How to make a curved headboard

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Forum topic by 7even posted 10-19-2016 04:23 PM 910 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 848 days

10-19-2016 04:23 PM

First of all , hello everyone! Is my first post here and I want to say that I’m a beginner, so excuse my dumb questions.

Can you please advice which is the best idea to make this curves. I want to use it on my next project because the one that jump in to my brain doesn’t satisfied me completely. Notice that I want to make a tufted bed and both headboards are with this particular curve.

Thank you for your help and take care !

5 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1090 days

#1 posted 10-20-2016 11:29 PM


I am guessing that you are asking how to form the in-fill piece that extends from one standard to another, where by standard I mean the vertical pieces spaced down the surface in the second photo and which have large rounded (bulbous) ends extending beyond the edge of the surface. With that understanding in mind, three ideas come to mind.

The first idea is to repeat the multi-faceted in-fill piece that shown between a pair standards in the top photo. Since the headboard will be upholstered, some thin foam and batting would smooth out the facets. The greater the number of facets, the smoother the upholstered result should be.

The second idea is to purchase a roundover shaper cutter (if you have a shaper) or router bit and use it to roundover three corners of a piece of stock. This method would produce the most consistent results. For the best fit, the bulbous ends of the standards must be circular and match the radius of available router bits (3/4”, 1”, 1-1/4” and 1-1/2”, not sure if router bits with a radius greater than 1-1/2” are available). The stock would have to be thick enough to match the bulbous ends of the standards. If the stock is wide enough, the in-fill piece could be attached between the standards by gluing to the mounting surface of the standards. After the three edges are routed, the workpiece can be cut to length. These large radius roundover cutters and bits are fairly expensive. Making these roundovers at the router table with a tall fence would be much safer than trying it with a held-held router.

The third idea is to use a spoke shave, some rasps, and sandpaper to fair a multi-faceted workpiece into the desired shape. The spoke shave is not really needed, but would make the work go faster.

If I misunderstood your question, I will need some clarification.

View Wright571's profile


7 posts in 768 days

#2 posted 10-21-2016 03:02 PM

Im not too far behind you on newness, but if this isn’t going to be seen I think it should be relatively easy to fill. In the top picture it looks like you have strips spanning the gap in the middle. You could potentially fill this area with a small amount of wood filler (or maybe even something like Bondo?). Might need to go a few passes, but you could start out with a heavy amount and then use a longer straight board running over the middle post and the end post to flatten everything out and get the basic shape. Then it would just be sanding and touch ups. Hopefully this makes sense.

View Lazyman's profile


2556 posts in 1557 days

#3 posted 10-21-2016 03:19 PM

Using strips to go between the curved uprights is the easiest way. The narrower the strips, the closer the strips will be to approximating a curve and the less shaping you’ll have to do. If you cut them like a stave for a barrel (see my beer mug project posting if you don’t know what I mean) you can get a nice glue joint which will make them stronger and more rigid across the span. If you cut the strips out of a single board, using as narrow a saw blade as possible and keep them in order, you can even get the grain to match across the span. After you have formed the rough faceted shape, you can use a hand plane or even course sandpaper to lower the corners to get it round.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View 7even's profile


7 posts in 848 days

#4 posted 10-23-2016 02:54 PM

Thank you guys for your responses. Your ideas was helpfull for me. As I said before this bed will be upholstered so it dosen’t bother me that I will have bumbs , I will make them smoother with a sander.
Lazyman your mug project really helped me, you cut the strips at what degree?
Again thank you all four your help I will keep you guys updated with my project. Wish you a lovely Sunday!

View Lazyman's profile


2556 posts in 1557 days

#5 posted 10-23-2016 03:27 PM

You simply divide 360 by the number of staves you want to go all the way around and then divide by 2. The more staves, the closer to approximating a circle. For example, 12 staves = 360/12/2 = 15 degrees. Since yours don’t go all the way around, you will have to compute how many it would take. To get the width of each stave right, you also need to know the circumference of the whole circle and divide that by the total number of staves that would be needed to make a complete circle. As a reminder (in case you haven’t used your grade school geometry in a while), to get the circumference you multiply the diameter of the curve by PI (3.14). Once you know the circumference, you can measure how much of that you need to cover using a seamstress’ measuring tape and use that to decide how many staves you need.

I just had another thought on another approach to making this curved surface that doesn’t require any sanding. Google “how to bend plywood” looking for the technique where they cut grooves almost but not quite through the backside of the plywood allowing you to bend it around curves. I have never tried it but might be another way to do it.

Edit: One more thought, Dividing the circumference by the number of staves will approximate the width of the staves you need. I would cut one stave, cut into 1” pieces and glue them together to form a curve to ensure that they are close enough to match the curve you need.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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