I really love the way it turned out. Its exactly as I had hoped it would.
The building process didn't take too long. Be sure and measure your mattress because we ended up making ours slightly more narrow.
This is the point I realized that my rubber pad on the bottom of the sander was worn down and was damaging the wood. I ordered a replacement but didn't want to wait and decided to buy another sander.
After nail holes were filled and the entire piece sanded we applied a conditioner to it.
Left: first coat
Right: second coat (still wet)
The first coat of stain was applied and we began to worry. It looked awful. Not at all the look we were after. We just left it like that for a couple days as we were busy with other things.
Our first coat was done with Minwax Dark walnut liquid stain
The second coat we used Minwax walnut in gel stain.
We had both of these from previous projects.
The gel stain is nice because it really coats evenly, even when the denser parts of the wood was not taking to the liquid stain. We're sold on this stuff.
After that we applied one coat of polyurethane and sanded with 400 grit sand paper. After that we applied a second coat. It is so smooth we didn't feel it needed a light sand.
My husband came up with this way for the box spring mattresses to sit on. These brackets for the 2x4's were found at Home Depot for 73cents each. I'm sure any hardware store would carry them. Because we have no idea how many more times we will be moving we needed this bed to be easy to disassemble. We found the hardware for the rails to attach to the headboard and footboard here. They work like a charm.