Curved headboard top - face or edge lamination

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Forum topic by Mark posted 06-22-2019 02:33 PM 369 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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57 posts in 785 days

06-22-2019 02:33 PM

I’ve been asked to make a headboard with a curved top, as above. I’m thinking through how I’d go about it and came up with two methods. The specific issue being the board that tops the arched headboard and finishes out horizontally on the posts.

I could laminate thin strips to a form, and clamp to the headboard prior to joining to the posts, and mark my angle to chop at the miter saw.

Or, I could create it by jigsawing the curve out of multiple 1×8” boards, and laminate 4 or 5 of them edge to edge, cleaning it up at the spindle sander.

Option 1 seems the ‘correct’ way. Have I missed any other methods though?

8 replies so far

View sras's profile


5197 posts in 3637 days

#1 posted 06-22-2019 02:44 PM

The photo is fairly blurry, but it looks like there is a profile detail along the top.

You could use a thin piece for the top layer of that detail. It may be thin enough that a single thin strip (or two) could be glued along a laminated set that forms the rest of the top.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Robert's profile


3537 posts in 1989 days

#2 posted 06-22-2019 03:04 PM

I would go with 2 boards mitered in the middle then cut using a pattern. Same thing with the moulding and the top rails.

The two small horizontal tenons can be joined in several ways: floating tenons, dowels, Dominoes, etc.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2014 posts in 671 days

#3 posted 06-22-2019 03:06 PM

you need to start with a design for the Crown Molding first.
find the profile that you and your client like – then, build it
from scratch using an assortment of store-bought moldings
or ones you can make yourself. will it be stained or painted ?
to keep it simple and cost effective – check your local lumber yards
to see what they have that can be easily bent to a form that will fit the
headboard. . . . . it’s not all that difficult once you get the profile established.


-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View LeeRoyMan's profile


283 posts in 235 days

#4 posted 06-22-2019 04:22 PM

I think stacking them would be the easiest and give you the face to look at.
Cut each piece separately, rout your profile, the glue them together.
Make some straight pieces at the same time for your ends.
(Depends on the height of your arch)

View Green_Hornut's profile


164 posts in 3128 days

#5 posted 06-22-2019 04:45 PM

Another alternative would be to steam the cap and bend it on. By the looks of the design I doubt your going to be able to do a cold bend if your using common hardwoods. My choices would be to steam bend and second would be a laminated bend. Either should work. You probably can use the headboard as the form with steam but I would build a form if you are laminating.

I would really question the glue up and cut with a jigsaw. Not a lot of glue area on the ends and your probably going to have issues with matching grain so the glue lines will probably be more prominent.

I built two cribs using the Wood Magazine 3 in 1 pattern as the basis. One with a single bend and the other with a compound bend. Both were cold bends but the compound bend I really had to horse on the clamps to get it to lay flat. I got away with it but I was expecting all kinds of problems for the first year as the wood moved.

It’s about the same effort. Buy a steam generator and make your steam box or build a form and cut your laminates to glue up. I have done a ton of laminate glue up. Make sure to wax generously the form. I speak from experience :-0

-- Mother Nature always bats last.

View therealSteveN's profile


3878 posts in 1082 days

#6 posted 06-22-2019 05:16 PM

Not all woods steam. I hadn’t seen that OP had related the material choice of the customer. A lot will depend on what you are tasked to work with. There was a time when the majority of this would have been sawn from a large billet. Other trim may have been added, or possibly it would have been hand carved.

Considering there are several ways to do this. I believe the customer should be asked what if anything they had in mind for how that detail was to be done. If they read something explaining what I just described, they will likely be put off by a lami build up.

Questions first, always questions.

-- Think safe, be safe

View MrRon's profile (online now)


5715 posts in 3751 days

#7 posted 06-22-2019 06:28 PM

I would find some old books on furniture construction around 100+ years and see how craftsmen back then did fancy forms. The English and French were known for such craftsmanship.

View Mark's profile


57 posts in 785 days

#8 posted 06-22-2019 06:37 PM

Thank you everyone for the in-depth responses.

I most like the stacking idea; LeeRoyMan that diagram is excellent and a big help.

I’ll pose this to the client, though I expect they may simply request a flat top which would be a far quicker build.

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