A rookie on the Path! #1: First Cradle

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Blog entry by john111 posted 08-01-2013 01:50 AM 1430 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I am building my first real piece of furniture out of ALL wood. I have made tables, beds and bakers racks, among other things, out of steel and wood with some glass. I have never used nice hardwood and made what I consider fine furniture. I have been working on this cradle for a long time. Not everyday and only a couple hours at a time. I have run into some problems a long the way and have chalked them up to just a learning curve issue. Most could have been avoided with better planning and a little more patience. I can honestly tell you that the patience thing is the very hardest part. I have been inundated my whole construction career with “That is close enough!” “What is taking so %$#damn long!” Yelled in my ear from day one for 25 years. That isn’t going to change anytime soon! So to slow down and take my time is very hard for me. My troubles have been minor until today. The problems have been mostly with the joinery. I have trouble getting a dowel joint to line up properly. They always seem to be just a little off. So I bought myself a dowel jig from Menards. Big mistake on that one. It could only be used on a butt joint and 1/2” material. Not what I needed. I went to Harbor Freight and picked one up. Believe it or not it works well! Not something I thought would happen with a precision tool from there. I also have trouble with making two pieces exactly the same. I think I have that figured out with the help of You Tube and this site. On to the big mistake! The way I ran the grain. On the leg for the cradle I had the bottom wider piece grain running parallel with the floor and the upright perpendicular to the floor. That means there has to be a joint where they meet. I dowelled those together and today when I was gluing the stretcher together the leg snapped right off. NOT GOOD! So I am going to change that. Actually I have not liked that since I made it. It seemed really weak. Especially for an item that is going to be holding a baby! So as I have titled this post. I am a Rookie Woodworker. I really do enjoy the building furniture that I can stand back and admire. Well, really the whole process minus the finishing! Hopefully I can start to enjoy that one day. Thanks for reading!

-- john111

4 comments so far

View Gary's profile


9416 posts in 4209 days

#1 posted 08-01-2013 03:50 AM

John, if you can, post a few pictures. It will likely get lots of comments and info you can use. We all have to learn, especially joinery and finishing. But there is lots of help here.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View john111's profile


72 posts in 2761 days

#2 posted 08-01-2013 11:54 AM

Will do next time Gary. I didn’t take many pics this time but on the next one I most certainly will. Thanks!

-- john111

View mafe's profile


12592 posts in 3865 days

#3 posted 01-18-2015 02:57 PM

Looks fine from here.
The choice of wood are also quite important when it comes to strength, some are really strong in all directions some are strong only in the fiber direction, so not all wood can be used for all designs.
The important is that we learn as we go and this is also the fun part I think in woodworking.
I think you are a long way by now, when reading your thoughts on it.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Jamie McDonald's profile

Jamie McDonald

185 posts in 3057 days

#4 posted 07-06-2018 12:10 AM

Looks like it is coming along nicely! I understand the dowels lining up concern. Take a minute and look up how to draw bore with intentionally off setting the holes… that might help. When you start combining steel and wood that will be an exciting day! Look forward to seeing it finished… I’ve got a hammer you can borrow if you need it! Thanks for the comment!

-- "The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes - ah, that is where the art resides!" --Artur Schnabel

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