Baby Cradle / Glider Walnut

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Project by Karson posted 09-08-2006 05:05 AM 27104 views 16 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The project that I’ve most recently completed is a Baby Cradle / Glider. The cradle uses a glider function instead of a swinging function. This was selected because if was felt that it could be more soothing to the baby or in this case babies. (Twins) It was felt that a cradle has a life span of a few months but a glider becomes a piece of furniture that can be used forever.

My daughter was concerned about having two babies in her arms and having to lean over the edge of a cradle and gently place the babies down without dropping them. It was for this reason that I made a drop down front on the cradle. I also made two lengths of swing arms. The short ones would place the mattress height at 28” above the floor, about kitchen table height. This would require very little bending over to place the babies in their bed.

When the short arms are replaced with the long arms then the cradle/glider has a seat base of about 18” off the floor. Because there are no moving parts in the front of the cradle, then a stool could be placed there to allow the toddlers to climb into the cradle.

Sliding catches are used to hold the folding side up. A full length piano hinge holds the upper drop-down side to the lower section. The whole front section is removable to convert to a glider.

The cradle was constructed with Black Walnut for the base wood, maple spindles and Walnut Burl veneer on Walnut for the raised panels. The mattress base was made with ¾” plywood with Waterfall Bubinga veneer applied to both sides. The legs and the cradle had ball bearings pressed into each side. The hangers has 3/8 – 16 T-Nuts pressed onto arms. The hanger bolts were ½” shoulder bolts that are normally used for lawn mower axle bolts. The ½” portion went thru the bearings and the 3/8” threads screwed into the t-nuts. The heads of the bolts were epoxied into wooden knobs so no tools are required to disassemble. The finish was Danish Oil covered with three coats of Amber shellac sprayed then sanded. The top coats were clear French Polish. Additional pictures of the construction of this cradle and another one with Curly Cherry can be viewed at Select sets and the pictures seem to be the last set in the series.

Some construction photos are posted in the Cherry / Maple cradle below.

The Cherry / Maple Cradle that I made for my daughter and her twins Zach and Hannah can be viewed here. Click for details

I found some replacement bearings that could be used for the hangers in this cradle FR6-2RS Sealed Ball Bearings, or FR6-ZZ Shielded Ball Bearings

The cheapest that I found is at

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

36 comments so far

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5783 days

#1 posted 09-08-2006 06:35 PM

That is really cool. I hope to someday make furniture for grandchildren, but I’m in no rush as my oldest daughter is only 12! I still have time to build up my skills to match yours!

Excellent work. That should last for years and years.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5756 days

#2 posted 09-10-2006 10:44 PM

Beautiful, Great idea about converting it to a glider. I was almost going to build a cradle once, until I thought about how long it would be used.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5784 days

#3 posted 09-11-2006 05:56 AM

Yes, I like that you made it multi-purposeful…. My grandfather built a cradle for my mom. Well, me actually. And after 25 plus years of gathering dust (since my sister moved out of it), 2 of his great-grand daughters finally got to use it… imagine it won’t be long before it goes back into cold storage before my daughter or neice will be needing it. One good thing, since it takes such little abuse, it’s bound to survive several more generations.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Gary's profile


1551 posts in 5781 days

#4 posted 09-11-2006 10:31 PM

Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Love the design.

-- Gary, Florida

View mikeH's profile


98 posts in 5748 days

#5 posted 09-12-2006 03:36 PM

great idea. love the choice of woods. waterfall bubinga is one of my favorites. i wanted to build one for my daughters but the wife talked me out it because they would be in it for such a short time. wish i would have built it. yours looks great.

-- mjhaines

View hoosierseabee's profile


2 posts in 5731 days

#6 posted 09-12-2006 05:45 PM

A new heirloom. Wonderful color and texture. This will last for centuries.

-- cdavidbarnes

View Tom's profile


1 post in 5730 days

#7 posted 09-13-2006 05:06 PM

Outstanding craftsmanship. Very innovative. Excellent job

View Karrie's profile


15 posts in 5730 days

#8 posted 09-13-2006 10:13 PM

There is nothing like a great idea coming out better than imagined. This is the case with this beautiful and functional cradle. I should know – it is my twins that sleep in it daily. The craftmanship is fabulous and the pictures don’t do it justice. I cannot believe that you did this without any pattern more than our thoughts. I am excited to have this in my living room for years to come. My whole family fits in the glider – Thanks Papa!!

