Router sled for cutting curve/dip?

I am attempting to make my first chair; actually its a prototype, not intended for actual use so I can see how it will all fit together. Anyway, there is a center 'slat' to the back of the chair that is wide, about 9" at it's widest (it's about 2" thick). The slat curves along it's length, similar to the way a person's spine does. You can sort of see how it looks in this picture although the curve is a little difficult to discern:
http://bit.ly/8RuB1v
Anyway, I don't have or have access to a bandsaw that can cut a wide piece like this on it's edge, and I wouldn't attempt it with a bow saw. I don't know another way to do this, so I'm thinking of a sled or bridge for a router that rides along the correct curve with a straight bit in the router so that it takes off a small part of the curve at a time, similar to a panel flattening jig, only for a curve, if this makes sense. Will this work? And has anyone built something similar or know of a better way to cut this curved piece?
Cheers!
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By the way, I'm _not_ referring to the curve along both side edges that are mirrors of each other. The curve I'm talking about is one along the front and back of the slat that are parallel to each other, like a very 'uncurled' letter "C", if that makes sense..

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On 1/23/2010 7:08 PM, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I can imagine a router solution with the router supported ahead of and behind the bit, on a pair of curved tracks - but I suspect you might find clamping and supporting the workpiece (especially for the second side) a real challenge.
I would guess the job would be much easier if you started with a piece near the finished thickness and set up a steamer and a bending fixture...
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Another way, no idea if it is better...
1. Make framework above the work
2. Mount router on a pendulum
3. Mount pendulum on frame work
Swing, man, swing :)
--

dadiOH
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dadiOH wrote:

If you try to saw that slat on a curve you're going to end up wasting a lot of wood. Have you considered bending it instead?
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How? I don't have a bandsaw to cut thin strips for laminating.
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On 1/24/2010 8:43 AM, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Steam bending ... an easy to effect process with some pvc, a five gallon can, an outdoor cooker.
Norm had a show on steam bending that had some good things you will want to consider, so DAGS on "New Yankee Workshop" to find the show, hat and coat rack, where he used the bending method and showed the process.
Your curve is gentle enough that you should have little problem doing this with many species of wood.
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On 1/24/10 8:55 AM, Swingman wrote:

Just hat rack
http://www.newyankee.com/getproduct.php?910
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-MIKE-

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

It sounds like a perfect excu... reason to get a bandsaw?
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Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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Nova wrote:

One can look at it that way, but one doesn't have to cut thin strips to bend.
Steam bending works--it takes some practice and you have to cobble together some equipment and you need to make a jig, but it does work and has for centuries if not millennia. There are several good tutorials online. It's more work than bandsawing, but the equipment is going to be cheaper.
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So, plane it down to correct thickness (5/8" I think), and then steam/ bend?
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On 1/24/2010 7:03 AM, J. Clarke wrote:

That curve doesn't look all that exaggerated so I don't think I'd get too worried about the waste. The rocking chairs I make have curves much sharper than that, and there is a lot of "waste", but none of it *really* goes to waste. If I can't find any other use for it I'll burn the scraps in my barbecue pit. :-)
Dukes (unless you have some other name by which you'd rather be known), if the steam bending route suggested by others doesn't seem plausible (I've never tried it, but I understand success isn't always possible, and there's a good chance some wood will be wasted in the attempt - I'd suggest practicing on scrap first) and you don't have access to a bandsaw (or somebody who can do those simple cuts for you so you can make progress), it seems to me that the work could be done with hand planes (or even spokeshaves), and possibly power sanders as well. In fact, if you were to use a bandsaw to make the cuts you'd probably need to use those tools anyway to get the surfaces smooth and uniform. Cut the board to width, mark your curves along each outer edge, then chuck the piece up on the bench then start peeling away thickness until you reach the guide lines on either edge. A decent compass plane (like an old Record or a Stanley No. 20) was made for this kind of work, and it probably wouldn't take you as long as you might think.
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