Crib with a Unique Mattress Support

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Project by Amr posted 07-01-2016 10:05 AM 2305 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is the crib I built for my son back in 2013 and the whole reason (excuse) why I got into woodworking. The crib was completed 4 months behind schedule because I figured I should probably get some practice for a couple of weeks and try my hand at building a workbench. Looking back, that very first project was probably an early warning sign for how all my future projects were going to turn out; filled with indecisiveness, over engineered and extremely ambitious for a beginner. I ended up with a Roubo-ish workbench with a pair of very fancy Benchcrafted vices, but instead of building it in 2 weeks, it took me 3 months :)

The crib is made out of walnut and the finish is 4 coats of Waterlox original, which still looks great after 3 years.

It was a nice exercise in cutting mortise and tennons (lots of them) and my original plan was to glue the spindles to the main frame, but after everything was dry fitted, it turned out very solid with no movement at all, so I decided not to glue. This allowed us to later remove some spindles from the front and convert the crib into a toddler bed, and perhaps one day the whole thing will be knocked down and packed into a large box for storage.

I used the bed bolts with captured barrel nuts from Lee Valley to fasten the main frame together, so it is way stronger than it will ever need to be. The rail caps are all fastened to the rails with lag bolts that are tapped into the wood. Those side caps are the result of my very first attempt at bent laminations :)

One of the design challenges that came up was that I wanted to do something different from the available mattress support frames, which are a metal platform that attaches to the inside of the legs through multiple holes at different heights. The idea I came up with instead was using those oak planks that could unfold and go into grooves on either sides in order to raise the mattress by 8 inches.

Also, being a new woodworker, I obsessed over wood movement enough that I created a recess for the legs so that they do not dig into the the caps as the upper and lower rails expanded and contracted. Looking back, I don’t know if this was all too necessary.

7 comments so far

View BurlyBob's profile


6383 posts in 2717 days

#1 posted 07-01-2016 12:38 PM

Very nice job. An inventive idea on raising the mattress.

View gsimon's profile


1313 posts in 2565 days

#2 posted 07-01-2016 01:44 PM

very nice project and well thought out

-- Greg Simon

View swirt's profile


4068 posts in 3423 days

#3 posted 07-01-2016 01:48 PM

That is a great looking bed and some nice ideas. Don’t sell yourself short… over engineering is is our mind’s version of playing.

-- Galootish log blog,

View PPK's profile


1470 posts in 1261 days

#4 posted 07-01-2016 02:27 PM

Great job! Very impressive, and not at all amateur for being an… amateur! :) I made a cradle for my children, and have woodburned their names onto the bottom of it, to make it really a family heirloom. (and it’s even more overbuilt than yours) Good build, and you can’t go wrong building things like this for family!

-- Pete

View PPK's profile


1470 posts in 1261 days

#5 posted 07-01-2016 02:32 PM

Also, I think I speak for the crowd – we want to see your Roubo-ish work bench and vises!!

-- Pete

View Ivan's profile


14785 posts in 3319 days

#6 posted 07-01-2016 05:30 PM

Beautiful design and wood used. I like clean straight lines.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Amr's profile


13 posts in 2221 days

#7 posted 07-02-2016 04:45 AM

Thanks guys. Nothing like sharing your work with fellow woodworkers who identify with the craft.

Pete, your work is very nice. Here is a picture of the workbench, I will try to take more pictures now that it has been in service for 4 years. The top is hard maple and the base is poplar, only 5 ft long. I changed my mind in the middle of the build when Benchcrafted released the criss cross mechanism for their leg vise, so I had to modify the design from a trestle type with a twin screw vise to what you see there in order to accommodate the leg vise :)

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