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Murphy Bed Construction and Finishing

Murphy Bed Construction

Building Murphy beds and cabinets is more than just a job for everyone at National Casegoods.  For everyone, from our craftsmen to our office staff, it’s a way of life and it’s a desire to build things the right way.  Using state-the-art-equipment combined with age old techniques and traditions, each product is carefully and artfully constructed.

It all starts with the materials we choose.  Each piece of wood is hand selected to ensure they are consistent in surface quality, pattern, and tone.  Each piece of solid wood and each piece of hardwood plywood is optimized to ensure we generate as little waste as possible.  We don’t just do this because we are cost conscious – we are – but we do it because it is a responsible use of our vital natural resources.

We also avoid the use of such materials as particleboard, plastic laminate, melamine, and Thermofoil.  These materials have their place in certain applications.  We simply believe that we are building higher quality, more durable, more attractive furniture using real wood products.

A Murphy bed should feel solid when it’s installed and it shouldn’t rack or wobble when you bump it.  A side storage cabinet shouldn’t rack and doors and drawers should operate smoothly.  That’s why we take extra care to use the most tried and true joinery and the most advanced hardware in the furniture building industry.

State-of-the-art piston lift system makes opening and closing our Murphy beds nearly effortless and extremely fluid.  It also carries a limited lifetime warranty and is rated for 10,000 cycles.  You would have to open and close the bed every day for 27 years to hit 10,000 cycles!

We incorporate full extension, side mount, ball bearing slides into all of our cabinet drawers.  Our cabinet doors are mounted using fully-concealed, European hinges.  Thanks to our use of high quality, heavy duty Quickfit® fittings, we’ve made Murphy beds user-friendly, with simple instructions, fewer parts and an easier assembly process.

Below, you can learn more about the techniques we incorporate into the construction of our products.

Mortise & Tenon Joinery
Generally considered the best and most difficult wood joint, mortise and tenon joinery involves a tongue that is shaped on the end of a piece of wood (tenon) that fits into a slot cut into another piece of wood that is the same size and shape (mortise).  This type of joinery is used on all of our bed faces, cabinet doors, and drawer fronts.

Wood Dowel Joinery
Wood dowel joinery has been a very common method of reinforcing butt joints in furniture for centuries. They are common in both frame and carcass construction.  Dowel joints consist of short pieces of milled, wooden dowels that are glued into corresponding holes on sides of the wood to be joined.  This method is extremely popular because, in comparison to other joints, it allows for a very high glue surface area at the dowel connection.  This type of joinery is used on all of our cabinets, headers, and headboards.

Pocket Screw Joinery
Pocket screw joinery is a method of fastening a butt joint with a mechanical fastener (screw).  Pocket holes are cut into the end grain on back side of a piece of wood.  Then, screws of a calculated length are driven through these holes into the long grain side of another piece of wood.  This joint eliminates clamping and when used in conjunction with wood glue, becomes extremely strong and durable.  We also tend to use this joint in conjunction with wood dowel joinery to add extra strength to these joints.  Pocket screw joinery is used on all of our cabinets, headers, and headboards.

Dovetail Joinery
The dovetail joint is said to pre-date written history and is one of the most highly regarded joinery techniques in woodworking.  A series of “pins” cut to extend from the end of one board interlock with a series of “sockets” cut into the face of another board.  Once glued, a dovetail joint requires no other mechanical fastener.  This type of joinery is used on all of our cabinet drawer boxes.

Murphy Bed Finishing
Finishing A Murphy Bed

Our real wood Murphy beds need to be as beautiful as they are functional.  We want to help you save space, but your Murphy bed needs to complement your room’s décor and we want you to enjoy it for years to come.  We make a concerted effort to apply a finish that is handsome, durable, and environmentally sound.

The final touch that highlights the beauty of our real wood furniture is the finish.  A quality finishes requires skillful attention to many details; proper sanding of the wood to ensure consistency, hand wiping the stain to achieve the desired color and tone, and multiple applications of clear finishing coats to build the appropriate luster.
Sanding is the first step in the finishing process and each piece is sanded multiple times, with multiple variations of sandpaper, to ensure they are as consistent as possible.  Sanding smoothes the wood and prepares the grain to fully absorb the color of the chosen stain.  Each piece is also very gently hand sanded between coats of clear finish.
Our stains are chosen for their ability to enhance the natural beauty of the wood by adding to its character through color.  Once applied, the stain is carefully hand wiped to ensure each piece has a consistent color and that it meets our specification.
Several coats of clear finish are applied to give each product a soft sheen.  Once each coat dries, a very light hand sanding is done to remove any grain that may rise from the previous coats and any dust nibs that naturally settle to the surface.  The final application of finish is a conversion varnish that provides a very durable coating, with brilliant scratch and chemical resistance. All of our stains and coatings are Free of Hazardous Air Pollutants (H.A.P.S. FREE) and are low VOC formulations.  This ensures that we are compliant with all pertinent government regulations regarding emissions and we exceed the performance parameters outlined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).