An antique iron bed is a treasure for the homeowner. The heavy old iron beds generally were made in twin and full sizes. The headboards and foot boards are found in simple lines or in assemblies of ornate sculpted iron vines, curlicues and posts. An iron bed may be passed down through a family or might be a lucky find at a yard sale or auction house. But it won't come with assembly instructions. Luckily, the assembly of most old iron beds is less complicated than that of the metal bed frames you can purchase today.
Look through the iron bed pieces. You should have a headboard, a foot board, two side panels and an insert frame with metal coils and flat bed springs.
Set the headboard piece up against a wall. Ask another person to assist you if the bed is very heavy. Bring the side rails over to the headboard. The rail should be positioned with the near L-shape of the piece set at the outer side and bottom. Notice that there is a metal knob on the end of the rail.
Look for a slot in the iron leg of the headboard. Slide the metal knob of the railing into the slot. Make sure that the railing is in the proper position, with the open area of the "L" pointed toward the interior of the bed. Tap the knob into the slot with a hammer or rubber mallet, being careful not to chip the paint. Slide the second railing into the headboard piece as you did the first.
Set the foot board piece against the free ends of the rails. Have another person hold the foot board in place while you lift the rail and set the knob into the slot on the foot board. Tap it in place with the hammer or mallet. Repeat with the second railing to complete the outer frame of the bed.
Lift the interior spring frame of the bed with the assistance of a second person. Lift it over the railings and set it down with its side edges in the L-shape areas to seat it in place. Top the iron bed foundation with a mattress.