Sunday, March 29, 2015

looking for construction techniques on intersecting compound curves

I always admired that quote by Jean Prouve: "never design something that cannot be made". here I am, flaunting that advice and wading into the deep end of the pool.

wondering how the heck i'm going to implement the following, a back to the built-in trundle bed for our guest room. overall dimensions are roughly 72" longx18" high, by about 42" depth. The trundle bed is built into the corner of the room, so this "headboard" wraps around the bed along the wall.

The idea being one could relax in an upright position and read or watch youtube videos or whatever. I wanted to make a little curve to the back for comfort, and a curve to the edges to soften the overall appearance of the structure.

So how do you make this? My running plan is a frame-and-panel approach, with coopered panels, and curved stiles. The problem is how to jig-up and route a stile groove that curves in two directions.

Edit: more on ticking sticks as a means to transfer one curve to another


  1. I would cut the joinery on square stock, and shape the rest once it fits together.

    It is hard to see what we are looking at, though. How big is this thing? Is this a headboard that goes in a corner?

    Good luck!

  2. hi Brian, thanks for checking in here and apologies for not being specific. yeah, it's kind of like a headboard that wraps around the end and one side of the bed. the bed itself is built into the corner of a room, so this would act as a sort of back along the walls. hope that makes sense.

    1. Alright, thanks! Yes, it makes sense now.

      What do you think about making your corner from a big post, perhaps something like basswood. You can cut the mortices for the panel, and then carve the corner shape to match. Also, for example, you could leave the stiles on the end completely off. Hold the panel together with battens in the back, and then you can saw the end off any shape you want without having to create a crazy router template for the stile.

      I bet there are many more out there who have better ideas, though.

    2. YES! i will be making the corner post out of a very ring-dense redwood piece i have whic would carve really easily. for the ends, I might go for your idea if my tests at framing dont work out. I would like to try making a frame out of it first. There is some aspect of scribing mentioned by joe below that might also work, using "joggle sticks" or also i think it's called "ticking sticks". Pop-woodworking i think did an article on this a while back.

      siempre amigo.

  3. Hello Angostura Bitters,
    Google ( Joggle sticks ) it is a boat building tool ....with it you will be able to mark and cut Once....


  4. Hi Joe, thank you for this term, Joggle Stick. I'm going to add these notes above.

  5. ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include.