MATERIALS

TOOLS

CUT LIST

  • (4) 2 x 2 x 30in with one 45 degree mitered edge - 4 corner posts

  • (2) 2 x 2 x 32in with 45 degree mitered edge on each end - top of the armrest

  • (3) 2 x 2 x 75in - top rail of the back, front and back rails of the bottom outer frame

  • (2) 2 x 2 x 29in - sides of the bottom outer frame

  • (1) 2 x 2 x 15.5in - back middle support

  • (3) 2 x 2 x 11.5in - 3 middle floor supports

  • (2) 3/4 x 3/4 x 27.5in - sides of bottom inner framing

  • (2) 3/4 x 3/4 x 75in - front and back of bottom inner framing

  • (1) 2 x 2 x 73.5in - middle of bottom inner framing

  • (7) 1 x 4 x 29in - bottom slats


PART 1: PREPARING WOOD FOR ASSEMBLY


1. Begin by making all of the cuts as listed in the cut list above.


2. After all of the cuts have been made you will need to make the channels where the cane will eventually be installed. There are 4 rectangular panels that make up the daybed and all of them will have cane. The channels need to all be facing the inside of the panel with each channel located in the very center of each piece of wood.


3. The easiest way to make the channels is to run each piece through the table saw twice so that the width of the channel is 1/4in wide assuming the saw blade is 1/8in thick. Another option is to use a router with a 1/4in bit to make a channel directly in the center of each piece of wood. (We made the mistake of not making the channel wide enough the first time, so we had assembled the entire frame and attempted to install then cane and it would not fit. So make sure the channel is wide enough the first time before you assemble the frame!!)



4. On all of the butt joints of the bottom outer frame we made a modified mortise and tenon joint (red arrows in photo below indicate where we used the modified mortise and tenon joint). To do this drill a 3/8in hole in the center of each piece of wood where they will join and use wood glue to secure a dowel rod with 3/8in diameter into the hole of one of the joining pieces of wood (see photos below). The dowel rod will only need to be a few inches long; just long enough to cross the joint. We used the mortise and tenon joint for structural support for the framing as it is stronger than a regular butt joint with nails.



PART 2: ASSEMBLING THE FRAMING


1. We started the assembly by building the sides of the daybed. Connect two of the corner posts using the piece cut for the side of the bottom framing. We used mortise and tenon joints here so we filled each hole with wood glue first and then joined the pieces of wood. Make sure the two posts have their mitered edges facing inwards. Use clamps to secure the joints and let sit for a few hours. We would normally want the glue to dry for 24 hours before moving the clamps, but the dowel joint kept it in place and we didn't want the project to take 5 weeks ha. The end result will look like an "H."


2. Repeat this step for the other two corner posts.



3. Next we attached the front and back pieces of the bottom outer frame to connect both sides of the daybed. We used the same mortise and tenon joint method in step 1. Another note is that we chose to have all of our dowel rods sticking out of the bottom framing pieces so they all inserted into the 4 corner posts. Clamp the front and back pieces and let them dry for a few hours. Use the level to make sure everything is even. The end result should look like the photos below.




4. Now attach the top rails of the arm rests. Both of these pieces should have mitered edges with the total length being 32in. Apply wood glue on both sides of the mitered joint and clamp in place for a few hours. Repeat on the other side.


5. While waiting for the wood glue to dry we began to wood fill all of the seams of the joints including all of the mitered edges and mortise/tenon joints so far.



6. With the bottom outer framing and sides complete we then began to work on the back middle support and the back top railing.


7. Using the same mortise and tenon joint method, attach the back middle support. Don't forget the wood glue and make sure the channels are facing inwards!



8. Before installing the top railing use the 3/8in drill bit to make a hole on the inside of each mitered joint where the top railing will be installed.



9. Then attach the top back railing and clamp into place. This step required 2 sets of hands to make sure the framing remained in place while the clamps were applied. You will see from the photo below that we had to get quite creative with our clamp situation!!



10. Congrats! With the top back railing installed the entire outer framing should be complete!


11. Time for the inner framing. The purpose of the inner framing is to serve as a ledge for the slats to rest on so that the slats are even with the outer frame. We did this because we wanted the mattress to rest on top of the framing like a platform.


