Hook Rails For Headboard and Footboard Missing or Broken?

The best repair for this type of situation is a good ounce of prevention…

which we will discuss in a moment, but the truth is many beds never have enough support to begin with and especially when larger people are using them.  Cracking, breaking, or splitting out are common failure in wood rails with down hooks. These down hooks slide down into vertical slots where horizontal receiving pins are located within both the footboard and headboard.  The failure comes when too much weight is applied to the side rails.  Another possible failure can be where the receiving pins in the headboard or footboard  are not encapsulated by enough wood and fail, in either case repair is usually not an option.Hook Rails For Head board and Foot board Broken or Missing?

How to prevent wood rails from cracking or splitting

The way to prevent such an issue is with supports like the ones offered from Glideaway MFG. If the wood side rails are new or still in good condition we use their BB8 steel cross supports they utilize heavy angle iron and have multiple adjustable legs in king or queen sizes. With enough feet and proper installation such a support is strong enough to hold even a soft sided waterbed one of the heaviest beds sold. For everyday use under average weight couples and lighter weight loads we recommend their G-FORCE support system which utilizes less steel and fewer feet. Both systems span the width of wood rails and lay where wood slats typically go. They screw firmly into place and help take load weight off of the down hooks and tranfer it to the floor safely and effectively.

What if my wood side rails have been lost or cannot be fixed?

It happens to the best of us and yes they do get lost especially in the case of moving companies. In the case of queen size beds we replace the wood rails with Glideaways all steel frame system.  They call it their 62CS hook rails with an adjustable center support. It literally replaces the need for wood rails which are often covered by bedding and bed skirts anyway. Steel side rails and universal down hooks replace the wooden sides. The strong center support bar with adjustable feet keeps wide boxsprings supported properly and meets all warranty requirements.

For twin and full size models we use Glideaways number one for beds that have a headboard and footboard. These use the same rolled steel frame as the queen previously mentioned but not center supporting legs. Instead it utilizes a connecting wire that keeps the rails from spreading and looking like an old whiskey barrel.

If you choose to not use specialty frames as mentioned above and instead use wood slats this can be done. However we recommend that you utilize wooden board cut a minimum of 1”x 4”. In addition add at least a vertical center support from the center of each slat going down to the floor, this will act as a leg and offer strength that will keep the box spring from sagging. Repeat on each of the 5 slats.

Can the wood side rails be repaired?

Repairing solid wood or laminated side rails can be a hit or a miss undertaking and it is one that we do not recommend attempting. Have this done by a professional. We have seen people glue or scab the broken / cracked area only to have it fail or fall and do more damage to the bed.


Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds - a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won't find the brand names here - just call and ask us why!

43 Comments Leave your comment »

I have a head board that is missing the two metal rods that the rails hook onto. Is their a way to repair this?

Comment by Angie — December 16, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

Angie, I am assuming you are talking about the 2 horizontal hook pin that are situated in the vertical slots of your headboard? These are where the down hooks of the side rails hook into. If these are missing you very well could have real problems. I personally do not know anyone who can repair this issue. You may have to do an Internet search to resolve your issue. Perhaps someone local who does furniture repair and refinishing. Hope this helps.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — December 18, 2012 @ 8:03 am

I am reinstalling the siderails to the head and foot boards. The right side is a half inch higher than the left. I have reversed the rails and have the same situation. Any suggestions?

Comment by Tom — May 22, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

I will assume that you are using the same rails that were being used when you took it apart. Unless it was uneven from the start my experience has been that the connection where the right side is a half inch higher than the left even after reversing the rails and having the same situation, that down hook is not tight and not fully engaged. A sign that would assure this is that when taking the frame apart this same connection would have been tight and hard to unhook. The fix in this case is to use a rubber mallet and force the down hooks to engage over the pins inside the slot of the bed leg. ½ to 1 inch is common to be out of alignment. Hit it hard enough to force the force the connection. If your side rails are not steel and made out of wood perhaps some old rags or towels folded over will help protect the wood from damage because of hammering with the mallet. Hope this assists Doug Belleville

Comment by Douglas Belleville — May 22, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

Is there a place in San Angelo that might sale metal hook rails like a second hand store ?

Comment by Vanessa — August 30, 2013 @ 8:08 am

I am sorry I am not familiar with the Sn Angelo area. We are based out of St. Louis MO. and we do distribute anywhere in the continuous 48 states. Please contact us if we may be of service.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — August 31, 2013 @ 10:04 am

I recently bought a new box springs and mattress. When it was delivered I realized it was 9″ taller than the previous set, making it difficult to get in and out of bed. The bed is queen sized with a nice wooden head and foot board with wooden rails that hook-in. Is there something I can buy like a bracket with hook-in and a lower receiver of the hook-ins from the rails?

