Cherry 3 in 1 Crib

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Project by Ryan Brown posted 05-02-2010 10:41 PM 5843 views 12 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife and I are expecting our second child (another boy!), and here is what I made for my son who is almost two. Since he’ll be in a toddler bed soon, I decided to make this for him instead of buying a new crib. I also made the guard rail and the bed rails to convert it into a “full” sized bed. Since we would not have the need to raise and lower the mattress support, I decided to omit them from the design. Why have a nice piece with those silver inserts up the insides of the legs if they aren’t going to get used? One other change I made was using slats for the sides instead of the plywood panels. It took a while before we decided on a finish, and the samples in the photos were some of the finalists. Here’s what we went with… First coat 50% denatured alcohol and 50% Seal Coat, 2 coats of General Finishes water based dye stain – cinnamon, 3 coats General Finishes HP Poly water based semi-gloss sprayed on. I scratched the finish between coats with synthetic abrasive pads, up to gray before the last coat.

The plans were in WOOD magazine a few years ago, but I didn’t have the time to build it. So, looks like #2 gets the crappy “mahogany finish” poplar crib from Target until I can build a new one for him too. If I do wind up making another one like this I will be making a few other changes. For one, as expensive as A1 or B2 cherry plywood is, you’d think they could use a core material a little stronger than poplar. Care had to be taken so that the cross dowels don’t start pulling through the plywood when you crank things down tight. Next time I’ll just use solid wood instead of the plywood. Second, although the finish turned out okay on this, I would like to just use a blond shellac followed by poly – no artificial color. Other than that, I’m happy with the finished product.

Thankfully I had some help on this rather large and time consuming project. Little Helper
Yup. Starting him out young!

This project was definitely more expensive than something store-bought if I take into account tools acquired. Of course, by making your own things, you can easily surpass the junk in furniture stores. So here’s a quick rundown in case anyone else is interested in throwing one of these 3 in 1 cribs together.

Cherry Plywood – $112 (A1 grade)
Cherry Lumber – about $150
Hardware Kit, incl. mattress support – about $80 after shipping
Bulls Eye Seal Coat Shellac – $11
General Finishes HP Waterbased Poly - Semi-gloss – $25
General Finishes Water Based Dye Stain – $12

That doesn’t include the tools that made my life so much easier that I purchased for the project. Like an HVLP sprayer, drill press, Ridgid oscillating belt/spindle sander, dust collection system (2 HP Laguna with 1 micron canister – craigslist find), clamps and a Rikon 14 deluxe bandsaw.

I would like to thank my wife for all of her support on this project and “allowing” me to get a ton of new tools, and for understanding that perfection takes time. Thanks dad for the hand-me-down drill press! I’d also like to thank Charles Neil for some of his guidance on the finish.
Now I all I need is some more wood… Oh, and time. Can never have too much of that…

Next project – matching dresser, but with 6 drawers instead of open shelves.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem. Roanoke, VA

6 comments so far

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 3117 days

#1 posted 05-02-2010 11:58 PM

That looks very nice! Planning ahead to the “real bed” is smart idea. At first, I was thinking 3-in-1 was going to mean it was for triplets :)

PS – I don’t think tool purchases count toward the cost of a project. In fact, the rule is your new tool purchases MUST equal the cost of materials for each project :) :)

View sras's profile


4880 posts in 3271 days

#2 posted 05-03-2010 03:02 AM

Very well done! I see you are starting the shop training early.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View ianlee74's profile


153 posts in 3090 days

#3 posted 05-03-2010 03:18 AM

Nice job! No project is ever complete unless it comes with at least one new tool! I guess you owe your wife a few more projects now. :)

-- Ian, Tennessee

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3916 days

#4 posted 05-03-2010 04:53 AM

You did a great job on your crib. I am starting to build a crib right now. I hope mine turns out as nice as yours. Thanks for the inspiration!

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View CharlesNeil's profile


2436 posts in 4012 days

#5 posted 05-03-2010 03:15 PM

Excellent my friend , just excellent.. and the crib looks great as well

View brownmd's profile


17 posts in 3196 days

#6 posted 05-03-2010 07:27 PM

Great looking project… And as a newbie, I really appreciate it the prices on there. It’s nice to get a look at a nice looking project to see about how much it’d be to produce! Good work.

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