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Building Baby Stokes' 3-in-1 Crib

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Blog series by Will Stokes updated 11-24-2011 09:24 PM 16 parts 30775 reads 31 comments total

Part 1: The Design

05-08-2011 07:50 PM by Will Stokes | 1 comment »

Now that the baby cradle is out of the way, it’s time for me to get to work on building a crib. Since I still have a bunch of cherry left over from building the entertainment center and coffee table, we decided on a design that utilizes cherry for the frame and maple for the slats and panels. Melissa and I decided we wanted a 3-in-1 variety so that we can keep using it over many years. The toddler bed is more or less the crib with a slightly different “foot-boardR...

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Part 2: Layout and Rough Cutting

05-08-2011 08:20 PM by Will Stokes | 2 comments »

As I get more experience wood working, I find it interesting how I have come to enjoy seemingly basic or what in the past has been downright challenging parts of a project that I sometimes feared in the past. Stock selection is one of those. I’ve started taking a very different approach to stock selection fairly recently. This is probably the result of watching the Wood Whisperer. I had a great time working with my wife on this step. She helped me pick and choose boards to use for the v...

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Part 3: Surface Planing

05-08-2011 08:54 PM by Will Stokes | 4 comments »

In the past I’ve tried to do something new in every project, a new type of joinery, using a new tool, pattern routing, etc. This is probably one of the first real projects in a while that I’ve made a conscious decision not to do that (because this way the project will be easier and go more smoothy, right? :-) ) That said, I can’t help but try out a few new techniques to better accomplish the same steps I’m familiar with along the way. Last time it was using the jig-saw...

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Part 4: Jointing and Ripping to Width

05-08-2011 09:14 PM by Will Stokes | 1 comment »

Nothing ground-breaking in this entry of this blog series. With the surfaces planed, I next turn to my jointer to joint one edge of each board. The following pictures are more less for your amusement as I set about jointing one edge of each board on a tiny 4 1/2” bench-top jointer. In the last photo you can see something I’m quite fond of – a new peg board Melissa helped me setup a few weeks back. I now have more or less all my measuring and marking tools organized in...

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Part 5: Cutting it all to length

05-09-2011 12:48 AM by Will Stokes | 3 comments »

If you’ve been following along on this blog so far, you already know I’m trying to experiment with small tricks along the way as I build this crib. In the past in order to mark stock before cutting it to length I’ve just used a tape measure an pencil. This time I’m trying something slightly different. After first cleaning up one end, I pull a tape and make a mark. Then, instead of attempting to visually line up that line (wherever it ended up across the w...

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Part 6: Once upon a time...

05-25-2011 04:58 AM by Will Stokes | 6 comments »

Now that the cherry framework has been milled down, it’s time to start laying out the numerous mortise and tenon joints. I begin by making a few “story sticks” using some scraps I had laying around. Once the story sticks are laid out, it’s time to transfer the lines to the actual stock. Since I don’t have to pull a tape and remember where to make all the marks this part is virtually dummy proof. Then I extend the lines using a small combination squa...

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Part 7: Bridle Joints and Mortises

06-14-2011 04:14 AM by Will Stokes | 1 comment »

Before I attack the stepped pattern, it made sense to work on the bridle joints that occur where the top of the posts meet the ends of the top rails. Using my super sled and a small attachment I made for cutting tenons, I made the mortise on the top of the posts using a standard blade by making a pass, rotating the board and taking another, before finally moving the fence and using a 3rd pass to clean up the center. The result is a perfectly centered mortise. The only problem I find I have wi...

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Part 8: Making the Stepped Pattern

06-14-2011 04:30 AM by Will Stokes | 2 comments »

Once the mortises were complete, it was time to finally move on to the stepped pattern. I first roughed out the pattern at the band saw so as to remove the majority of the waste. After the problems I ran into while building a pair of cradles I now know I need to get to within 1/16” of the line I’ll eventually template route to. I’m currently borrowing my neighbors bench-top bandsaw which has a slightly dull blade and doesn’t always cut perfectly straight so I...

