Making Cross Bars For Your French Antique Bed

One of our frequently asked questions is how to create a structure for a base on a French antique bed.

We will be putting together a series of blogs to show different brackets on different styles of French antique beds and how to make and change brackets in order for the bed to take a base.

It often looks a daunting task when you excitedly take delivery of your new French antique bed, but it is unexpectedly minus the cross bars and a working base, but help is at hand..

Even if you have your cross bars, we tend to find that many are  fragile from years of woodworm and it is often wise to replace them with something more stable.

The photos below show new cross bars being made for a U-shaped metal bracket on an upholstered French Capitone bed which is 140 cm wide (4 ft 7″) by 190 cm (6 ft 3″) in length.

Making Cross Bars For Your French Bed


1.  Decide if you will make 2 or 3 cross bars, then measure the width of your bed and buy an appropriate length of wood, measuring 7 cm x 2 cm.

  • Some builders merchants will cut the wood to size for you if you measure the width you need exactly.

2. Shows a U-shaped metal bracket usually on these beds.

3 & 4. Make a template using paper, cut it out and mark your wood.

5. Cut your wood to match the template. Fit the cross bar.

6. Check your template will fit the other bracket. With one end of the cross bar fitted, mark your wood and cut it to match the template.

7. Fit your new cross bar.

8. Repeat this process so you have one cross bar by the headboard and one by the footboard.

Once you have made the cross bars then we recommend you add a ‘foot’ in the centre of the cross bars to add additional support.

Making A Central Support

1. Buy an appropriate length of wood, measuring 4.5 cm x 4.5 cm.

2 & 3. Measure where you need to cut the wood. There should be a gap of bewteen 0.5 and 1 cm below the cross bar. This allows the cross bar to bow down and take the weight of the base, mattress and you, without stressing the wood.

4. Cut and check your central support sits just below the cross bar.

5 & 6. Screw the central support in place.

7. If you screw it tight to the cross bar it will lift off the ground with your 0.5 cm – 1 cm gap.

8. Your finished cross bars with central supports.

We have used 2 cross bars, our bed fits together tightly and we are happy that it is structurally sound to now take a base.

Once you have added your two cross bars you need to decide if a third is needed and whether or not any further work needs to be undertaken to make your bed sound before you add a base. Once you are happy, your bed is ready to use a base.

We recommend our ‘Adjustable Bed Base’ and if you click here you can see it featured on this bed.


By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.