Adjustable Height Crib

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Forum topic by CastleOfCheese posted 06-22-2016 02:56 PM 609 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 1474 days

06-22-2016 02:56 PM

Hi guys,
My wife and I are expecting a little girl on October 17th and I’m in the planning stages of building her crib. I have a pretty good idea of how I’d like to build the basic structure, but I’m a little hung up on how to go about designing the adjustable height platform for the mattress.

One idea that I have is to install three 1/4×20 threaded inserts (at uniform heights) into each of the four posts and then fasten the platform into place using machine screws. Are there any strength concerns with this method? I obviously want as close to 0% failure risk as possible.

If anyone has experience with this sort of thing, I’m certainly open to different/better ideas. Thanks!

1 reply so far

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1248 days

#1 posted 06-25-2016 03:43 AM



I have not built a baby bed, but have experience with the commercial models as a consumer. Since your description is a little sketchy I will probably just dance around your question. A few more details concerning your plans perhaps would allow me to offer a better response.

On one hand perhaps you are planning to duplicate a baby bed typically for sale, where the metal mattress supporting frame is hung on the four corner posts with a metal strap that attached to one of several height adjusting holes fitted with tapped inserts. On the other hand, your design could be completely different from anything for sale in the stores.

If you are replicating the hardware found on baby beds available for sale in the stores, then contacting a company that specializes in baby bed hardware could be helpful. They should be familiar with Federal safety standards and perhaps could offer some advice and furnish you with safety compliant hardware. I quick internet search revealed Products American as one such company. Their web site leaves something to be desired, but they claim to offer telephone customer service. Products America web site is

When I think about your concern, my attention is drawn away from November when the 10 pound baby will lay sedately in the crib to when the toddler weighing about 25 pounds is bouncing up and down on the mattress every time she wakes up from her nap.

Whether single ¼” inserts holding the mattress platform at the corners is strong enough is dependent on a number of factors omitted from the initial post. For example I would think a threaded insert properly installed in a poplar corner post would be weaker than in oak. Also the method by which the platform connects to the corner post is unknown, for example a ¼” bolt though a wooden frame into the insert or a metal, plastic, or wooden strap attached to the platform and hanging from a bolt screwed into the corner post I would think make a difference. In any event, I would think bigger is better, maybe 5/16” or even 3/8”.

Additionally, I would look at T-nuts rather than threaded inserts. When a screw or bolt is tightened, the T-nut is drawn tight into the wood member. The threaded insert relies on the strength of the surrounding wood to remain in place when a screw or bolt is tightened.

If the bed is a completely different design from baby beds commercially available, then my thoughts would be focused on long rail to post joinery options that are inherently structural and that allows for the adjustability and eventual break down and storage until the next little one arrives. Light duty screws and T nuts would only serve to keep the joint from opening up.

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