so help me with these braces. I am retarded and dont own a drop saw, only a circular saw. also, I have chisels and a mitre guage and ruler things but I always get like a degree off and shit doesnt mate properly. so i am struggling to make timber braces. can I prevent the legs from sliding apart using steel cable? I'd rather not build some epic system of levers around this. its the legs of a loft bed frame. I am trying to keep it as minimalist as possible. if all else fails I will just disguise the bracing at the back with book shelves.
is there something more simple I am missing? I looked into sets of steel ring braces for this but they cost about 300$ so fuck that. I also investigated using kerfed arches but tension made them suck balls and snap.
Traditionally you'd use rods, joined in the middle of the 'X'.
As you've observed, flexible cables are not much use in compression.
If it absolutely has to be cables, then a wooden brace across the back would make the member a full box, and then the only movement you'd have to worry about is where the legs stay parallel and move away from square. Cables can help now, because whichever direction this happens in, one of them will be in tension.
What kind of minimalism are you going for, OP? Sounds like obvious structural elements are fine, and you may be going for a somewhat rougher look? As>>926823 said, rods would probably be better than cable, being capable of carrying come compression load too. Alternatively, you can put a shear panel across the back. Something like 1/8" hardboard should be plenty. Or, 1/4" pegboard would let you hang modular storage things, including shelves.
If you want more a modernist "clean lines" aesthetic, I suggest making moment connections to hold the legs in place without any cross bracing. This will require the legs to have a significant length of contact with the main beams, and both will have to be fairly stout.
If the back and sides are braced, the front can be left open. Pic related is a kid's loft. Beef up the structure a bit, and it should work for an adult. E.g. 4x4 columns and wider main beams.