This crib is the most difficult and exacting piece of furtniture I've made so far. It is made of maple. It was a good reason to buy a band saw and a planer. I carefully designed the head- and foot-boards to have a slight curve so that I would need a band saw. That's what guys do: projects are simply justification for buying more power tools.
This first picture shows the headboard and footboard "dry" assembled, with the rails in place (through mortise-and-tenons with small wedge pegs to hold them in place) and the mattress, to test it all for size before I glued it up. Not shown are the two removable sides, one of which slides up and down (see below)
The slats were cut from 2" thick maple stock on a table saw, then jointed and planed for dimension. I did the first few by hand, then went and bought a planer, so they'd be of consistent thickness and so I wouldn't be driven crazy. They're exactly sized to fit into mortises cut in the top and bottom pieces with my mortising chisel attachment to the drill press. I wish I had thought to cut the mortises in the curved pieces before I cut the curves, but I didn't. I used the scrap pieces from the band-saw cut, clamped under the curved pieces in the drill press, to provide enough stability to drill the mortises, but it was a little dicey.
Barely visible on the near side of the frontmost post is a mortise that I cut in the wrong side of the post -- a classic symmetry error. The bed is finished, and the errant mortise is still there. Somehow it proves that it was hand made. Really it proves that I'm a moron, but for some reason I find the exposed mortise soothing, so I left it there.
The worst part of this whole project was the rounding of all the corners and the incessant sanding to make it baby-safe. I hate sanding.
One note about tools: I tried two different hand-held "chamfer" tools, one a set of edge rounders that look a little like paint scrapers, the other a small wooden plane with an angled brass shoe that has straight and rounded blades for cutting chamfers or rounding the edges. Both of them suck. Slight variations in grain direction on the edges caused the tools to dig in and raise big ugly chips that I had to sand out later. No matter how careful I was, I ended up raising quite a few of them. One day I will design a small hand-held power tool that will do this job easily. Or set up a router table to do it, which is a hassle. I've been thinking about trying a Dremel tool with a home-made fence to quickly chamfer corners. Except that I don't have a Dremel.
Here is a link to a page that has safety regulations for cribs that helped me get the slat spacing right and some other useful safety factors.
Here is what it has looked like for the last year while Georgia has slept in it. I never quite rubbed the finish in the last side, since she started crawling and we needed to deploy it in a hurry. It's just linseed oil (one of the few approved finishes for a baby's crib) so it shouldn't take long -- it's just that the only time I find to do things like this is when the baby's sleeping, but unfortunately she sleeps in this particular project...
Note the through tenons that are pegged with wedges. No glue, so it's easily disassembled, but it's very strong. Andrea, Georgia and I all piled on the crib when it was first build, and it was strong enough to hold all three of us (combined weight close to 350 pounds).
Check out my Wood Shop
Click to see some of my Hard-Learned Lessons.
Back to Glenn's home page