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Part 9: Spindles, Panels and Splines

11-24-2011 08:29 PM by Will Stokes | 0 comments »

With the cherry frame more or less completed, it was time to turn my attention to the maple spindles, panels, and splines. My Dad helped me pick boards and layout the various parts, then cut, rip, and plane them all down to size. I felt terrible milling down 4/4 stock down to 1/2”. In the future, provided I get a band saw capable of resawing, I think I might use 8/4 stock and resaw down to three 1/2” boards. Oh well, there’s always something to try in the futu...

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Part 10: Tenons and Stepped Panels

11-24-2011 08:39 PM by Will Stokes | 0 comments »

One of the more complex aspects of this project was the stepped panels. The step in the top and bottom rails actually occurs at two different locations. Rather then try to mill out a stepped tenon on the panels I cut them oversize initially, ripped them in three portions, then used my new dado stack to mill out all the tenons. At this point I did a few dry assemblies and started thinking about my clamping and glue up strategy. I decided trying to glue up entire sides at once was a ...

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Part 11: Drilling and Large Glue-ups

11-24-2011 08:45 PM by Will Stokes | 0 comments »

Before gluing up the front, back and sides I decided to first drill the holes for the faux pins. I used my small combination square to carefully lay these all out, then just set my depth stop on the drill press and proceed to drill a seemingly endless number of holes all over the cherry frame. It felt so weird doing this after I had spent all this time trying to keep theses pieces looking as perfect as possible. I guess you could say I had to take a leap of faith that I would like the way it ...

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Part 12: Cleanup

11-24-2011 08:49 PM by Will Stokes | 0 comments »

After the glue had about an hour to firm up I would remove the blue tape and use a sharp 1/2” chisel to do some cleanup before the glue completely cured. You can see photos of the glued up back, sides and toddler front here. Once the joints were completely cured I used a plane to clean up tenon portions of the bridal joints.

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Part 13: Detailing

11-24-2011 08:53 PM by Will Stokes | 0 comments »

At this point I really felt like I was entering the home stretch. With the help of my Dad we made a slew of 1/2” and 3/8” faux pins. I made a simple jig to drill shallow blind holes in the backs of these and used short lengths of dowel stock to glue these all in place. I used my combination square to make sure each was rotated just right. Next I installed various threaded inserts that will be used to bolt and screw the crib together. Using some maple and ash scrap I ...

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Part 14: Drilling, Tapping & Assembly

11-24-2011 09:05 PM by Will Stokes | 2 comments »

Assembly was pretty straight forward, just time consuming as I had to drill out the remaining threaded inserts into the posts and make sure all the parts lined up just right. OK, perhaps I’m glossing over the details just a tad. The front and back of the crib are 1” thick, but the threaded inserts I bought from Rockler were 1 1/4” long. Oops! They also required a very rare drill bit size I had to order online from some no-name supplier from Brooklyn. Once I had the bit in ha...

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Part 15: Sanding And Applying Finish

11-24-2011 09:18 PM by Will Stokes | 1 comment »

Things were getting really down to the wire so I enlisted my wife’s help again with the final finishing. I still needed to ease all the edges which we did by hand with sandpaper. After cleaning up I applied 2 coats of Tried & True Danish oil, followed up with 3 coats of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal.

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Part 16: Final Assembly and Tommy Tries it Out!

11-24-2011 09:24 PM by Will Stokes | 8 comments »

After the crib dried for a couple weeks it was finally time to bring it upstairs and install it the nursery. I’m pretty happy with how this project turned out and Tommy seems to really enjoy being in it. He’s not ready for the crib just yet. We hope to keep him in his cradle for another month. That should give the crib a bit more time to dry. I also need to make two shim boards for the ends of the mattress to close a gap required to support a double bed in the future. ...

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