Maple Cradle #2: Single day build!

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Blog entry by CalumetWoodworks posted 04-24-2015 04:39 PM 1838 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The making of a family heirloom Part 2 of Maple Cradle series Part 3: Woodburning signatures »

About 3 days after I got the parts for the cradle I broke out the plans…hoo boy….I may have bit off more than I can handle with this one. My shop is not equipped for larger projects. I have yet to get a band saw, table saw, router and router table, a planer. My shop is better equipped for smaller wood projects, pens, toys, puzzles, etc.

So..following the plans I started with the two rockers. Have you SEEN U-Bild plans?!? OMG! What the heck did I get myself into?!?

I taped the two pieces of lumber together and traced the pattern. I then got out my jig saw and started to cut the hard maple. The blade was smoking after a bit so I changed it, thinking it may be dull. The next blade started smoking after a few minutes as well. Crap! I only have two blades for the saw….well, lets try cutting them by hand, I have a hand saw….nope…no patience for that and I am not that skilled with hand tools….how about my scroll saw? It worked but I had to take small bites out of the wood and it took FOREVER to get them cut.

I did it…now…sand them, oh wait…I have to cut out a dado for the cross brace piece…should be easy right? Nope.. I figured I could just chisel out the dado since my scroll saw could barely handle the cuts before. Well, those guys on YouTube make chiseling look easy (of course they do! They’ve been doing it for years!). Ok this is going south real fast. What was I to do?

I did the only thing a man of my age could do…...

I called my dad for help.

He has a shop that is better equipped for larger furniture sized projects and has the experience to match.

We setup a time and day where I could bring over the parts and we would build it together.

Now for the fun part…pictures!!

Thankfully we met on a day with beautiful weather. Springs are bit chilly in Wisconsin! Below is the shop setup. You can see the plans tacked up on the garage door.

First step was to attach the rockers to the base of the cradle. The plans called for drilling dowel holes. Luckily my dad had some pre-made dowels with the little metal inserts to you can mark the matching piece!

We got that put together fairly easily.

Next up was the sides. The plans called for an 8 degree cut along the bottom of each side so it would flare out at the top. Dad took the pieces in the basement where his table saw is and started cutting. I sanded the rockers (actually this was done before assembly, didn’t have any pictures of that though). Then I used the band saw to cut the foot board into the curvy pattern and sanded that. It was time to get the canopy parts cut and sanded. This is what we had.

After cutting and sanding the curved sides my dad had to cut a 15 degree slope at the tops of the canopy supports. Here he is explaining to me what he is doing.

Unfortunately he ended up cutting two left pieces! The slopes at the top didn’t allow for the canopy support. We decided to scrap the canopy idea and just go with a normal cradle design. Here it is dry fit.

At this point we opted to use wood screws instead of dowels. I’ll either use wood filler to cover the screws or figure something else out.

We had started this build on a Friday morning at approximately 7:30am. The picture below was taken around 4pm. We had finished it!!

I had him sign and date the bottom of the cradle in sharpie as did I. My plan is to woodburn the signature in so it is permanent. My other plans are to do some kind of carved “T” for the head and foot boards..jury (meaning my wife) is still out on that. Then stain and finish. In order to match the nursery furniture I will be using General Finishes Java Gel stain.

Thanks for following along.

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