Wayne Heck's Cradle

This oak cradle is going to be an heirloom.

SHOP OWNER: Wayne Heck
LOCATION: Maple Heights, OH

    This cradle was for my first born. I had just found out about her when my grandmother passed away. I wanted to build something in memory of my grandmother, so why not a cradle? It was the most practical thing for the time. Plus I wanted to build one so it could be an heirloom hopefully for generations to come.
    I found the plans at a Woodcraft store and started to look at what I needed. I ended up going to many places to get the wood and hardware. I could have bought the materials where I bought the plans, but they wanted more than I could spend.
Wayne Heck's Cradle

    The entire cradle, except the side panels (oak plywood), knobs (maple) and bottom (prefabbed panel for shelving) is 13/16-in. or 1 5/8-in.-thick, solid oak. The ends of the cradle have mortise and tenon joints; the rest of it was doweled together.
    I have a Craftsman 10-in. table saw and some basic power tools. My father-in-law let me borrow his drill press to do most of the drilling.
    The hardest part of this project (I thought) was the square hole for the cross member. I do not know an easy way to make a square hole. The saber saw I used would not stay square the whole way through the wood, so I did a lot of filing.
    I spent about six weeks putting the cradle together, working just a couple hours each night after work. The next thing I knew, it was ready for finishing.
    I used two coats of American Finishes clear polyurethane. I probably should have used another coat, but I ran out. Before finishing, I had to wait until the weather broke, because my wife can't handle the fumes. And, as we all know, if Momma ain't happy, nobody's happy.
    I'm mounting a leather pouch on the cradle to hold pictures of the babies that have slept in it. On the bottomof the cradle, I burned this inscription: "Built by Wayne R. Heck in memory of M. Jean Heck, 2001 for Kyla Jane. I'm hoping that the future children get their names burned in it also.
    Kyla Jane now sleeps in it. I still look at it and say: I don't believe I built it. Now I'm building a corner cabinet for my wife.

. . . Wayne R. Heck



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