Rope Bed Hardware Explained


Rope beds were used from Colonial times to the mid 1800's. Beds were roped on short wooden pegs which line the head, foot, and side rails. A feather tick, the forerunner of the mattress, was laid on the roping. Rope beds were secured with bed bolts inserted through the bed post and into the bed rail. Decorative brass bed bolt covers were used to conceal bed bolts. Today these beds are adapted to use modern spring and mattresses with spring supports. Supports bolt to the inside of the bed rails to hold the spring and mattress.

Rope beds are held together by securing the bed posts to the bed rails with antique style bed bolts.

Bed bolt covers are used to conceal mortise where bed bolt head is inset. These brass covers are available in a polished or antique finish attach. Attach with a small pin at top of medallion. Bed Bolt Covers are easily swung away for periodic bed bolt tightening.

Bed bolts have a square head with an attached flange.
  • A 1" diameter x 3/4" deep hole should be drilled in the bed posts to accommodate the head of the bed bolt.
  • The remainder of the hole should be slightly larger than the 3/8" thickness of the bolt.

  • Replacing Bed Bolts
    Bed Bolt Nuts are housed in the bed rails.
  • A square mortise is cut into each end of the bed rail on the 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.
  • The bolt can now be inserted in the bed post and rail and screwed into the nut.


  • A bed bolt wrench is used to tighten bed bolts.
    Installing Bed Bolts
    Tightening Bed Bolts
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