If you're assembling a bed, there's little leeway in the type of hardware you use to affix rails to the headboard and footboard. As rails are milled, they're designed to attach with a single type of hardware. Carpenters who are building a new bed have a few options in addition to traditional bedrail hangers to affix their rails.
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Bolts and T-Nuts
Sinking a T-nut into the inner legs of a headboard and footboard provides an easy and more secure, solution than attaching rails with snap-on hanging hardware. Sink the T-nut into the interior portion of the headboard's leg, and drill deep enough to secure the rails without marring the finish on the exterior. Drill holes through the rail, and screw a bolt and washer through the hole to fasten the rail assembly.
More high-end furniture manufacturers, such as Drexel and Broyhill, use a system that employs rounded nuts placed into a hollow in the headboard or footboard's legs. Begin by using a drill press and a 1.5-inch flat-nosed bit to create the hollow for the attachment point; perpendicular to that hole, drill a 1/4-inch hole for the bolt to reach the nut. Thread the bolt through the rail, into the smaller hole and into the larger hole; a rounded-edge nut nestles inside the larger hole while the bolt is tightened from the rail side to affix the rail.
Mortise and Tenon Joints
Expert woodworkers can craft bedrail attachments using mortise and tenon joints. Using a mortise cutter, cut a mortise in the headboard or footboard, and craft a tenon most of the length of the rail. Secure the joint with wood screws set perpendicular to the tenon or by using dowels driven through a hole on the mortised piece into the tenon.
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