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Forum topic by Jon Edmonds posted 08-03-2010 02:12 AM 1618 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jon Edmonds

43 posts in 3419 days

08-03-2010 02:12 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi All My name is Jon Edmonds and I am a beginner and returning woodworker, by that I mean that I used to do woodworking in my teens in shop class and then 1 project about 10 years ago and nothing for another 10 years and now just coming back to it for the last 9 months or so. I have made a couple things, A kitchen Island, two nightstands (really just reworked these into enclosed cabinets) and a DVD cabinet. All these projects have been in either pine or plywood. I am about to start another project and would like to use something other than pine. The project is a bassinet/Cradle for my soon to be here son. So I’m looking for a few pointers.

Here’s my question: Can someone point me in the direction of a inexpensive, non-toxic (babies chew stuff), relatively easy to work with wood? Any help here would be great.

-- Jon In Sunny California

14 replies so far

View Porosky's profile


619 posts in 3842 days

#1 posted 08-03-2010 02:34 AM


-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4239 days

#2 posted 08-03-2010 02:41 AM

Poplar is inexpensive and easy to work with. Using the proper stain it can look like cherry.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6625 posts in 3672 days

#3 posted 08-03-2010 03:02 AM

Get your new baby a teething ring, and he won’t chew on the wood, or better yet, put a nasty tasting something on the wood, and he’ll learn real quick not to do it, hopefully….that’s how I broke mine from doing it….I used Tabasco sause…...that’s been over 40 years ago, and now they both like Tabasco sause…. lol.

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3552 days

#4 posted 08-03-2010 04:03 AM

The two other suggestions, basswood and poplar, are relatively soft woods. Technically they are classified as hardwoods but they are relatively soft hardwoods. Other options for soft hardwoods would be aspen or silver (soft) maple.

I’m not convinced that being soft necessarily makes a wood easy to work with. At the low end of the price scale for more traditional (i.e. harder) hardwoods would be oak. I find oak very easy to work with. For just a little more money you may consider walnut, maple, ash, cherry, beech or sycamore. With these woods avoid the curly, wavy woods and the burls and the price will be quite reasonable and the wood will be easy to work with, IMHO.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View SouthpawCA's profile


272 posts in 3711 days

#5 posted 08-03-2010 07:37 AM

I find myself agreeing with Rich more and more. Don’t be afraid of taking on the harder hardwoods.

-- Don

View vicrider's profile


179 posts in 3376 days

#6 posted 08-03-2010 07:54 AM

I would suggest Alder. Relatively inexpensive, stains well, and is easy to work.

-- vicrider

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 4293 days

#7 posted 08-03-2010 01:29 PM

The cheap stuff varies by locale. Around here poplar is cheap. Maybe something else is cheap in your area.

Personally, I think buying from the local sawyer is far better than buying from the big box store (assuming you can mill the rough lumber or have them S4S it.)

You’ll find getting the better lumber is so much more affordable. I found that things are better using better woods. They mill better, last longer, and look better.

Around here pine is not really cheaper than the better woods. For me, why use pine when I can use poplar. Pine is a pain, but, poplar is just….nice and easy.

I’d say don’t hesitate to look for any better wood. Talk to the sawyers. I think you may be surprised. Sometimes things are on sale….depending on what the loggers are mostly bringing in. If the sawyers have a surplus of a something like walnut or white oak…you might find some real good deals.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View Recut's profile


27 posts in 3655 days

#8 posted 08-03-2010 02:28 PM

That’s a big 10 – 4 to Catspaw. You will produce something to will cherish if you use decent wood. You can’t (or shouldn’t) try to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear! Trust those guys at the mill, NOT the box store. They will usually steer you right and it isn’t that much more money. It can just be a little inconvenient depending on where you live.

-- Jim, Richmond Virginia - Plan your work - Work your plan.

View gashley's profile


107 posts in 3484 days

#9 posted 08-03-2010 06:13 PM

Lots of good advice here. Personally, I’ve discovered the joys of buying woods and veneers via the internet and websites. There are a lot of good, reputable hardwood supplies online now so you can get wood that way.

I’ve also been lucky in having an old college buddy who cuts and sells beautiful (but pricey) claro walnut.

-- Gary in OP

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3461 days

#10 posted 08-03-2010 06:21 PM

My concern would be more on what to finish with. Finishes are generally more toxic than the wood itself. Oak would be a good choice to start with from using pine. Its cost is reasonable and is a good hardwood to start with for your skill level. All the types of wood mentioned here are good woods to use. Find out what the lumber prices are in your locality for most reasonable lumber and go from there. Being that its a Bassinet or a cradle the baby will probably be moved to a crib by the time he starts chewing.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Clipper50's profile


59 posts in 3332 days

#11 posted 08-03-2010 06:40 PM

I made a similar cradle for our first grandchild. I settled on oak as it had been recommended to me by the local high school wood working teacher. It looked great and finished beautifully. She was into a crib before she could do any chewing. It is now awaiting a second occupant due in February!

View Jon Edmonds's profile

Jon Edmonds

43 posts in 3419 days

#12 posted 08-03-2010 08:00 PM

Hey All
Wow, this group is great, I can’t believe how many folks responded. Thanks to all that have. I think I am going to make the leap and try to make the project out of a hardwood. There were several recommendation for oak and that might be the best choice. My locale supplier is selling Red Oak for $5 a board foot 4×4. (good deal/bad deal? I have no idea) If I’m understanding it right 4×4 basically means four quarters or one inch rough stock. I’m planning on the parts of the project to be about 5/8 inch thick or less that should be good. (right?) For an extra 14 cents a board foot they will do something called S2S. Does this mean they will face two sides at 90 degrees to one another?

Anyways, thanks again for everyone’s responses, it has been very helpful.

-- Jon In Sunny California

View BreakingBoardom's profile


615 posts in 3559 days

#13 posted 08-03-2010 08:25 PM

Hey Jon,
I agree with most of the guys here and would recommend a inexpensive hardwood. I live up in Fresno and Red Oak and Alder are some of my best choices. I made a bassinet if you want to check it out in my projects but it was out of pine and stained darker. Worked out pretty good. I’m now building the crib and am using Alder. It’s pretty easy to work with and stains well also. I also agree that your baby probably won’t do much chewing before it’s time for the crib. Also, what kind of tools do you have? Do you have a jointer or planer? Are you milling the wood yourself or buying it already surfaced? That could determine price and where to get it too. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.

-- Matt -

View Jon Edmonds's profile

Jon Edmonds

43 posts in 3419 days

#14 posted 08-19-2010 06:46 PM

Hey All
Thanks for all the help and feedback.

-- Jon In Sunny California

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