Slot Cutting Advice and Ideas Wanted

JSJ

Jeff
Corporate Member
Good morning all! I value the depth of experience and knowledge of members on this forum, so here I am, asking again!

I am making a Mission style bed with a headboard and footboard that consists of a lower straight rail and a curved upper rail, with slats running vertically between the two. I am planning on using a 4mm domino to attach the slats to the lower straight rail, but am somewhat in s quandary on how to attach the slats to the curved top rail. I was thinking about making a 1/2" slot in the top rail using a slotting cutter on my router table and making two passes with a 1/"4 slotting cutter. Then just fit the slats into the slot and glue. I was wondering what other ways might there be to attach the top of the slats to the curved rail or if there is a better way to make the slot in the upper rail (on a curve). The slot would need to be at least 5/8" deep (5/8" x 1/2").

Any and all input, advice, suggestions would be much appreciated! TIA!!!

I have attached a drawing for clarity.

Thanks!

Jeff

head_Board.jpg
 

mdbuntyn

Matt
Staff member
Corporate Member
If you use the Domino to cut the mortices before shaping the top rail, will the ones in the center be deep enough after cutting the curve?
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
You could use Matt's idea and do it in stages so the cuts go deeper after removing parallel flat sections from below the curve.
 

Martin Roper

Martin
Senior User
I saw an article on this years ago in a woodworking magazine. They used a slot cutter to rout out a channel on the inside of the curve. Then they glued spacers inside the slot creating mortises. They trimmed off the spacers with a band saw and followed up with a flush trim bit, then assembled it without using traditional tenons on top but putting the entire piece in the mortise.

I looked around for a pic and found this:

1664207180974.png
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
How would J&G Stickley do this?. This is why Arts and crafts furniture has stood the test of time. There is no "easy" way to do this correctly. Sometimes ya just gotta put in the work. But, you can cut the mortises before the curve is cut on the stretcher to at least simplify those. The slats should then be cut to match the curve at their respective location with the integrated tenon ( I suppose you could create some sort of jig to hold domino cutter to add a loose tenon) . Thats the beauty of it for discerning woodworkers, it appears to be a simple design but with proper execution, its a true work of art that few really appreciate.
 
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JSJ

Jeff
Corporate Member
Thanks guys! The problem with the cutting the mortises first is that I already cut the curve on the top rail!! I know, bonehead move to do that before I thought out the whole process! o_O After reading your sage comments, I think I'll use the method described by Martin and Jack...use the slotting cutter on my router table, then use spacers glued into the slot. On the bottom rail, I'll use the the 4mm domino set at the middle "loose" setting to give me some adjustment. 100 percent agree with Chris....it'll appear to be a simple headboard/footboard, but others will not appreciate the work that went into it. Thanks again!
 

Skymaster

New User
Jack
Thanks guys! The problem with the cutting the mortises first is that I already cut the curve on the top rail!! I know, bonehead move to do that before I thought out the whole process! o_O After reading your sage comments, I think I'll use the method described by Martin and Jack...use the slotting cutter on my router table, then use spacers glued into the slot. On the bottom rail, I'll use the the 4mm domino set at the middle "loose" setting to give me some adjustment. 100 percent agree with Chris....it'll appear to be a simple headboard/footboard, but others will not appreciate the work that went into it. Thanks again!
USE a practice piece to setup the curved groove!!!!!!!!! DO NOT make it tight, layout is critical so your spacing is the SAME on all slats. The pcs to hold the slats also NOT higher than the surface, I made the filler pcs in long strips and after i figured out the spacing,cut them to size.
 

BKHam

Bradley
User
do you have a horizontal mortiser type machine? then you could reference off the back edge of the rail whihc is still straight.

how are you going to accurately cut the curved shoulders?
 

JSJ

Jeff
Corporate Member
I sold my PM mortiser years ago as I never used it and the Festool domino filled it’s place. The top of the slats don’t have to be that accurate of curves as they’ll be hidden up inside the slot. At least that’s the plan!!
 

BKHam

Bradley
User
I sold my PM mortiser years ago as I never used it and the Festool domino filled it’s place. The top of the slats don’t have to be that accurate of curves as they’ll be hidden up inside the slot. At least that’s the plan!!

okay i see on the image posted above there is no shoulder on those slats. I think plugging the spaces between is probably the way to go. These filler strips can be slightly wedge shaped (a couple degrees) to ensure a gap free fit, side to side.
 

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