For about 18 months, the mystery of the antique bed had gone unsolved. I thought of several ways to put its pieces together, but my ideas all involved drilling holes. I kept buying hardware, spending a small fortune. I knew the pieces of the bed were meant to fit together, but what was missing?
Initially, he cut the rods to a length somewhat in excess of what he thought was needed. One end of each rod had to be fitted with a hook deep enough to latch onto the rod recessed inside the wooden footboard. He bought a hook he thought was the right size but had to cut off a small piece of it so that it would pivot and catch properly.
He also measured to make sure that when the hook was embedded, the rod would fit squarely in the groove inside of the bed rail (see top picture). Hence the blue tape.
Once the rods were attached to the footboard, it was easy to attach the headboard to the rods/rails. The rod, which had been cut down to roughly an inch longer than it needed to be, was threaded through the middle hole on the leg of the headboard; the top and bottom holes were for the dowels of the rails. All that remained was to fasten the rod from the reverse side of the headboard, where the hole is recessed to hide a 1-inch washer and nut. The rod has to be screwed very tight in order to keep the bed frame from shifting or creaking.
Once the frame was assembled, it was easy to put slats across the rails and to drop in an ordinary boxspring. The bed is evidently not too old, since it is perfectly sized to hold a standard twin mattress set.
When the bed was set up, I made sure that each of its legs was resting on a loose furniture caster. I experimented with many kinds, but the best by far are the large light grey ones that look a little bit like flying saucers. They are cupped on the top to keep the legs from slipping off, but the gray surface slides easily across pile carpeting. Even with casters, not one person but two are needed to move the bed around.