Sleigh Bed w/Bent Panels

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Project by Chris Davis posted 437 days ago 2344 views 7 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve build several sleigh beds before, but this is a first with truly bent panels. During the planning phase of this my intentions were to use a vacuum system and form to make the panels. After the customer sent a cardboard pattern of the post and gave me some measurements. I determined that the panels were very thick and a frame with bending plywood would work better.

The customer has a Lexington suite in with the queen size bed. The company no longer builds this and when they wanted to upsize to a king, they couldn’t find one to match. We did change it up like not using a scroll at the top of the headboard nor the medallions. I did cut rosettes in the placde of the medallions.

Building Pictures
Sanding the bun feet
I didn’t turn them on the drill press, just sanding and cleaning them up.

Frame of one of the panels
Frame of one of the panels

Covered in bending plywood
Covering the panel in bending plywood

Adding the white oak veneer
I special ordered 8×4 white oak veneer because of the grain direction

Top sleigh rail
Each top rail started as a 6×6 (very heavy!)

sleigh bed headboard
Headboard ready for finish.

Wood: White Oak Other Wood Used: Poplar, Bending Plywood Finish: Clear coat with white glaze Bun Feet: Hand turned by Terry Waldrop
Completed: March 2013

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12 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


15431 posts in 1468 days

#1 posted 437 days ago

This is so nice, Chris. It’s really impressive.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Moron's profile


4666 posts in 2495 days

#2 posted 437 days ago

Nicely done

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Napaman's profile


5315 posts in 2678 days

#3 posted 437 days ago

very cool! I love the curves!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View gsimon's profile


468 posts in 715 days

#4 posted 437 days ago

beautiful – they must have loved it
thanks for showing your build in stages – it really helps us newbies

-- Greg Simon

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1243 posts in 550 days

#5 posted 436 days ago

are there and benefits to using hard wood instead of ply wood for the sub frame of the bent panels? And can you give us some details on how you shaped the top rails of the head/foot board. It really is an awesome bed in fact it is what I am thinking of building from sassafras for my wife. I had the general idea down, but was going to stumble through the rest.

View Chris Davis's profile

Chris Davis

1287 posts in 2584 days

#6 posted 436 days ago

Plywood may be more stable for the sub frame, but I think the fasteners will hold better in the hardwood.

That top rail was a nightmare. Lots of work. One of the problems was how close that top rail was to the sleigh post. Around 3/16. Because of that I needed to make sure that top rails perfectly matched the curve.

Here are the steps that I took:
1. Traced the pattern of the sleigh post onto a piece of 1/2” for a template.
2. Transferred that patter to each end of the 6” x 6” post.
3. Trimmed as much off with table saw set on 45.
4. Shapped more with electric hand planner (started with hand planner but went and bought an electric one)
5. Finished cleaning it off with belt sander and orbital sander.

One thing to note I did cut a wide dado in bottom side to slip over the panel. If you don’t do that you’ll see a gap there, it is hard to mate up the rail and panel without doing that.
Shaping the top rail. Notice the dado
Shaping the top rail. Notice the dado

pattern for top rail
1/2” pattern for top rail

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View Lou Scott's profile

Lou Scott

40 posts in 971 days

#7 posted 436 days ago

Very nice! Seems like lots of work.


View JoeinGa's profile


3103 posts in 608 days

#8 posted 436 days ago

Beautiful bed!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View TheTalkingGrape's profile


266 posts in 459 days

#9 posted 435 days ago

View kevinruiz's profile


38 posts in 550 days

#10 posted 433 days ago

just beautiful

View joseph000's profile


346 posts in 628 days

#11 posted 420 days ago

Nice looking.I like sleigh bed.Sleigh beds made of wood are traditionally beautiful and will never get outdated.Sleigh beds come in a wide variety of styles.Make sure you choose the right style for your room.

View Buckethead's profile


1910 posts in 470 days

#12 posted 420 days ago

That is one big chunk of oak to whittle down to such a fine fit…. Well done!

Was making the top rail first (then matching the sleigh post scroll cut to it after the fact) an option?

Did you consider making the top rail hollow from beveled pieces? (Like a whiskey barrel, for instance) the extra labor might have offset any savings in materials, so for a client project, it probably didn’t make sense.

-- Bucket, any person that spends 10k on a bicycle is guaranteed to be a $@I almost started to like you. -bhog

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