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Old School
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I've made a number of beds. I've always used a 1x2 or 1x3 to support the slats and it works great (I'm 300+ pounds). I think a 2x2 would be more prone to failure since it sticks out farther. I glue it and use those Kreg pocket hole screws at about 8" centers.

I would also just use a 1x2 (3/4"x2") or a 1x3 (3/4"x3"), as it's just a step, and doesn't need much width. I would use a countersunk piloted hole for a 2" coarse thread screw. Having the screws driven through the face perpendicular to the rail will provide a better fastening. IMO, pocket screws are a waste of time.






 
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