-- Karrie

View kramers's profile


1 post in 5730 days

#9 posted 09-14-2006 04:23 AM

This glider cradle looks great! Beautiful wood and great craftsmanship.
Should last for many a year to come and many grandchildren.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5862 days

#10 posted 09-15-2006 05:35 PM

Hey Karson: I must confess that it was real tempting to rate you with a “1” to try and lower your score so that my own project would look better. But, it just wasn’t in my heart to do that. I did think about it, but good work like this deserves the proper rating. I hope you win the contest, this project surely deserves that kind of respect from your lumberjock peers.

Not only is it beautiful, and the engineering a real feat, but thinking about the special use of this piece gives me a “warm” feeling all over.

I helped my dad build a walnut/spindled cradle in 1983 when my youngest sister was born. At the time, it gave us something to do with our nerves, anticipating a new baby in the family again. It also gave my dad and I our last project to work together on, as I was leaving for college and to start my own adult life. I am proud to say that the names of my two children, and my neice and nephew are now written below my sister’s name and birth date. There is a wonderfully special thing about new life in a family, and resting that new life in such a project built out of love and anticipation, makes the tradition of family cradles something a family never forgets, I can say from experience. I can’t even write about the memories without tearing up remembering the days in the shop working on the project together, me at the lathe doing repetitive work on the turned spindles, while dad worked on the carcus and panels. Then, the joy of seeing my new baby sister laying in that cradle is like a photograph in my mind. My baby sister is now a grown woman, married, and one day I hope she will get the chance to lay her own children in that cradle and proudly add their names and birthdates to the family log on the bottom of the cradle. When my own children were born, we pulled the cradle out of storage and my dad and I once again worked together to spiff it up, and make any needed repairs. When my wife layed our first child in that cradle for the first time, she cried, and so that legacy continues on in the family. You just can’t make things often that have such a close-knit relationship with a family. I have been asked to build a fancy box for the ashes of a boy who died of cancer a month ago. That project will be close to the attached family emotions of a cradle.

Sure, the babies don’t stay in them long, maybe 6 months at the most. BUT, there is more to a project of this type than just the long-term function of it. The relationship between the cradle-maker and cradle-user far outweighs the fact that the babies don’t stay in them long. If you are of the age of being a grandparent, wouldn’t it be a wonderful legacy to leave for your family to have built a beautiful cradle for your family to use long after your time here is finished? Watching your wife, or daughter rock their first baby in your cradle is something that exists deeper in the core of what makes us different than the apes, far deeper than the long-term functional limitiations. It is the base of our hearts. For all of the woodworkers out there that have ever considered making a cradle, I would surely encourage you to do it. The memories will last a lifetime from that first 6 months of use. The type of project that all of us ought to have in our legacy when our woodworking days are done. Sam Maloof says in his autobiography that when an order for a baby cradle comes into the shop, all other projects stop, making an immediate opening in the shop schedule. As he says, “babies don’t wait (paraphrased).”

Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5857 days

#11 posted 09-17-2006 08:48 PM

Mark : You are a class act, and I thank you very much for the comments. I’ve made 4 baby cradles one for each of my three girls and now one for my wife (Grandmother). Yes watching the grandbabies and rocking them gives as much satisfaction, as the making of the cradle.

And by the way I did vote “1” on yours.

Just kidding, your rocker is beautiful, someday I might try to make one myself.


-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View MTM's profile


1 post in 5723 days

#12 posted 09-21-2006 03:15 AM

I’ll let you know when I need one for my baby.!!!

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5857 days

#13 posted 09-21-2006 03:20 AM

Your on Mr & Mrs MTM

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Stephanie's profile


1 post in 5720 days

#14 posted 09-23-2006 11:08 PM

Wow, that cradle is beautiful. I would have loved to have something like that when my babies were little, especially made for me by a family member. I know a lot of love, along with talented hard work went in to the crafting of such a beautiful and sentimental piece.

-- Stephanie

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5771 days

#15 posted 09-26-2006 06:03 AM


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