Doll Cradle from antique design

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Project by wwbob posted 12-03-2010 07:25 AM 4846 views 10 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The project thumbnail picture shows three different cradles: from left to right: blue lacquer; original; stained and clear lacquer. The other picture show the five parts that slide together to form the cradle.

This project began almost a year ago. The simple request to make another doll cradle based on an original my wife got from her grandfather. This cradle is made from 5 pieces of 1/4” plywood. The cradle bottom measures about 9” by 15”. The original is below:

How hard can it be? Using the original cradle as a temple, got out the router with a trimming bit and duplicated each part. The problem was I didn’t like it. The cradle didn’t rock. The arcs on the bottoms were different. The straight edges were not straight. Since there was only five parts, why not use the automated router to cut out the parts. How hard can it be?

First step was to create a 3D design of the cradle. Sketchup seemed the logical choice. Three months of playing with Sketchup yielding a new design with common smooth arcs, straight lines and slightly larger. Opps, Sketchup, the free version, has no way get the design out into the software that drives the automated router.

Get software to drive the router on my home computer (much begging and pleading required) and relaid out the crib. A month of figuring out how to create the design differently in this new software. Sketchup is much simpler to use than the router software. Begin testing the design on “Sweet Vicky”. Sweet Vicky is name given to the router in “my” workshop.

My workshop:

Sweet Vicky:

Sweet Vicky is a 4×8 foot router with 6 different cutting bits. Pretty nice.

How to finish such a fine design. My teacher suggested lacquer. I had never spray anything, but how hard can it be?

I borrow an HVLP gun from the teacher. I have to buy lacquer based sanding sealer and some clear lacquer. I spray every piece of scrap wood in the workshop, I’m still am not 100% pleased with some test cradles, primarily the way the plywood takes the stain. I bump into my boss from 20 years ago at Home Depot in the paint isle and we talk finishing. He suggests tinted lacquer and I’m off to Dunn-Edwards. Then to Woodcraft for a HVLP gun with a coupon on Black Friday. More pieces of scrap wood get lovingly spray painted. I become average at spraying lacquer. Full production can began.

I can cut two cradles from a 3×5 foot piece of 1/4” Baltic birch. The picture shows a board with a few parts removed. I pre-finished this board before cutting it.

So there it is, 1 year later, I learned Sketchup, some router software advanced commands, spraying clear lacquer, spraying tinted lacquer, acquired a few tools and have several handmade Christmas presents to give away.

Is this a great hobby or what!

-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

2 comments so far

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3094 days

#1 posted 12-03-2010 02:52 PM

Great job! I have 5 grand daughters that would like one of these, great Christmas gift idea.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View Micksda's profile


5 posts in 2815 days

#2 posted 12-03-2010 10:50 PM

Wow. That is amazing. Thanks for taking the time to write and post the pictures.

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