A client recently asked me to design a platform bed for him. Beds are always a challenge; because of the large size, they must always disassemble for transport and delivery yet be rock solid when set up. The large miter on the corner of the platform presented a particular problem. The long joint needed to pull tight and stay aligned, and miters tend to slide. I turned to my experience in home construction for the perfect solution: countertop connectors.
Countertop fasteners are designed to pull the large miter in the corner of a laminate kitchen countertop together, and come in many shapes, sizes and designs. I prefer the FlipBolt, made by Fastcap, which has an adjustable length and a simple compression handle which is simple to operate and holds super tight. While the fastener is a simple mechanism, it relies on a slot cut with a router and a jig plate.
First, I needed to align the top faces and the corners perfectly. I turned to my Festool Domino and mortised two slots along the 12-inch long miter of the platform. The platform is 2 inches thick, so I positioned the center of the mortise at the half. Certainly a traditional spline, dowels or even a biscuit joint would work in this case. While the majority of this joint occurs on the bottom of the bed, I used the top of the platform as the datum for my Domino fence when cutting this mortise to ensure the most important surfaces are co-planar.
On the bottom of the platform, I marked the position of the fastener slots, taking care to avoid the position of the mortised Dominos embedded within. The jig comes with a number of options for position and length, and I confirmed the correct length before marking with a pencil.
I plan to use a pattern bit in my palm router to make the final cuts with the jig, however, I don’t have a plunge base for my model, so I hogged out most of the waste with smaller Forstner bits. I used tape to set the depth according to the length of the router bit I plan to use.
I drilled out the corners and parts of the long slot first with a Forstner bit sized to fit the corners. I switched to a bigger bit to for the center. This process makes the project both quicker AND safer. I finished this step by vacuuming out the waste.
Now that I have bored out as much waste as I can, I screw the template down (remember, it is the underside of the bed!) so it doesn’t shift while trimming the slots. Because the depth of the router bit is set to full depth, I hold the palm router firmly, move slowly and take light passes.
With a firm push of my thumb, the fasteners snap down tight. The length needs to be fine tuned, but this will be really nice when installing the project too; I don’t need any special wrenches or drivers to think about.
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FastCap Flip Bolt Countertop Connector, $1.00
FastCap www.fastcap.com (888) 443-3748