Wish I had a $ for every time a customer said ” the rails for my iron bed are upside down….”. But then we’re use to the modern bed frames that the box spring sets inside. Back in the 1800′s when these old iron beds were being made, each small independently owned foundry,would make rails to specifically fit the “hitches” that were poured around the head and footboard. There were no bolts or nuts to secure the siderails were ever used on iron beds back then. They dropped in and self-tightened, because of the tapered shape at the end of the rail. The confusing thing to people today is why would one company make their rails in a “Flat Top” manner and another would make them in an “L” shaped fashion. There’s really no rhyme or reason for it other than some of the iron bed spring units that were being made back then were configured to drop inside the siderails and others sat on top and clipped on to the side rail. But rest assured……..the siderails on your iron bed can only go one way, because of the tapered end on the siderail.
So how do you put the wooden 2″ x 4″ bed slat supports on a bed with Flat Top rails? Actually it’s quite simple. Get a drill with a 3/8″ drill bit. Drill a hole in the top of the flat top side rail, about 5 to 7 inches from the headboard, then the same for the footboard. Then drill one in the absolute middle of the side rail. Try and drill your holes as close to the inside edge of the rail as possible. Now you’ll need to cut three wooden 2″ x 4″s that should go the width of your bed and fit snugly under the iron side rail. Take a pencil and position the wooden 2″ x 4″ under the hole you’ve just drilled. Put a mark through the hole on the wooden 2″ x 4″ and then drill a hole to corespond with the hole in the siderails. Buy six 2″, long 1/4 X 20 flat pan head bolts with washers and nuts to match. Do this on all three, you can do four if you’d like, and then bolt them in place under the Flat Top side rail. For additional support on your iron bed, we suggest that the middle 2″ x 4″ bed slat has two short pieces nailed under it, that extend down to the ground, The the bulk of the weight will then be handled by the 2″ x 4″……not the side rail or bed frame. Here is a photo of the 2″x 4″s with “L” shaped rails. I’ll post another photo with “Flat Top” rails in the next few days.