Our bed has a piece that's at most 1 inch by 1 inch by about 6 inches. It's permanently screwed to the headboard and then the side rail gets screwed into it.

On one side it's cracked. I want to pick a wood that will resist cracking. I will predrill first of course. Something available at a big box store.

Suggestions, or am I trying to over think this?

  • In place where I live, thoigh in a sizeable city, I couldn't get anything except for pine or spruce (or other 'soft' wood species sold as fire wood). If I would need anything harder (preferably an oak or similiar) I just try a sawmill of some sort. Jul 24, 2015 at 12:33
  • Thanks, I know they have oak, maple and poplar. I'll get a piece of oak.
    – user20127
    Jul 24, 2015 at 13:29
  • @user20127 When something breaks, I think about if there is an underlying cause. In your case, it could be innocuous like it's just old or just a bad piece of wood. Or, it could be a weakness in the design. Have you thought about reinforcing it with hidden metal? Jul 24, 2015 at 14:19
  • @user20127 Also, if your bed squeaks or creaks, put beeswax between the joints while you have it apart. Jul 24, 2015 at 14:20
  • Thanks all. I believe the piece split when putting the bed back together years ago. Regardless, HD had bunch of Oak that was 1 inch (really 3/4) thick. I ended up with a 1.5x1.5x36 piece and ripped it on the table saw. Predrilled all 7 screws that go into it and so far so good, it's all put back together. Thanks!
    – user20127
    Jul 24, 2015 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


For strength, hardwood is far preferable to softwood. Most big box stores have pieces of oak, often in the stair parts section. If nothing else is available, poplar would be preferable to softwood such as pine, fir or spruce.

You are right that you need to predrill to avoid splits.

  • Thanks, I know they have oak, maple and poplar. I'll get a piece of oak.
    – user20127
    Jul 24, 2015 at 13:29
  • 1
    Maple would be fine too. Poplar would work, but it is a little softer than the other two. Also, consider gluing as well as screwing. A much stronger joint.
    – bib
    Jul 24, 2015 at 14:16

For general hardness and strength, I would choose a hardwood.

To resist cracking, I would choose a diffuse porous wood, and avoid grain runout (wood fibers should be approximately parallel to the sides)

Maple would be ideal. Cherry or birch would be good too.

Ring porous woods like oak, ash, or hickory are more prone to crack. These woods are deliberately chosen for basketweaving because they split easily. However, they should be fine if they are they are thick enough, or have few enough holes.

Softwoods are the weakest choice for a small structural piece, as the screw holes can wear out. Still, it's OK if the size of the wood/screws is appropriate.

One more note: Avoid cross grain gluing to avoid cracking the headboard. In other words, you can glue the new piece to the vertical post since the grain of the two pieces is parallel. But if you glue it to the headboard, it will try to prevent the headboard from shrinking in the drier months, and the headboard could crack.

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