Monday, July 11, 2016
Antique Bed: Never Say Never
While I was taking apart the single bed this morning, I was amused to discover something I had forgotten: the bed was "hacked."
I have a really cute century-old cast iron bed that I work-bartered to earn. When I found it, it was dusty and a little rusty and it had a couple issues that I fixed with sanding and painting and metal glue. But what I didn't notice was that there would be a serious problem with putting the bed together.
This bedframe was made back when bedsprings were just that: open metal springs.....sorta like this picture I'm borrowing from some random place online (apologies for not crediting):
The thing is that some of these spring mattresses didn't fit down into the frame the way modern mattresses do; instead they fit down over it. That is the sort of bed I had gotten.
But there was a bigger problem--the connecting rods on my bed were not round. If they were, I might have been able to turn the angle irons upside down so that slats and a modern boxspring would work fine. But the rods weren't round: they were conical (bigger at the top, smaller at the bottom). There was only one way to put the bed together. And that meant that there was no secure means of placing a modern box spring because it would simply have to sit atop the frame--the slightest push and the mattress would go flying off the frame, and there was no place to put slats or anything supportive under the box spring. Not exactly a "sleep tight" situation.
Well, I wasn't admitting defeat. I thought and thought and thought. I have no major metal-working skills, and my general repair skills are less than basic. The idea that I came up with was a totally harebrained hack--undoubtedly something no experienced person would ever do.
I went to the hardware store and chose the biggest most heavy-duty Zip Ties they had. Then I went to the lumber section and asked to have plywood cut to size to fit the bed frame. The man asked me what I wanted it for, so I told him. He laughed at me. Said it would never, ever work. I laughed, too, because it was a silly idea after all.
When I got home, I drilled holes along each side of the plywood. I placed the board on top of the angle irons. And I ran Zip Ties through the holes and around the irons, pulling them tight as I could to secure them together.
Strange though it may seem, it works! The bed has been perfectly stable and solid for more than five years now, and the mattresses sit on it just fine without skewing about. I haven't cut the ends of the Ties off because the plastic is really thick and heavy but they hide under the bedskirt so no one can see them anyway.
My mother always used to say that the only reason she could do stuff was because she didn't know that it couldn't be done. I guess I'm kinda like that, too.
But I would give folks just one piece of advice: if you've gotta take apart a cast iron bedframe with a hammer, get someone to help you out so you don't drop the frame on your toe like I did this morning.
I'm okay. Probably gonna lose the nail. Stuff happens.
And life is still really, really good.