Well I have been working on this thing for a couple weeks now and I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I originally was going to strip, sand and stain the frame but upon further examination I discovered that the water damage seeped its way really deep into the wood. Even after sanding with my nifty electric sander, there was still damage.
Here you can see some of the damage in the wood. This picture was taken after using the chemical stripping agent 3 times, and sanding with an electric sander. My cousins really did a number on this poor bed.
I love the functionality of this bed and that was the main reason I wanted to fix it up so it can last another 50 years in my family. So it was onto plan B, paint.
I cleaned up the frame really well, making sure to get all dust and residual stripping material off of it, and then I gave it about a coat and a half of primer. I am really liking how it is turning out so far and I cannot wait until it is finished and back in the house.
At first my mom had a slight panic attack when I told her I was going to paint the bed (she's not a fan of painted furniture at all) but she seems to be warming up to the idea. I hope she likes it because there's no going back now!