Taking 35 year old crib and turning it into a toy box #1: Starting with the old crib

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Blog entry by JPKnapp posted 06-01-2009 03:47 AM 5331 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Taking 35 year old crib and turning it into a toy box series Part 2: Design, milling, and corners (and WAY over budget) »

This is my first serious project and is actually what got me into woodworking. I always liked building and creating, but didnt have the tools to really do anything.

When my wife got pregnant with our first kid, my parents gave me the childhood bedroom set that I had as an infant. It was a crib and dresser. They kept it for 30-some-odd years in hopes of their grandchild oneday using it. About a year ago we refinished the dresser but bought a new crib. Safety standards change in 30 years and new was a better way to go.

Crib and Dresser

My mom always said “That was the first time that we decided to really buy a nice set and get something with real high quality.” So we didnt want to trash the crib. All the pieces were covered in this thick (non-lead, thank god) paint. Under the paint was real nice maple. Some of the grain was fabulous. It took forever to sand or strip off.

Now, onto the actual project:
Design is complete and I finally have most of the old crib pieces sanded down. Everything except the spindles (more on that later). I have a sheet of maple ply and some solid maple for the trim pieces ready to be cut.Crib Head and Footboards

I am not good at sketch up, so I use it for basics and do the rest in the shop. Its going to be a bench design with a lid that opens like a book. That way its not too heavy for the kid and keeps the fingers safer. The back and arms of the bench are going to be the parts from the head and footboard of the crib.

The spindles are whats going to make or break this project. In order to attach them to the flat faces of the box, I needed to find a way to flatten one side. Without a bandsaw, I turned to the WoodWhisperer for advice. He gave me a jig idea (close to my original idea) to encase the spindle between 2 – 2×4s with notches cut out that hold the spindle steady. Set blade height to cut the spindle (and bottom of jig) but not go through top of jig. Then unload jig and do it again. So, when I get to that jig, I’ll post.

Right now, design and basic joinery practice is done. I still need to work on the box joint as I dont have a dado blade. But that will come. Wish me luck.

Me and spindles

-- I specialize in expensive mistakes.

2 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3331 days

#1 posted 06-01-2009 01:12 PM

Good blog and good recycling. That idea about splitting your spindles sounds real good, precise and most importantly safe. If you have a router, there are a lot of fairly simple and effective box joint jigs you could make. One of the best ones involves the use of a slotted jig made out of plywood that runs on a router template collar. I won’t try to describe it here, but if you want to know more I will try to get the info for you.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View JimF's profile


144 posts in 3290 days

#2 posted 06-01-2009 10:09 PM

I am also building a toybox with components of my kids’ Jenny Lind crib. I cut ~8” of the top of the end and ~5” of the top of the side rails and are having them sit on top of the toybox. The project is on hiatus because there is almost no space in my granddaughter’s room for an extra diaper, much less a toybox and there are more pressing honey-do’s on the list. I will try to post a progress photo.

-- Insert clever tag line here

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