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  • Cradle

    Good Morning All

    I am a born again wood working hobbyist and have been setting up a new
    shop for the last 6 months with all new tools and goodies.
    I am having a ball! This will be my retirement hobby down the road and I am planning
    on building family heirloom type projects for the grandchildren and alike.
    One of my first projects will be a cradle.
    Anyone have any advice on making a cradle for an infant.
    I am mainly interested in opinions on types of wood or wood panels. finishes,
    stains that are for this type project and such.
    I pretty well have an idea on what I want to do, but it is always interesting
    to get ideas from other woodworkers

  • #2
    Re: Cradle

    This might help...


    • #3
      Re: Cradle

      That is an easy choice, as a cradle is used only for the first 2-3 month. As soon as the baby starts moving around on his/her own, he/she will maneuver into a corner, get "stuck" and start a screaming session. Alas, time for a crib (which is a very different issue as it will be shaken, kicked, rattled and chewed on by the kid).

      The material for a crib is practically anything you like. Once again, it does not take any abuse, strength is not a real issue (as long as the construction is sturdy enough so it does not fall apart), go with whatever looks good to you (and to the mother of the baby). You may want to match it to other furniture that is already in the room the crib will be placed in.

      As far as the finish, you want the wood well sealed with material that does not give off any gases that may be harmful to the baby or can cause a reaction on the skin when touched. I certainly wouldn't use an oil finish.

      Take a look at the enclosed pictures of the cradle I made for our granddaughter. Curly maple sides, plywood bottom, sides joined with "lovetails". Finish is 8 coats of Minwax Wipe-on Poly.

      Attached Files
      Frank sigpic


      • #4
        Re: Cradle

        Thanks Newman.
        Thanks Kaufman.

        What are the little hearts on the ends of the cradle, some sort of
        joinery or wood pieces inserted like dowels covering screws?

        Pretty Cool to say the least!

        What size cradle mattress if any did you use?


        • #5
          Re: Cradle

          This is basically a dovetailed construction, no screws used at all. The hearts you see are the actual dovetails (called lovetails).

          The end pieces have the tails. It is done by drilling two holes (the top of the heart) and cutting in with a japanese razor saw from the tip of the heart (which is at the edge of the wood) to meet the drilled hole tangentially.

          The sidepieces have the pins, cut with a dovetail saw just like a regular dovetail and shaped into a heart with chisels and files. I left the pins proud and rounded the edges. It looks better than having it flush with the tails (like we do in standard dovetail joinery) and hides any minor imperfections in the joint at the same time.

          The bottom is 3/8" plywood held in a groove cut just above the lower inside edge of all 4 pieces.

          My wife made a mattress using 1" upholstery foam cut with an electric knife (standard kitchen implement). She covered it with some flannel material. She also made side covers the same way using 4 pieces of 1/2" upholstery foam, to go around the inside, half way up the cradle.

          In practice, the side covers never been used. My daughter wrapped the mattress part into a soft terrytowel and put the baby on it. In retrospect, a folded up large terry towel would've done the job just as well, without using a mattress at all.

          Frank sigpic


          • #6
            Re: Cradle

            That looks great.

            you can even use shellac as a finish - it's totally safe and easy to work with...


            • #7
              Re: Cradle

              Wow Frank, A labor of love for sure, Great Work!

              Newman, Shellac may be a great suggestion I will keep it in-mind.

              I was going to make the first proto type cradle
              cut of wide pine panels that are readily available from
              The big box stores. It will be made to dismantle and
              Use as a template for when I make the other two out of
              Some sort of hardwood. I was thinking of red oak or
              possibly cherry.

              Thanks for the suggestions. I will be starting the project as soon
              as the weather breaks in this area, which should be soon.
              I hope to post pictures of the prototype and finished project late spring or
              mid summer. ......'Lord willing and the creek dont rise"

              It’s great being in woodworking again, but I must admit rust has accumulated.
              The tools have really improved so much and it is great having a place
              to go and share ideas with such nice people.



              • #8
                Re: Cradle

                I used 3/8" plywood to make the prototype, held together with 3/4" L brackets. Once I was happy, I used the plywood pieces as router templates for the actual hardwood.
                Frank sigpic