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

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Blog entry by jusfine posted 10-26-2011 04:11 AM 3734 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


810 posts in 3749 days

#1 posted 10-26-2011 06:24 AM

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


11732 posts in 3118 days

#2 posted 10-26-2011 12:43 PM

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

18756 posts in 2596 days

#3 posted 10-26-2011 01:12 PM

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.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View 489tad's profile


3370 posts in 3040 days

#4 posted 10-26-2011 01:16 PM

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 Rob200's profile


313 posts in 3198 days

#5 posted 10-26-2011 03:21 PM

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 3464 days

#6 posted 10-26-2011 04:27 PM

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


13345 posts in 3702 days

#7 posted 10-27-2011 12:19 AM

Congrats on your new grandchild.

View meikou's profile


115 posts in 3664 days

#8 posted 10-27-2011 10:36 PM

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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