Mowry Baby Cradle

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Project by Mr M's Woodshop posted 03-06-2012 07:40 AM 9982 views 5 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the Heirloom Baby Cradle, Woodsmith # 48.

With the approaching birth of my first grandchild, OF COURSE I had to make a baby cradle. These project plans were a challenge, and I did make a few changes.

Going into the project, I knew that a cradle is probably only used for a few months by the baby (when they start moving, the cradle is not safe). However, when I saw the look on my daughter-in-law’s face … well, it was a good decision to build the cradle.

Things I learned:

1. I missed the templates which are no longer available from Woodsmith. I used a compass for most of the curves, and a pencil on a string for the really long curves.

2. I absolutely had no interest in doing the funky angled table saw cuts for the arched top raised panels for the crib ends. I did those with my router table, and the results were fabulous—and more safely achieved.

3. I went with ball bearings instead of the hardboard “washers” for the pendulum hardware. I found a site that wanted to sell me a cradle kit (2 bolts, 4 washers, 2 t-nuts and 2 ball bearings with plans) for $50 … I bought the hardware myself for under $5.

4. I added cleats on each end to help hold the bottom. These are somewhat redundant to the side cleats called for in the plans, but they do ensure that the bottom doesn’t split and fall through while my grandchild (or perhaps a later generation!) is sleeping.

5. The lock pins are essential, but I didn’t build them locked into place on each upright … they are just knobs with dowels that can come out for storage. The dowel fit is tight enough the knobs will not come out unless you mean to pull them out.

6. Linens were created by my wife, of course. We are living a cliche—and loving it!

7. The mattress was purchased online.

The entire cradle does come apart with the removal of the mushroom screw hole plugs and the screws underneath. The remaining flat pieces will easily store under a bed or in the attic for the next needy grandchild.

I branded the cradle with my “Handcrafted by …” stamp. My children insist that I also date it, and have decided that each grandchild to use the cradle will have their initials added to the wood.

Apparently, I did make an heirloom!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

10 comments so far

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4288 days

#1 posted 03-06-2012 11:28 AM


The first woodworking project I ever made was a cradle for my 1st grandchild. Everyone has some furniture that’s been handed down in the family, only after a few generations it gets kind of fuzzy about who made it and who it was for. So when I made the cradle, I went to a trophy store and had two brass plaques made. One with my name as the maker and my relationship to the first baby to use the cradle. The other one had the baby’s name, date of birth, and weight. I put it on one end of the top rail. They can have another plaque made for each child that uses the cradle and it will be a heirloom that will stay in the family because everybody will know who made it and who used it. I don’t have any pictures of that cradle handy, but here’s a project I made for my Aunt & Uncle’s 55th anniversary. The red oak and brass look elegant together.

Your cradle looks beautiful and after the baby is born, the cradle will make a great toy box for stuffed animals in the baby room and later if it’s a little girl, she can play dolls with it. Beautiful furniture like this will be used more than it will be packed away.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View toyguy's profile


1751 posts in 4888 days

#2 posted 03-06-2012 12:07 PM

Very nice job on this cradle. Having just made one myself, I understand the work that is involved with a project like this…. and I also understand the daughter-law look you are talking about. Congratulations on the first grand kid, and the cradle.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3918 days

#3 posted 03-06-2012 12:08 PM

Henry, you did a wonderful job on this cradle. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3653 days

#4 posted 03-06-2012 12:13 PM

Great job on this. The challenges were certainly worth it, wonderful piece of woodwork.

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View MikeDe's profile


56 posts in 3743 days

#5 posted 03-06-2012 03:37 PM

Great looking cradle and a definite Heirloom
I built the same cradle 18 years ago and I consider it a family Heirloom
I put the names and date of birth on small brass plates
I also built a storage box for it witch turned out to be a good idea
since it has been eight years since it was last used

View LesB's profile


2945 posts in 4494 days

#6 posted 03-06-2012 05:27 PM

Nice work.
Like most wood working grandfathers I too have made 4 of these cradles. Knowing that the infants only use them for a few months and with the thought of them becoming heirlooms I was careful to make them easy to disassemble for long term storage. Of course the girls will often use them for their dolls for a few years. I used threaded brass inserts and brass screws to hold the pieces together and to avoid stripped out wood screw holes. An instruction sheet for assembly were put on the bottom of the bed. Now I can only hope that parts don’t get lost.
The idea of listing who used them is a good idea.

-- Les B, Oregon

View felkadelic's profile


220 posts in 3591 days

#7 posted 03-06-2012 06:20 PM

Very nice. My great-grandfather, who I never met, made a cradle for my cousins and I. We’ve passed it around the family and engraved a plaque with every stop it’s made. There are plaques for my oldest cousin, his younger brother, myself, my sister, my daughter, and my cousin’s son. It’s so neat to have an heirloom piece—although shipping it around the country has been a challenge (in the last two years it’s moved from Virginia, to my home in Seattle, to my cousin’s home in Tucson)

View Condor1's profile


64 posts in 4028 days

#8 posted 03-07-2012 12:44 AM

The longest journey begins with the first step. It’s a good feeling to give a gift that will be handed down from generation to generation. Great job!

-- There are times when a mistake is remembered as your best work.

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3855 days

#9 posted 08-29-2012 01:07 AM

This is an heirloom for your family. Beautifully done.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Sasha's profile


1301 posts in 2264 days

#10 posted 04-05-2015 09:15 AM

MIRACLE, Beauty. I want to wish – that it was never empty and in the house the children’s laughter was always audible.

-- Ganchik Sasha. Life is not a draft, tomorrow you will not redo......

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