Finally I can begin to assemble the pieces and get this project finished before she grows up and leaves home…
In order to clamp the cradle sides and ends, I had to fashion some “brackets” or cauls to support my clamps which would keep the same angle and stay off of the dovetails while I glued it together.
Since there was at least a week between cutting the pieces and assembly (I had burned my left hand in a yard fire and that kept me out of the shop for almost 4 days – fine dust really stings and is hard to get cleaned off of the blisters), the dovetail joints were a little looser than when I started, so I did get very slight glue lines along one side after it all cured.
While the carcass is curing, time to clean up and shape the rockers a bit more. I used a couple different spokeshaves to create some facets on the edges of the rockers and the sides and ends of the cradle.
I did not use a router on this project except for the dovetail joints. Since my daughter grew up seeing me make furniture and projects for other people, I had taught her to appreciate hand tooling and little imperfections that show up naturally in the lumber (and hopefully her daughter will appreciate it too).
I also used my scrub plane to purposely leave some “tracks and gentle imperfections” along the interior and exterior of the cradle, which gives it more character and makes it less like something you could get at a big box store. Leaves more of a hand crafted feel and less “machined”.
Setting the case carefully on the bottom and checking if it really will rock.
After fitting the case properly on the base, I marked out and drilled some enlarged holes (angled at 10 degees) to fasten the bottom securely to the sides.
After thinking about it the night before, I woke up early and the idea was already in my head how I would keep the carcass in alignment while trying to flip it over so I could attach the bottom with screws.
I cut a few 1/2” scraps of plywood, bevelled them at 10 degrees on the end and sides, slid them up to the corners and sides, and used a 22 guage nailer to pin them in place. Then it was easy to pick the whole thing up and flip it upside down.
After fastening the bottom to the sides, it was time to secure the rockers to the bottom. A drop of glue on each end of the rocker in the dovetailed slot is all I used. Probably a spot of glue in the middle would have been better to allow for wood movement, but I could not see how I could get that done. Pushing the rockers into the slot would have spread the glue down the whole slot.
Some final shaping on the rockers, sides and ends of the curved parts of the cradle and we are just about ready for the first coat of oil.
And I threw in a couple little hearts made of tigerwood.
I usually use Hardwax Oil by Fiddes on my small projects, as it gives a very durable finish with a low lustre.
A little more rubbing and polishing and I am just about ready to get this out of my shop and over to the new owners…
On the elevator on the way down to my truck.
Delivered to the new owner, and she is checking out the quality of the dovetail joinery!
And it looks like, yes, I have one vote as somebody likes it!!
Wait, maybe she just has a question…
-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."