3-In-One Walnut Crib

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Project by withoutlimits posted 04-09-2013 05:25 AM 5811 views 20 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been coming to Lumberjocks for a long time, and am finally posting a project. I decided to build a crib once my wife and I were expecting our first child, which is due at the end of May. It is made entirely of black walnut, mostly 4/4 but the legs are made of 6/4. The curved molding is also made out of 6/4, resawed into 4 strips and laminated. The few screws that were used during assembly to add some strength are plugged with cherry.

The design is my own, but I took a great deal of inspiration and design ideas from some other lumberjocks, ND2ELK in particular. Before making any cuts I generated a 3D model to finalize dimensions and tweak the design, the final product was modified very little as the build progressed. The crib assembles using connector bolts to threaded inserts or cross dowels, the front/headboard can come off to make it a toddler bed. Eventually the headboard/footboard can accommodate side rails to make a full bed as well. I also made the mattress support that you cannot see in these pictures, it was made from some leftover cherry plywood with strips of walnut around the edges. I took about a month to research and come up with the design, picked up the wood around Thanksgiving and did the final assembly this weekend.

I am posting this unfinished as I am looking for advice. I plan to use General Finishes Arm-R-Seal, but am debating if I should try to finish it in the vertical or horizontal position. In the horizontal position I would not have to worry about runs as much, but because there is a 1/8”” roundover on every piece I am concerned that it will be easy to get discontinuties in the finish when trying to finish one side and waiting for it to dry before finishing the reverse side. I am basically looking for advice from anyone that may have finished a crib or something similar and what approach worked best for them. Any comments and feedback are welcome, thanks for looking!

- Dan

16 comments so far

View hoss12992's profile


4166 posts in 2496 days

#1 posted 04-09-2013 06:36 AM

Congrats on the impending arrival. Great job. Love the design and craftsmanship. Might I suggest wipping on some tung oil, then several coats of wipe on poly. Thanks for sharing

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3572 days

#2 posted 04-09-2013 07:47 AM

You did a lovely job on that crib. It looks absolutely great. If you can’t spray it I’d second a wipe on finish.

View jeff_wenz's profile


152 posts in 4153 days

#3 posted 04-09-2013 03:58 PM

Nice crib. This thing will pop when finished!

-- Jeff, North Carolina

View Ken90712's profile


17819 posts in 3792 days

#4 posted 04-09-2013 04:06 PM

What a great job! Love the design and walnut. Congrats on the little one as well. If you don’t have a sprayer I think wipe on is the other direction to go.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View eugenie's profile


101 posts in 2478 days

#5 posted 04-09-2013 04:31 PM

Very nice, I like that as the child grows the bed grows with them. Very thoughtful plan.

-- Eugenie Woodcraft

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2854 days

#6 posted 04-09-2013 04:54 PM

Great looking bed! I also use SolidWorks to design my big projects before starting the build.

I agree with the suggestions to use a wipe-on finish. That way you can finish it in the vertical orientation and not worry about runs. Just thin your Arm-R-Seal and you’re good to go.

-- Rex

View Craig Havran's profile

Craig Havran

346 posts in 3215 days

#7 posted 04-09-2013 06:15 PM

i’m stupid with finishes so i won’t even try. what i’m not stupid with is knowing that this is a sweet crib/toddler bed/ regular bed. great work. absolutely love black walnut.

-- "There's plenty of time to read the instruction manual when you're laying in the hospital bed". - Dad

View Willdoc's profile


32 posts in 2658 days

#8 posted 04-09-2013 06:24 PM

Fantastic job. Make sure you update this with a picture of it finished.
I’d also wipe something on…. Waterlox, or poly, or similar.

-- I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them ** Thomas Jefferson

View Uncleadam's profile


1 post in 2476 days

#9 posted 04-09-2013 08:05 PM

I’ve never seen a nicer crib. Looks great. Bet baby and daisy will love it

View Marty5965's profile


161 posts in 2549 days

#10 posted 04-10-2013 01:06 AM

You can wipe on Arm-R-Seal, The Woodwhisperer does it all the time. He has some great videos of finishing with it on YouTube. That Crib is awesome and will be a true heirloom. Nicely done!

-- Marty, Wilmington, OH, learning every day....

View Green_Hornut's profile


168 posts in 3223 days

#11 posted 04-10-2013 02:19 AM

Having built two of these 3 in 1’s, one in walnut and one in cherry my 2 cents would be to use a natural oil and let the wood talk. I am firmly fixed on Watco oil, natural. Wipe on, wipe off, 2 coats waiting a couple of days between. Then about 6-8 coats of a 50/50 mix of poly and mineral spirits. again wipe on, wipe off. 0000 steel wool in between. A soft glow and not a shiny finish.

The first one I did the connector bolts and barrel nuts. The second I did cast iron bed connector plates from Rockler and modified them by welding a plate on the side for the long rails. The second design is way more easier to assemble. Could put the whole thing together in about 4 minutes.

nice job on the rails and headboard. Like the double curve. I did one and it’s hard to do. Nice execution.

-- Mother Nature always bats last.

View withoutlimits's profile


4 posts in 2849 days

#12 posted 04-11-2013 04:09 PM

Thanks for all the comments and advice, I will definitely post an updated picture once I apply the finish.

View Dinger's profile


145 posts in 2865 days

#13 posted 04-22-2013 08:49 PM

Beautiful crib. I’ll be making on of my own quite soon. It looks wonderful in walnut, and I don’t know about you, but I love the smell of it as it’s being milled!

Just finished a standing desk and I used Arm-R-Seal for the topcoat. I applied it to the vertical surfaces with absolutely no problem. As a matter of fact, I found the horizontal surface of the top more challenging.

-- "Begin every endeaver with the end ever in mind."

View KayCee49's profile


5 posts in 1925 days

#14 posted 10-13-2014 02:29 PM

Just finished one of the beds, modified the “plans now” design. Made the bed out of walnut. The biggest problem I have had is with the connector bolts and barrel nuts – for me, they were very difficult to properly align. I would be interested in other ways to get around the problem but do not have access to any welding equipment.

-- Kevin, Kentucky

View KayCee49's profile


5 posts in 1925 days

#15 posted 10-13-2014 02:38 PM

As far as the finish, I used Minwax polyurethane, a very good brush, and laid the sides horizontally to apply the finish to each of the five sides (including the toddler side). By the time that I had done all 5, I was able to turn each one and apply finish to the other side.

After drying overnight, I sanded with initially 220 grit sandpaper, then 320 after the 2nd coat, and 400 grit on all coats thereafter. I probably applied a total of 6 coat of satin polyurethane. I didn’t have any real problems with runs or sagging – the newer polyurethane seems more resistant to those problems – probably because it seems to dry much faster than the older ones that I had used.

I have also used Watco oil – it does provide a very good finish but it takes a long time to dry, especially with successive coats.

-- Kevin, Kentucky

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