This, how to install bed bolts, is an informative guide detailing tips and techniques for restoring antique beds. Rope beds are Colonial style beds dating back to the 1700's, yet remaining popular through the 19th century. This style bed was held together with long threaded bolts. Head rail, foot rail and side rails had short pegs placed in an orderly fashion every 4"-8". A hemp rope was woven back and forth around the pegs to create a mesh-like mat. This process is referred to as "roping a bed". Once roping was secured and tightened, a feather tick, the forerunner of the mattress, was laid on top. Today these beds are used with standard spring and mattresses. The spring and mattresses are supported with 3-1/2" spring supports or longer 7" spring supports.
Securing the Bed - How to install bed bolts
Rope beds are held together with bed bolts. These threaded steel bolts are inserted through the bed-post and screwed into a nut in the bed-rail. When replacing old bed bolts: it is often necessary to replace bolt and nut as replacement bed bolt may be a different thread size than old nut.
Square head bed bolts have an attached flange. Choose length according to combined depth of slot in bed frame and bed rail. Available as 6" bed bolts and 7" bed bolts, to fit various rails.
Head of the Paxton Hardware bed bolt requires a 1" diameter x 3/4" deep hole .
Hole to accommodate remainder of bed bolt should be slightly larger than the 3/8" thickness of the bolt.
Length of bed bolt is determined by distance between head channel in bed post and nut location.
Bed Bolt Nuts
To install bed bolts most often requires replacing nuts in wood bed rails. Most old nuts are odd sizes and will not screw onto the 3/8-16 bolt thread. To replace this nut, in the side rails, it is necessary to remove wood plug on inside of bed rail.
A square mortise, is cut into each end of bed rail, on interior side.
Nuts are positioned into the square hole which holds them in place and eliminates turning. The hole is then stopped with a wood plug to conceal the nut.
Bolt can now be inserted, through bed post into rail where it is screwed into the nut.
Bed bolt covers
Decorative bed bolt covers provide a finished appearance to beds. Used to conceal bed bolts, these solid brass covers attach with a single pin enabling cover to easily swing out of the way when tightening or removing bed bolt. Brass covers are available in polished and antique finishes.