Glider Cradle Design Question

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Forum topic by jwhirry posted 05-22-2012 05:32 PM 2744 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 2161 days

05-22-2012 05:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut maple glider cradle

I am building a walnut and maple glider cradle for my brothers firstborn, who is due rather shortly, I looked at quite a few different designs, and decided I wanted to do a glider but I could not find any plans that I really liked.

So taking design elements I did like, I designed my own, but I have a design flaw, In the above picture you can see that I have some shaping, sanding and finishing to do yet, along with mortise for the stretcher and a few other things, I have it just assembled to test the glider mechanism. I have noticed that most gliders use an internal support, I don’t really like the way this looks on a cradle, and I could not find an explanation as to why most were designed this way, so I decided to do an external support. I now see some of the problems this has created.

The head piece of my support wants to pull in on the ends warping the head piece and eliminating any clearance I had for the swing arms. Also unless the cradle is pushed from near the center it will yaw to the left and right.

My ideas to save this design are to make a veneered head piece for the support to resist pulling in/warping and make swing arms like this picture.

I am hopping the yaw motion will be limited if not stopped once I have the bed in the cradle and everything is glued and glider arms are properly tightened.

Do you think this will work? Or should I scrap the external support—rebuild the cradle ends and go with an internal support.

I would also appreciate any advice on the length of glider arms. I am afraid too short will make the movement jerky, too long will just have too much motion. I currently have 7 inches, but the whole mechanism is not working well enough to show what the swing is like.

I have to act fast; the stork gave an ETA of less than 2 weeks.

2 replies so far

View jwhirry's profile


6 posts in 2161 days

#1 posted 05-23-2012 03:18 PM

As an update, I retested the above with additional washers to help with clearance. The motion seemed a bit too short and jerky with the 7” arms but it felt stable and yawing was greatly reduced.

So I cut new arms and glued block outs like above with a new length of 12”. I also, unfortunately, am out of walnut, but have enough maple so I cut out and glued a piece to the inside of each of the support heads.

If this looks too awkward or does not work I will have to break down and buy more walnut and build an internal support.

Thanks for viewing, and I will definitely appreciate any advice or comments.

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3199 days

#2 posted 05-23-2012 04:09 PM

One thing I’d suggest is to make the arms long enough to lower the top of the cradle to the top of your stand… That will lower the center of gravity of the cradle and make it more stable. You sure don’t want to have a newborn baby bounce around the room if someone knocks against it.

-- Hal, Tennessee

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