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Sleigh Bed Question

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  • Sleigh Bed Question

    My wife wants a sleigh bed built and I'm wondering about how to make a curved panel on the footboard (as per the one shown below from Sears).

    I've already made a bed for my little girl but it had a flat panel. What technique could be used to build a curved panel? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks everyone.
    Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try

  • #2

    Re: Sleigh Bed Question

    Curved Panel

    I honestly don't know the right way to do this but I'm sure some of the real experts from this forum will jump in with the right answer. But I do know there is a flexible, bendable plywood available. It's normal use is for building canoes and kayaks and other types of boats. I don't know how much flex it has but maybe you could check it out.

    Maybe the correct way is to make a form and apply steam to bend the wood to the shape you want. That is a nice bed and worth building. I'd like to see pics of the one you build and hear what technique you used.



    • #3

      Re: Sleigh Bed Question

      If I venture into it, I will post pics and info on what I did. Right now I imagine that I will be building a flat panel footboard and head board. However, the rest of the bed will be like what is shown on the Sears site.
      Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try


      • #4

        Re: Sleigh Bed Question

        There are a few ways to go about it. Search this site for more information on this subject.
        Search: Sleigh bed, cooper, coopered, coopering, wiggle wood(or board), bending, laminating... and anything else you can think of that relates to the subject. You will get more information then you will ever need.
        Here are some ideas.
        Coopering. This is when you stack several strips of wood to form the panel. Each strip is beveled to a particular angle to produce the desired rough curve. After they are all glued together, the panel is planed or sanded smooth to the desired finished curve. Barrels and buckets are examples of coopering. Darrell in Oakville posted a coopered sleigh bed quite a few years ago. I'm sure he has lots of helpful information but he's one of those crazy hand tool nuts.
        Wiggle board is a type of plywood that bends very easily. It would handle that curve without issue. You would glue a few sheets together (if you want it thick)in a form for the desired curve and it would be covered with the desired veneer. The bow front dresser Edward G has for his avatar is an example of the use of wiggle board.
        You could cooper a form using a cheep secondary wood for the shape and veneer it with the desired wood.
        You could try steam bending but I think that would require some experience before attempting such a large project. You don't get a second chance. Mreza recently posted a bed with some steam bent and laminated parts. The panel was flat but there are a lot of curves else were.

        Those are for the panel. The post would be cut out of a large board or laminated panel big enough to lay out the curve. Grain direction is important for strength.

        Just some options to think about.
        J.P. Rap Mount Hope Ont.
        Carpe Ductum (Seize The Tape)

        "In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. Elwood P. Dowd


        • #5

          Re: Sleigh Bed Question

          As JP pointed out, I made a sleighbed back in um, well, let's just say I finished it in 2000. I posted a writeup on it at:

          I coopered my panels. None of it was really difficult, just a lot of work. And a lot of wood too. Those beech 2x10s don't come cheap.

          Attached Files
          Wood Hoarder, Blade Sharpener, and Occasional Tool User


          • #6

            Re: Sleigh Bed Question

            I know of one method of doing this but first I have to admit that I've never tried it:
            First you have to make a 2 sided form (male side and female side) out of plywood and 2x stock with the curve you want shaped in the form.
            Once you've done that correctly, you can then take two pieces of 1/4" veneered plywood and glue them together while placing the veneered plywood into the forms.
            Apply more clamps than you've ever considered owning to make sure the form is tight and leave it to dry.

            Now I have to ask, are you sure you really want to do this? I was asked to make a sleigh bed too by a family member, but I managed to convince her that curved slats would be more attractive. It's still going to be a pain to make it, but at least I don`t have to make a monster clamping form.

            Lee Valley sells a book that'll show you exactly how to make one. Having used it for another design, I can recommend it:
            The only water in the Forest is the river.