Heirloom Cradle for 1st Grandchild

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Project by Tdkbama posted 04-15-2011 05:30 PM 5261 views 6 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this about 2 years ago for our first Grandchild. I wanted to build something that reflected the importance of this event in our lives and I have to say – it turned out very well. I searched long and hard for just the right plans and finally settled on the Heirloom Cradle featured in the September 2007 issue of WOOD magazine. It was challenging for me, but a very enjoyable project.

It’s designed to be used and disassembled and stored for the next child’s use. The plans include a storage box designed to hold the cradle parts when it’s disassembled. As you can see from the photos, there are 7 major components which are held together by open mortise/tenons with pegs. The combined weight of the box and cradle is pretty heavy. I used 1/2” red oak for all components except the bottom piece which is 1/2” oak plywood.

The plans from WOOD magazine are very good. The full-size drawings are separated into parts which are a little tough to align, but after some trial-and-error, it works “ok”. I finished it with Minwax Golden Oak and several coats of poly. I had a local trophy shop engrave a brass plate with the child’s name and date of birth and attached it to the inside lid of the box That wll be done with each subsequent birth and be a very nice heirloom to pass down through the family.

-- Measure twice, but still make sure it's the right board

14 comments so far

View HawkDriver's profile


447 posts in 3140 days

#1 posted 04-15-2011 06:48 PM

VERY nicely done!

-- Patrick, Helicopters don't fly. They beat the air into submission.

View devann's profile


2250 posts in 3199 days

#2 posted 04-15-2011 07:38 PM

That’s a pretty sweet cradle for the grandchild. I’m sure that the proud parents will love it. Congratulations on the up coming grandbaby and welcome to lumberjocks.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 3861 days

#3 posted 04-15-2011 07:41 PM

Looking good, and familiar. :-) As you can see I didn’t take the plunge and build the case. I can see how the two combined would be pretty heavy. I like your idea of engraved brass plate, I just might have to do that. :-)

View Tdkbama's profile


8 posts in 3113 days

#4 posted 04-15-2011 09:37 PM

Thanks Will. I really like the contrasting color of your wood mix. I had a few disasters too. I don’t own a scroll saw and the handles in each end took FOREVER to finish using a jigsaw and spindle sander, rasps, etc. . Ya never know what’s going to cause problems.
Thanks again for the comments.

-- Measure twice, but still make sure it's the right board

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 3861 days

#5 posted 04-15-2011 09:52 PM

Thanks. :-) Very interesting. As you read I had a lot of problems but interestingly the handles proved no problem for me (phew!). A lot of people thought they looked hard. Here is how I went about them:

-I removed the bulk of the waste at the drill press using a forstner bit. That went quickly. By having a backer board I was drilling into I avoided tear out. I probably got to within ~1/8” of the line at this step

-I then used a spindle sander to sand to about ~1/16” of an inch

-I then used a template bit with my router top side to template route to the line

-I finally used a roundover bit with a bearing at the router table to ease the edge. I used this setup to ease edges all over the place actually, not just the handles.

Anyhow, this worked very well for me. I wish the rest of the project went as easily. :-)

View branch's profile


1142 posts in 3661 days

#6 posted 04-15-2011 10:16 PM

hi love the cradle great job

View Pav's profile


7 posts in 4227 days

#7 posted 04-16-2011 02:28 AM

Very nice work, I too just finished a Walnut version of the Wood magazine cradle last week.


View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 3861 days

#8 posted 04-16-2011 03:03 AM

@Pav: nice job. I like the jigs you built for drilling some of the holes. I wish I was smart enough to do that. :-) Oh well. I’m curious about how you attached the rockers to the bottom cleats. Did you make some sort of wooden bolt? Any reason you decided to go with danish oil + shellac and wax instead of the wipe-on poly you originally planned on doing? I’d write these comments on your project page, but you didn’t post it on LJ yet. :-)

View Tdkbama's profile


8 posts in 3113 days

#9 posted 04-16-2011 03:45 AM

Pav, that walnut version looks great. I wish i had made the templates as you did. I’m pretty sure i’ll be making more of these. Thanks for sharing all the photos!

Question, did your grandchild require the extra 2 inches you added to the length? ;>) Aren’t grandkids the best? I’ll be making lots of stuff for Lucas.

Thanks for posting.

-- Measure twice, but still make sure it's the right board

View a1Jim's profile


117721 posts in 4084 days

#10 posted 04-16-2011 05:06 AM

Really nice work,I like this a lot.

View Occie gilliam's profile

Occie gilliam

505 posts in 3803 days

#11 posted 05-07-2011 05:03 AM

Wow that could work just for a box Tdkbama
I’m going to make one as a box but a little different
Thanks for posting

-- OC down in Costa Rica. come down and see me some time. I'll keep the light on for you [email protected]

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3342 days

#12 posted 05-07-2011 05:28 AM

I like the brass plate ideaand will do the same for the crib I made. We’ve been using a cradle made by my daughter’s great, great, great grandfather and it would have been cool to know who in that side of the family slept in it.

-- A posse ad esse

View Winki's profile


1 post in 1971 days

#13 posted 06-01-2014 02:51 AM

Pav, I think your photos of knock down heirloom cradle are awesome. I want to make it too. I have the plans. I don’t have much wood working experience. I wish you had posted instructions that went with the photos. I n other words woodworking instructions for dummies. : ( That’s me! Especially, instructions explaining how to use the jig for the mortise. How do you rout the sides on an angle? I could really use the help. I want to make the cradle for my grand baby due the middle of July. Thanks, Eppie Edwards (Winki)

View Tdkbama's profile


8 posts in 3113 days

#14 posted 06-01-2014 08:28 PM

Thanks Eppie. You can order a copy of the September 2007 issue of WOOD magazine where I found the plans and step by step instructions. Very easy to follow.
Good luck.

-- Measure twice, but still make sure it's the right board

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