Special Needs Crib

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Project by Gary posted 03-03-2013 04:57 AM 5329 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Judy’s best friends’ daughter has been in a wheel-chair most of her life.
Last year she had a baby.
Being in a wheel-chair presents all manner of special requirements for the baby’s crib.
I was asked to customize a 30-year old drop-side crib.
When I assembled it to test the mechanisms, the front side gave out and fell completely apart .
Instead of customizing the drop-side, I built a new crib from scratch.
This crib is built to the mom’s specific requirements and will convert to a toddler bed when he’s big enough to be out of a crib.

It’s made of Ribbon Sapelle and maple, mostly Tiger maple.
The rail/leg joinery is mortise and tenon, the doors are mortise and tenon construction with floating tenons for the slats.
The ends and back side use stub tenons in a groove with spacers between the slats.
The finish is home-brew dewaxed shellac followed by Cabot’s Semi-gloss Polyurethane which my wife did.
It’s her first time finishing a project and the maple really threw her a curve.
As she saw the stripes, she thought she’d created all manner of runs! :-)
The first photo is Alyssa, the second, third and fourth show the grain and the finisher—my wife Judy.
The fiifth and sixth are TJ, mom Alyssa and grandma.

The Picasaweb album with roughly 60 photos documenting the build is here:
Crib build

-- Gary, Florida

7 comments so far

View Rob Vicelli's profile

Rob Vicelli

109 posts in 3747 days

#1 posted 03-03-2013 01:58 PM

WoW! Nothing is more satisfying then building a project that has purpose and will be used. Along with your craftsmanship and design, I would call it a home run. Very Nice!

-- Rob V

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3246 days

#2 posted 03-03-2013 02:00 PM

awesome story and awesome crib.i’ve never thought about a special needs crib and wouldn’t have thought up a clever design with the doors.

love the tiger maple,it turned out very nice.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Karson's profile


35271 posts in 5456 days

#3 posted 03-03-2013 02:24 PM

Great design and construction.

It’s always great to have a project with a story and this is also great.

-- 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 Andrew R.'s profile

Andrew R.

27 posts in 4786 days

#4 posted 03-04-2013 05:32 AM

Looks great! Congrats on the beautiful build.

-- Andrew, Bellingham, WA

View sedcokid's profile


2738 posts in 4654 days

#5 posted 03-04-2013 12:27 PM

What a tremendous story and what a wonderful thing for you to do. Beautiful Crib great choice of wood!

Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3231 days

#6 posted 03-06-2013 02:21 PM

Beautiful and successful project! Able to build a crib which caters to the specific needs of special friends. Way to go!

View Gary's profile


1476 posts in 5380 days

#7 posted 03-07-2013 11:00 PM

Thanks for the kind feedback.
Delivering the crib and seeing their faces was a joy and made all the effort worth it.

-- Gary, Florida

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