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I'm specifically referring to the design seen here.

enter image description here

It's quite hard to view how the corners are joined together. I found a couple of other designs that are similar, it kind of looks like a butt joint and then some lag bolts to hold the horizontal boards but I cant be sure, any ideas?

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The joints in the design you referenced are actually plain lap joints held together by lag bolts or lag screws. If you wanted to get a bit fancier, you could always use half-lap joints or one of the other variations shown below. These will require a bit more work, but all but the dovetail lap shown below can still be done with just a circular saw and a chisel. The advantage of a half-lap joint is that the lags are no longer holding the weight of the assembly in shear. The wood of the column under the joint is supporting it in compression, while the bolts only hold it together.

enter image description here

(Image Source)

Either way, lap or half-lap joints are a plenty strong design, although the former lacks a little bit in aesthetics. If you're okay with the look, that will probably be the easiest method of construction, especially if you plan on disassembling it at some point (which you'll have to do if you ever plan on moving it out of the room!).

A butt joint would be if the two boards formed a T. These are used for the legs/vertical columns in the design you reference. For these, I'd use wood glue and wood screws to hold them together.

enter image description here

Wood glue will help strengthen all permanent joints. So I'd recommend gluing all subassemblies that won't need to be disassembled for transport. This will also help reduce confusion when reassembling later.

(Image Source)

  • I didnt think butt joint was correct, but looking at the picture i cant get my head around how the corners are joined at a right angle using a lap joint, its the corners that have me mystified – dyatesupnorth Jul 20 '15 at 14:30
  • I found a url of another example, instructables.com/id/Loft-Beds/step3/Build-Legs. Is that a decent way of constructing the corners, with the lap joints providing the rest of the frame? – dyatesupnorth Jul 20 '15 at 14:34
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    The joist (horizontal) portions are joined to the column (vertical) portions with full lap joints. The joist portions perpendicular to each other (bed rails vs foot/head of bed) are in a butt joint configuration, but likely aren't actually joined to each other. Instead they're joined by lag bolts to the upright columns. – Doresoom Jul 20 '15 at 14:34
  • excellent, I was thinking of using glue too. You think the design is sturdy enough then? – dyatesupnorth Jul 20 '15 at 14:41

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