Comment by Scott Gilbert — December 16, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

Scott, It would take a little more than a conversion bracket set. You would need to eliminate your wooden side rail and then get a replacement low profile steel bed frame like our DRQ60. This would lower the set 3 1/2 inches. If you still need to go lower picking up a low profile boxspring can lower it another 4-5 inches.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — December 23, 2013 @ 7:52 am

I am looking for the S hooks that are bolted into the side rails …they were missing when I purchased a used bed. It has two bolt holes in the rails. Are the “hooks” a standard size? if so, where can I purchase these? Thanks in advance,

Comment by tim Williams — February 14, 2014 @ 8:14 pm

Tim, I am sorry to say that hook ins are not all the same. I would make sure to get a template of the hook in plate. Then assure it matches up to what you have. Without a template to match up to it would only be a luck to determine if what you are buying would fit and engage properly.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — February 17, 2014 @ 7:29 am

Is there a certain type of bracket or brace can I use to reinforce the side rail when it has split and the hook/pins have come loose? The rail itself has been repaired and glued to put the hooks/pins back in place, but I would like to go ahead and have some type of metal reinforcement around the entire rail for good measure.

Comment by Allison — March 1, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

Hi Allison, To the best of my knowledge the answer is no. Usually people would either purchase a new set of wood rails from the manufacturer of the the bed if still available, have a new set made, or buy steel replacement and do away with the wood. Scabbing the old ones is very likely not going to be very good looking or safe. Hope this helps Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — March 2, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

In the process of moving my bed the bed frame had four long metal parts where are used to hook onto the headboard and foot board to make it be complete. Well i lost one of those metal black pieces and now i have no way in connecting my headboard to the bed frame and the foot board to the bed frame. What can I do to fix this problem?

Comment by Judy Gutierrez — March 11, 2014 @ 3:05 pm

I wish I had a dime for every time a frame or part of a frame was lost during a move. I would be $$$$$. To replace you would need the bed frame’s model numbers and specific manufacturer’s name which is located on the purchase receipt. Color is rarely an identifying factor. Those who sell the replacement part(s) will need that detailed information to get the exact replacement part. Anything else is a gamble and is likely “not” to work or fit since most are built and patented to the manufacturer’s unique engineered design. The cost of having a fabricator make the replacement part is most likely going to cost more than the price of a brand new complete frame. Sorry for the bad news. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — March 12, 2014 @ 7:31 am


One of the hooks that connect the side rail to the headboard has fallen out of the side rail. The side rail is not cracked. There are two metal bolts without threads, that are encased in the wood which hold the hooks in place. I can’t figure out how to put the hook back on, since the side rail is not cracked and there is no way to remove the bolts. Any suggestions or solutions? I can’t figure out how the hook fell off in the first place. Please help.

Comment by Cheryl Robinson — April 10, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

I was at a furniture sale. I did see that there was this gorgeous antique style king bed frame. Problem is it was on sale because the railing was missing. Is there away that I could have the railing built and added on? It’s pretty heavy. And the railing are originally wooden and spray painted to make it have an old look to it. When I looked at the original displayed floor model there were metal pieces at the corner. I figured it’s what held up the corner of the box springs. Also, I was told by the sales person that two twin box springs would be needed. How can that be builded if possible as well as the railings?

Comment by Ny — April 13, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

Hi Doug, I have an old sleigh bed that I bought 20 years ago from Thomasville. I still love this bed so much but the headboard part where the hook for the side rail goes into cracked. A friend had put more screws to temporarily hold it, but I would like to know if there is a way to put new wood onto that part with the same hook holes? I hope I am explaining this clearly enough. interestingly enough it did not happen to the foot board so I can always switch the head/foot board and put the broken part either end. is there such a way to fix that piece?

Comment by Betty Kempt — May 3, 2014 @ 10:50 am

Hi – I was moving my bed and I twisted it causing the rail to pull off of the vertical post of the headboard bringing the horizontal pins with it. I’m thinking I could repair it with some good glue because there’s a large surface where the rail pulled off of the main vertical post. This is a kind of a gross analogy but think about pulling a scab off your skin. That is how the rail pulled the piece of wood from the vertical post. Do you have any thoughts about repairing something like this? I assume I would need to clamp or strap the repair for a while until the glue dried. What could I use that wouldn’t stick to the vertical post itself in the event there is some glue seepage. Thanks!

