Walnut and Maple Glider Cradle

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Project by jwhirry posted 06-07-2012 08:16 PM 3953 views 6 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Walnut and Maple cradle for my brothers first child.

I have told people the design is about 90% my own. I bought plans for a pendulum cradle that I was going to adapt, but the size was not as listed, and I did not care for the techniques used (too many obvious shortcuts) so looking at dozens if not hundreds of cradle pictures, and reading safety regulations, I drew my own plans incorporating design features I liked or creating my own.

Slats, rails, and support are all mortise & tenon, I have done mortise & tenon in timber frame barn construction but never with furniture before this project. In the project there is only a total of 64 joints, but I counted up a total of 70 mortise & tenon cut when including pieces that I had to remake, I had a small, but unfortunately quite damaging, dry fit accident. I cut the tenons mostly on my table saw, and mortises were started with my drill press using an end mill or brad point bit and finished by hand with a chisel. The panel ends were made with a panel bit kit and router table, I just matched 2 nice maple boards and edge glued to make the width for the center boards.

The glider arms on the cradle would be something like version 2.6 and while serviceable, are not anywhere close to perfect. I am still planning version 3 and hoping they are much closer to my image of perfection.

I finished in shellac, but it is not a very good job. My niece came a week early, and even with putting in every minute of free time, it was rush to get on a few coats of shellac, and since I was honestly more sleep deprived than the new parents when I was doing this, I made a few nasty mistakes in the application. I was out of time at home, we had to leave to deliver it, but I managed to make it presentable after a couple of hours of work at my brothers, and I plan to refinish the cradle once my niece is done with it.

If I had to do the whole project again, I would not go with the external support for the glider. It is difficult to get the support stiff enough to not flex with the motion of the cradle. I would also make the feet a larger width than the cradle, this cradle is stable, but more stability would not go to waste.

Like many others, I am my own worst critic, I look at this and every flaw sticks out like a sore thumb. But it will serve baby and parents well, and I received quite a few compliments. Everyone loves the look of the maple in contrast with the walnut. Some of the maple is quilted and it is always interesting watching people irresistibly touch it, and then be awed at its smoothness. Sorry I don’t have better pictures, these were taken with my phone, my wife took some with her camera as soon as she shares them with me I will try and put some better pictures up here.

5 comments so far

View Luke's profile


290 posts in 2830 days

#1 posted 06-07-2012 08:23 PM

What better combination is there than the contrast of Walnut and Maple… Great work! Beautiful cradle. In most cases you are the only one that notices the flaws.

View GenerationWW's profile


521 posts in 2393 days

#2 posted 06-08-2012 12:29 AM

Very nice! I can see something like this being a hot seller, great job.

-- list your handcrafted treasures @ for free!

View Robsshop's profile


907 posts in 3118 days

#3 posted 06-09-2012 06:13 AM

Very nice looking cradle, the design and wood combo blend together nicely ! Great project and cool gift !

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View Tombombadill's profile


36 posts in 2817 days

#4 posted 06-09-2012 03:37 PM

Excellent workmanship. Great materials selection.

View Roger's profile


20948 posts in 2948 days

#5 posted 06-15-2012 04:02 PM

Beautiful cradle for an upcoming new baby. Luv those wood combos

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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