The Bed Workshop

Bespoke handmade bedsteads in the heart of Bristol

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Solid Walnut & Cherry Lit Bateau Beds


We spent a couple of years waiting to find the best example of an 1840's original lit bateau to scale up as the model for our beds. All the detailing, profiles and moldings are taken from this original.  
The timber is locally sourced from ancient managed woodlands (Foret de Teillay, Gavre etc) and kiln or air dried. The waste from a run of ten beds heats their house for about a month in winter (there is no waste in the country!).
It takes about 4 days to make each bed even when making 10-15 in a batch.
Every piece of every molding, sabot foot etc is measured and cut to size individually. Even the final sanding takes about a day.
They are sent back to Bristol in the van with the antique furniture to be finished as per the clients instructions.
They are then stained before an initial three coats of finishing oil with light sanding between coats. The fourth coat is a final oil and wax polish.
It takes the best part of a week depending on weather. Everything is done by hand (spray guns are the devils' calling card!). This is how they were finished originally. The oil and wax continues to penetrate the timber, turning cherry especially more opaque ('3D') and allowing colour maturation with time. Commercially produced furniture is sprayed with an acid catalyzed plastic varnish which prevents colour change and scratches; its just quick to do and makes shipping from Malaysia easier!
We've been making beds now for over 25 year. We believe that these lit bateau are the best that can be made in terms of conformity to originals, ethical production and quality of manufacture and finishing. They will survive the client by centuries and improve with age. We hope your great grandchildren will appreciate the effort that went into making them.
Bed shown is a 6' walnut in antique stain.