Comment by Melanie — May 6, 2014 @ 12:46 am

Melanie, You have asked this man a question who doesn’t know much about wood repair, however what I do know is that the break you have in your headboard is a serious one and a crucial support point that will hold a minimum of 25 percent of the overall bed weight. You may want to consult a furniture repair/ refinishing company in your area for professional repair advice.The key is to reduce pressure on these connection points. The reason these points often fail is lack of center support with feet. Using such support is a proactive approach that prevents the very problem you are experiencing. This link should be helpful to you and others that can learn from this unfortunate problem. Click Here

Comment by Douglas Belleville — May 10, 2014 @ 3:24 pm

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply. I appreciate your thoughts. It hadn’t occurred to me that a midpoint support would be useful but that makes sense. Thanks again.

Comment by Melanie — May 11, 2014 @ 9:32 am

Hi Betty, In all seriousness I couldn’t make that call without seeing it. I would recommend a furniture repair or refinishing company in your area. Most are very professional and should be able to get you in the right direction of whether it is repairable. Good luck Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — May 12, 2014 @ 7:54 pm

Hey, Well we moved the 50’s wagon wheel bunkbeds and, in attempting to set them up, I find something must be missing. The head/footboards have standard 2″ on center pins inside the slots. These beds are equipped with flatsprings. These springs have brackets with a 3″ x 1/2″ verticle slot. Both the head/footboard slots and the flat spring bracket slots are 39″ on center apart, so they need to meet up straight on. I am wondering if there were boards with hooks that went through the flat spring bracket slots, or metal side rails with hooks? Oh, help, please!


Comment by Marilyn Rae — May 14, 2014 @ 6:55 pm

Hi Marilyn, It would be best to contact me directly on this one. Perhaps sending some photos of the bed bed etc. At this time we do not sell replacement wood rails and I am pretty certain our replacement steel rails will not work for this particular application. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — May 20, 2014 @ 7:15 am

have a queen size headboard and footboard that require the hook style bed rails. problem is that the hooks do not reach the pins, have tried several rails. do you have an online catalog of hook style bed rails i could look at and possibly buy and have shipped?

Comment by Rene Carrasco — May 27, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

If you have not tried one of our frames we offer a tool that can help you find the correct fitting frame. It is called our “Frame Finder” Simply Click on the appropriate button after answering the question. Be sure to print off the down hook template once you have located the right frame. If the template fits the frame will fit. If it does not we do not offer other types of down hooks to select from. Great question Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — June 2, 2014 @ 7:57 am

Hi, I have a babi italia lifestyle eastside crib that I am looking to convert to a full size bed, but they stop making the bed rails that convert it. Can I use universal hook on bed rails or are they all different sizes. My sister has 20 year old bunk beds that where in a spare room that she is looking to get rid of, that are hook ons, will they fit. And the bunks are twin size will it work on full size.

thank you

Comment by Athena — June 16, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

Athena, I doubt the bunk bed rails will work. It might be worth a shot to try. No all hook bed rails are not the same. If you look on our frames page and take not of our Twin Full Hook In Rails you will find a template that you can print of to check and be sure of a proper fit.There is also a version called the DRTF3 that will fit twin or full beds and lower the mattress set 3 1/2 inches. Contact me with any questions you might have. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — June 24, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

We are considering cutting the bottom off our headboard to make it shorter to fit under a window. The headboard has slots that would need to be remade higher in the legs. How would I do that? The rails have hooks.

Comment by Susan — July 27, 2014 @ 2:49 pm

I just bought an old cast iron metal hospital head and foot board. the bed came with no side railings
I thought the ones I had would work but they don’t. the bed frame had big metal buttons that hold the railings.
what type of railings will work for this type of set up.

Comment by Cheryl — July 27, 2014 @ 11:16 pm

Hi Cheryl, the types of rails we are talking about are for residential beds. Hospital beds do not use headboards and footboards due to their need to be extremely mobile for medical hospital usage. Residential adjustable beds usually will accommodate a connection of one or both pieces you ask about. In this case know brand, model, etc is extremely important. I am not aware of universal head/ head and foot brackets that fit residential adjustable beds. Perhaps one of our readers has dealt with this issue and can hop in and make a suggestion. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — July 31, 2014 @ 8:22 am

Susan, It you have to ask I have to assume that you 1 like me you don’t have the mechanical knowledge to take on this project. 2 the proper tools and machinery. I can only suggest two things, this is not my area of expertise. Contact a furniture re-finisher / restorer. If it were me I would purchase a free standing bolt up frame with bolt on headboard connection plates and then drill holes through the legs, finally using bolts and nuts fasten the two together. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — July 31, 2014 @ 8:28 am