12. Using wood glue and 1.25in nails attach the front and back inner frames. Nail from the inside to the outside of the bed so that there are no holes on the outside frame.


13. Repeat step 12 for the sides of the inner framing. The end result should look like the photo below.



14. Next, attach the middle piece of the inner framing using pocket holes and wood glue (see red arrows in photo below). We used 1.25in screws and our trusty Kreg Pocket Hole Jig.



15. Next install the middle support legs. The CB2 daybed only had one support right in the middle of the framing, which is what we started with, but we later decided to add two more to be safe. We used wood glue and 2in brad nails to nail the three supports to the frame from the top. We used longer nails here to add as much strength as possible.



16. With the ledge and support legs in place you can now begin installing the slats (also the final step of building the frame!!). Use wood glue and 1.25in brad nails to attach the slats to the inner framing. We nailed in the middle and outer two slats first and then eyeballed the spacing for the remaining four slats. In total there will be seven. Now, if you look closely, we actually use a scrap piece of 1x6 for the middle slat and the only reason we did this was because we ran out of 1x4 pieces and had some scrap wood leftover. We figured if we had to use one extra wide slat then we might as well put it in the middle!



PART 3: SANDING AND STAINING


1. Now that the building is complete, sand the entire frame with 150 grit sandpaper and then 220 grit. We opted to round the edges of the daybed while sanding so that there would not be any sharp corners.


2. Use the tack cloth after finishing sanding to remove any sawdust. We also used our vacuum to remove the sawdust that fell into the channels.


3. Apply wood conditioner to the entire frame using a cloth rag or stain applicator.


4. Wait at least 15 minutes for the wood conditioner to dry and then apply a single coat of white wash.


5. Quickly apply the Early American stain after the white wash so that the two blend together. Depending on how quickly you stain, you may want to have one cloth with white wash and then one with Early American to quickly follow after to ensure the white wash does not dry too much.


6. Allow the stain to dry over night.



PART 4: INSTALLING THE CANE

1. Here comes the fun...installing the cane.


2. Cut the cane about 1-1.5 inches larger than the dimensions of the opening you are about to fill. We started with the armrest first, so our cane measured about 32 x24in (the cane we ordered was 24in wide to begin with). You want to make sure there is extra cane around the edges to wedge into the channel.


3. Submerge the cane in water for at least 30 minutes. We used our bath tub.



4. First wedge the cane into the channel using whatever tool you have decided on. We used a plastic taping knife for this part.


5. After one side has been installed into the channel, use a few wedges made from scrap wood (or purchased) to hold the cane in place as you install the other 3 sides.


6. Leave a few wedges in each side one you have pushed the cane into all 4 channels.



7. Submerge the spline in water for at least 15 minutes before installing.


8. Add a small amount of glue into one channel and then immediately place the spline into that same channel. You will have to cut the spline to appropriate length ahead of time.


8. With the spline in place you will likely have to use your same tool (we used a multi-tool here) to push the spline deeper into the channel. We ended up using the flat edge of the tool to place against the spline and then hammer from the top to get the spline completely seated. The spline should eventually be about flush with the channel.



9. Once you have completed one side, continue to glue and place the spline into the next adjacent channel. Continue this process until you have finished one entire side of the daybed. Make sure you continue to pull the cane straight and slightly tight as you install.


10. Before we continued with the other three panels of our daybed, we allowed the first panel to completely dry overnight to make sure we were happy with the result. The cane does tighten considerably as it dries, so do not worry too much if your cane is not extremely tight while it is still wet.


11. The FINAL STEP!!! Once the cane has dried use a knife, scissors or snips to cut off the excess cane from the channel. This step could probably be done while the cane is still wet, but we opted to let it dry first.


plaster art, canvas art, cane daybed, moody office, fluted table

For links to all items seen in the above photos check out our Office page.


If you love the idea of incorporating cane into your home, but do not want to mess around with a DIY then here are some of my favorite cane beds/sofas/chairs that I have come across!