Crib #1: Design

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Blog entry by RenB posted 01-21-2018 06:21 AM 784 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Crib series Part 2: Building Curves »

All right please bear with me, this is my first Blog entry on any topic.

The wife and I are expecting our first child at the end of May. We are equal parts excited and terrified (to be honest I’m a little more on the terrified side, but don’t tell her). The only project on my list currently is a Bluetooth speaker, but that is on hold because the battery I ordered is coming from china with a one-month ETA. So, I thought that maybe I would get in over my head and build the crib. Turns out the Wife is on board with this idea. This will by far be the largest project I have attempted. I know that this is going to be a complex project and that if I tried to build it with no plans it would quickly spiral out of control and I would soon be trying to fix design conflicts until I pulled out all of my hair. Because I would like to keep all of my remaining hair, I decided to use SketchUp.

The Wife and I went to the local big box baby supply store to look at different design concepts and she immediately decided that she wanted the back to be arched and for the whole thing to be a 4 in 1 bed. The plan is that the front can come off the crib and turn it into a toddler bed and then eventually use the back as a head board for a bed.

I have a strong feeling that I am going to be slightly fond of this little girl when she gets here, so the next step was to figure out how to make this thing safe. I looked up safety features and found that there were a few that I needed to be concerned about. The first is the slate(bar) spacing and the second was the mattress height. There were also a couple of others that had to do with the strength of the slates and other components, but I am not really worried about that because I plan on making this bomb proof.

This is the design I came up with.

I started with the dimension of the mattress and started building around that. I figured that I wanted the railing a little low because the Wife is 5’2”. As of right now I am planning on using White Oak for this. The Wife wants this to be White with the grain texture showing through. Just one more thing I have never done, but I figured Oak would be the best bet.

There are two things that concern me with this design. The first being the larger curved piece of molding on the back panel, the smaller bead I don’t see a problem with because of its size I can just do this with a round over. However, I’m not too sure on how I am going to manage getting the chamfer on larger curved molding. I have a couple of ideas but the all end in a rasp and sanding.

The second is the center of the back panel. I am not sure how I am going to figure out how to solve for wood movement. Right now, I am debating on either using a tongue and groove between the boards with a 1/16” or so space between them and attaching them on the sides with a single screw in the center edge of each side. The other solution would be to use either MDF or plywood and laminate Oak to the front and back. I have never made my own veneer, but while I’m in over my head I might as well be all the way in.

The plan right now is to start plugging away at this project. I have a feeling that It is going to take me awhile to get this done.

-- Darren, La Habra CA

1 comment so far

View EarlS's profile


3785 posts in 3157 days

#1 posted 01-21-2018 12:30 PM

Darren, Congratulations on the upcoming daughter. I have a couple that are college age, but your “terrified” comment took me back to the night we brought her home from the hospital. Terrified was exactly how we both felt. My only advice on that front is to not be shy about asking friends and relatives for help if you need it.

As for the crib, I wish I had been far enough along in my woodworking career to build one for each of them. Maybe grand kids. I have to say your SketchUp skills look pretty good too.

I did a large arch a while back and used an oval jig that you can attach the router to. It took some set up and practice but the results turned out great. I used tongue and groove without glue kind of like you would do a raised panel on a door. Check out Woodhaven

Hope this helps

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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