I brought a used bed and the rail that connects the headboard and footboard isn’t the one’s that actually snap directly into shots. They are L shaped and the hooks are bent in. The footboard and headboard both have two holes on each side note like arts suppose to have some type of screw. Never seen this before

Comment by Pam — September 1, 2014 @ 12:57 am

Hi Pam, I am sorry your description is not ringing any bells with me. Please contact me at the toll free number at the top of the page. I will have you text or email me photos of what you are trying to describe. We’ll get it figured out. Talk soon Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — September 2, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

I have a queen size hook style bed frame. Both the headboard and foot board are wooden but the frame is metal. Anyway, the hook to area on one side of the foot board started cracking, loosening, and now finally, the hooking adapter part is now, for lack of better terminology, has stripped. Ever since this started we have been pretty much band aiding it as much as possible. Now we are at the point where the only way to keep the frame hooked to the foot board is by, sadly enough, duct tape and rope! Well now the head board is starting to do the same. Obviously smtg has to be done to actually fix the issues but honestly I have never like neither the head or foot board. It’s at least 12 years old and even before these problems started it has annoyed me to no end with its squeaks, shifting kind of feeling, the mattress only wants to fit crooked, etc.My question is can the head/foot be removed but still be able to use the frame even though without the head/foot, it’s just an H shape with no fame lip at either end to hold the box springs?

Comment by amanda — September 3, 2014 @ 4:10 am

Hi Amanda, This is a great question. Bed frames with hook in attachments are nearly always NOT self supporting frames. In other words they would not be able to stand without the connection to a headboard and footboard. Very good question Amanda. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — September 4, 2014 @ 7:49 am

Hello, My mom had this wooden head and footboard where the frame is one piece with hooks to hook into the head board and footboard. It broke and I cannot find another one. Do you know what I am explaining and where can I get one. Please e-mail me asap.

Comment by Becky Mofield — September 6, 2014 @ 11:56 pm

Becky, this is most definitely something we can help you mom with, you can either call us at the toll free number at the top of the page or you can use our “Frame Finder” to help you get the right one. located here

Comment by Douglas Belleville — September 7, 2014 @ 7:56 am

I have broken the side railing on a new sleigh bed.
I’ve always had bad luck with beds. I was wondering, If I put an extra board on the lip on the side railing, will the lip fall off?
How would I go about this?

Comment by Hannah Miller — November 20, 2014 @ 8:40 pm

Hi Hanna, In most cases replacement steel rails will NOT work on a sleigh bed. The key with these beds is prevention. What is needed in most cases is to lessen the load on not only the 2 wooden lips fastened to the side rails but also reduce the pressure on the four connecting points located where the rails meet the headboard and foot board. This can be done with our BB series of center supports it is important to select the correct one by measuring the height from the top of the wood lip down to the floor. Then select the center support system that falls within that height range. This should should most problems. Doug.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — November 21, 2014 @ 8:51 am

I was recently given my grandmothers’s 4 post bed, which I love; however, one side of the foot post it is stripped and it will not catch or support the frame board. How can this be fixed? I am no carpenter, but I know where there is a will, there is a way. I have the will…need to know the way. If you can provide any direction, I would most certainly appreciate it.
If there is a way I can send you an image, I would be happy to.

Comment by Tara Doughty — November 29, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

Tara, We love when people hang on to family heirlooms and utilize them once again however some of these beds can be in poor shape and some are in great need of repair. I to am not a carpenter but I believe “catch” as you call it is the hook in slot that receives the hook in side rails (wood / metal). Unfortunately this is not something you can “will” back to new condition. I am going to highly recommend contacting a furniture refinishing/restoring company. They should be able to get you in the right direction to bring your old bed back to health. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — December 1, 2014 @ 8:41 am

Hi Doug

I have a king size rosewood panel bed with a very tall curved headboard. I’ve moved to a smaller home and the headboard now covers half of the window. I would like to purchase a lower headboard, but all the headboards I’ve found have bolt attachments and I need hook and pin. I’m thinking of cutting the headboard posts above the hardware and then bolting the shortened post to the back of the support leg. Plan B is just to find a headboard that will work ( that’s actually Plan A, but I’m a glass empty sort.)

Comment by Susan Bouchard — February 28, 2015 @ 10:13 pm

Hi again. It looks like this question was already asked (by me) and answered in July. Sorry

Comment by Susan Bouchard — February 28, 2015 @ 10:20 pm

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