Simple Type of Indian Home Cot


ONE of our Indian readers sends us particulars for the making of a simple home cot, which we think will be of general interest.

The cot consists of a skeleton framework supported by four legs, the overall height being 18 ins. The length of the cot is 5 ft. 6 ins., the width 3 ft. 6 ins. The mattress is made by weaving a good strong tape mesh as suggested in the top right corner of the plan drawing. The method of jointing the side and end rails of the cot to the legs is somewhat unusual and, if the maker is not familiar with the joint, he is advised to make a rough model of one corner before proceeding with his work. Fig. 1 shows a plan of the cot as seen from above. Fig. 2 is the front elevation, showing on the right a turned leg as suggested by our Indian contributor, whilst on the left we show a square tapered leg having a foot which is suitable for those makers who have no lathe. The wood used for construction of the article is generally teakwood, but there is no reason why such wood as ash, beech or birch should not be used. Fig. 3 gives an end elevation.

The following is a list of the wood required: Four legs, 1 ft. 7 ins. by 3 ins. by 3 ins.; two long bars, 5 ft. 7 ins by 3 ins. by 1-1/2 ins. and two end bars 3 ft. 7 ins. by 3-1/2 ins. by 1-1/2 ins. An arch has been allowed in the length of the bars, but they should finish in width and thickness to the sizes given.

At Fig. 4 we show a sketch of the cross and end bar mortised into the leg, and it will be seen that a turned hardwood peg fits into a suitably provided hole and locks the tenons, which are dry jointed (not glued) in position.

The head of this turned peg forms an ornament or finish at the top of the leg and it should of course fit tightly in position so as to prevent the youngster from pulling it out. Fig. 5 gives a sketch of the end and cross bars in their relative positions when they are apart from the leg. At Fig. 6 is given a sketch of the end bar and cross bar when the cot is fixed in position, but in this illustration the leg is purposely left out of the drawing for a clear representation. Fig. 7 shows the joints of the leg portion when the part of the leg above the line (A, Fig. 4) is sawn off. The hardwood peg is shown at Fig. 8. The above methods of illustrating the joint have been chosen because the interlacing of so many dotted lines in the ordinary sketch makes it next to impossible for a worker who is not familiar with the joint to follow an ordinary drawing.

If beech, birch or ash is used it may be stained either mahogany or walnut colour, after which it may be given a coat of brush polish and when this is hard the work may be wax polished. If the cot is made in teak wood it may be finished as above, but without staining.

We are indebted to Mr. S. V. Ramesad, of Beswada, India, for the above particulars. (600)

— from The Woodworker magazine, May 1925

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10 Responses to Simple Type of Indian Home Cot

  1. This looks pretty awesome. Love the elegant joinery, and I’m getting into chair seat weaving. Going on my bucket list.

  2. Glenn Ingram says:

    Why is it so short in length? I know Indian people tend to be a little shorter than Americans on average but not that much shorter? Is it typically used for a child’s bed?

  3. toolnut says:

    I couldn’t figure out how it went together until I realized the joint fit in fig. 7 will line up with the pieces in fig. 5, if fig. 7 is rotated 1/4 turn counter clockwise.

  4. toolnut: I assume you meant counter-clockwise?

  5. toolnut says:

    I don’t know what I mean anymore. My personnel editor called Auto Correct ( or is it Auto-Correct) has been having its way with my keyboard for quite some time now and I just give in to its whims (unless they are really weird).

  6. tomwiarda says:

    I lived in India with the Peace Corps in the early 1970’s and have slept on many of these beds. They are usually strung with rope instead of webbing. Quite comfortable unless the rope stretches and sags. The bed is called a Charpoy.

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