A Peruvian Walnut Cradle #1: And in the beginning...

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Blog entry by jusfine posted 907 days ago 1758 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of A Peruvian Walnut Cradle series Part 2: Now we are Rocking and Rolling! »

September 16, 2011

Our first granddaughter was born today, and although I had thought about it for some time leading up to her birth, other “more important things” just kept coming up, but now that she is here, I am seriously starting to build this cradle and don’t really think it will take more than a couple weekends of hard work.

I think she is smiling as she knows that is not going to happen…

Problem number 1 arrived unexpectedly as the Peruvian Walnut I purchased had an odd color inside some of the boards. No way to tell until they were cut or planed. A trip to my supplier with a few samples did not resolve it. I can’t use these boards as it looks like someone stained it a funny green color…

I may as well get the basic shapes jointed and glued while I figure out the joinery. So I plane a few more and pick my best boards and glue them up.

A week later I am still in my shop scratching my head as I cannot figure out how to make the finger joint connection on the hopper shape. Seems like everything I try is not working, and I am making a bunch of small pieces from big ones and this is not fun anymore.

If you don’t know, a hopper shape has two intersecting pieces angled (splayed) to create the corner (mine are each angled at 10 degrees).
Below is an example of compound joinery .

Sometime during the following week I decided to try to use my Leigh jig to make dovetails instead of finger joints, and that isn’t going so well either. I must confess, I have had this jig for many years and it has been used very little.

So I watch the promo video a few more times and now I am inspired, but running into the same issues of open joints and something is obviously missing, but I have a little more machined stock and I will make this work.

After a number of failures and I am quickly using up my walnut, I discover a link on the Leigh site that should help me out. Once I printed off the instructions I was confident it was going to be a breeze, but still cannot quite get the joints to fit perfectly.

After a few more pieces and some adjustments, I was able to make a corner I was satisfied with. Actually quite excited about it as it fit and lined up!

Now that the sample is done, I can get to work on the actual pieces in part 2.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

8 comments so far

View kenn's profile


764 posts in 2222 days

#1 posted 907 days ago

First of all, Congrats on the new addition. I’m sure you are excited and she’s a cutie. Glad you got the jig to work before you went through too much wood. The cradle will be an heirloom. Good luck with the rest of the project.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View mafe's profile


9231 posts in 1591 days

#2 posted 906 days ago

Wauuu congratulation on that beautiful grand daughter!
What a smile.
And second congrat on the build she will be happy at rest in this and the dovetails came out perfect just like her.
I wish her a wonderful life,

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Don W's profile

Don W

13935 posts in 1069 days

#3 posted 906 days ago

I’ve got a project i’ve been contemplating that will have the exact same joint I planned to try and cut by hand.

Congrat’s again on the granddaughter. I love her smile.

-- There is nothing like the sound of a well tuned hand plane. - (timetestedtools at hotmail dot c0m)

View 489tad's profile


1958 posts in 1513 days

#4 posted 906 days ago

Congratulations, she is beautiful! I’m glad you did not give up on the joint. You build family history.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View rsladdwoodworks's profile


311 posts in 1671 days

#5 posted 906 days ago

you will have fun with grand kids in the shop I know I do

-- Robert Laddusaw and no I am not smarter then a fifth grader ( and no I canot spell so if it is a problem don't read it ))

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 1936 days

#6 posted 906 days ago

Congratulations granddad, lovey baby, love the “old fashioned” cradle.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13335 posts in 2175 days

#7 posted 906 days ago

Congrats on your new grandchild.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View meikou's profile


115 posts in 2136 days

#8 posted 905 days ago

Congratulations on the granddaughter and welcome to to world of compound joinery.

If you want to see some crazy examples of it being worked out go look here

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