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Bed Bolts for Rope Beds

Installing bed bolts in antique wood beds

Secure that Rope Bed so it stays connected!

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 which are held in place with 3-1/2" spring supports or longer 7" spring supports.

 

Securing the Bed

Install bed bolts thru bed frame into bed rails

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.  

Bed bolts

Square head bed bolts, with an attached flange, are available in 6" length and 7" length 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.
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    Bed Bolt Nuts

    Inserting Nut in Bed Rail

    When replacing bed bolts, it is often necessary to replace the nuts which are housed in the bed rails. When restoring antique beds, it is often necessary to remove plug in side rail, replace nut and re-plug hole. 

  • 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.
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    Bed bolt covers

    Assembling Rope Beds

    Decorative brass 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.  


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