Sleigh Bed In Figured Walnut

walnut sleigh bed1

 

(click on any image for larger view)

Usually when designing a piece of furniture, some accommodation is made to manufacturing processes, tooling, and efficiency. Such accommodation is done for streamlining construction and profitability. Being the impractical craftsman that I am, I took the opposite approach with this sleigh bed. All processes were made to serve the design, resulting in one of the most challenging pieces I have made.

I won’t begin to go through all the stages and techniques I went through to create this piece. Building it was exhausting enough. I have, however, included some of the photos I took while making the posts.

walnut sleigh bed post

Since each post had to be band sawn out on three sides, I made full size patterns for the front and side views of both the headboard and footboard posts.

sleigh bed post templates

Next, I rough shaped the wide side of each post on the band saw.

band sawing sleigh bed post

I sculpted and smoothed each post with hand tools and random orbit sanders.

shaping sleigh bed post

I routed a 1/16″ wide groove for sting inlay in each post. Because the surface was undulating and not flat, routing and installing the inlay was a challenge and required extreme care to achieve without making any mistakes.

installing inlay in sleigh bed post

Installing the inlay around the gooseneck shape at the top of each post, required that I soak the inlay material in boiling water for a couple of hours to make it flexible enough to conform to the circle. The inlay is wenge wood which is  very brittle.

string inlay in sleigh bed post

                                                   After installing the inlay , I sawed the front and back sides of each post to final shape and clean them up with hand tools.

shaping sleigh bed post

completed sleigh bed posts

These are the bracket feet I designed and made to sit under each post.

bracket feet for sleigh bed

bracket foot with sleigh bed post

As difficult as the posts were to make, they were nothing compared to creating the S-curved veneered panels in the head and footboards and then surrounding these panels with beaded moldings and solid wood frames. I will save you the agony, dear reader, and just let you enjoy the photos.

sleigh bed footboard

sleigh bed footboard1

The side rails are frame & panel construction and rigidly install to the head and footboards with cast iron hard hardware available from Van Dykes Restorers.

sleigh bed side rail & post

This is a queen size bed and it took me about 10 weeks to complete. It turned out pretty close to perfect. I don’t think I would do another one for less than $18,000 just in case anyone wants to know.

sleigh bed details

figured walnut sleigh bed

To see more of my work, please visit my website.

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