Construction must allow for seasonal movement of the headboard.
The headboard (and footboard, if any) assembly usually is built as a unit, with mortise-and-tenon joints connecting the rail to the two posts. The mortise and tenon provide the maximum strength to this connection, but the details of the joint vary based on the bed's design. On a wide plank headboard, you must allow for wood movement. With two separate tenons, glue only the upper one, or use a wide, short tenon floating in a long, shallow mortise, anchored in the center with a full-depth tenon that is glued.
On a four-poster bed, the headboard plank simply floats (without glue) in deep, slightly oversize mortises. The headboard then can be removed when the bed needs to be disassembled.
A headboard that has slats, spindles, or a frame-and-panel design will have a crest rail tenoned into the tops of the posts. Be sure to offset the mortise-and-tenon joint toward the bottom of the crest rail so that you leave as much wood as possible at the end of the post, above the joint.
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