The Sleigh Bed

Of all the pieces i have made over the years, I probably get the most comments on this sleigh bed.

I have to admit, it does have a certain elegance about it.  It all started out with a phone call from a second home-owner not far from my shop.  He had a sleigh bed in his house but didn’t like it.  It had a large footboard and blocked the view out the window.  He want me to make him one with no footboard.  We discussed it for a while and I got to designing.  I liked the lines of his and used them to influence my design.  His was factory made and not very well done.  I thought I could do a better job.  He had some other furniture in the room out of red birch and we settled on that.  It was one of those times where he asked if I could make that and I said sure.  Then when he gave me a deposit and I got to thinking about it, I thought “Holy shit, how am I going to do that??”  Really though, if you take even the most complicated piece and break it down into it’s elements, it gets a lot less complicated.  The first thing to do was draw it out full size.  Once that was done, I made a form for the slats.  The slats were designed as a lamination with four layers 1/8″ thick.  I had to rip the pieces, keep them in order, take them to John’s shop to sand, sand them, bring them back to my shop, stack them up and glue them all without changing the order they were in.  I wanted to re-glue them in the order they were cut so they wouldn’t look like a lamination.  That was a complicated process.  Now I have my own wide belt sander so the process is a lot easier.  I made patterns for the four posts and pattern cut them with a router.  Next was the top rail.  It is 3 1/2″ thick and round with a flat where the slats are mortised in.  That was all hand shaped.  I started on the table saw and got it to 12 sides and went after it with a hand plane and sandpaper.  A couple of hours later, it was round.  Everything ended up coming together fine and it ended up being a lot easier than I thought it would.  Here is the result.

You can see some of the view he wanted to preserve.  As soon as I got it done, I thought I wanted to make a version with the big footboard.  I got to work designing the foot.  It is the same as the head, just smaller.  I got to work.  The result exceeded my expectations and I couldn’t have been happier.  I made it queen size, (the original was king) and brought it to a few shows.  Turns out, If I had made it king also, I could have sold it several times.  I ended up keeping it for a while but it ended up not far from here.  I have made both versions of this bed several times since which is satisfying in that It seems to be appreciated.

Anyway, that’s the story of that bed.

On another topic, I think I am going to do the MS ride again so check here and I will put a link to where you can donate.  I only have a few weeks to raise $500.

Thanks for sticking with me.

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