Emma's Cradle

With more on the way, this woodworking Grandma stays busy.

SHOP OWNER: Barbara Siddiqui
LOCATION: Wenatchee, WA

    With three grandbabies coming in just a few months' time, I've been busy with several projects, but this cradle is one I'm especially proud of. It is an adaptation of one presented in BH&G Wood Magazine, January of 1996, which had solid end panels floating in routed slots, and narrow slats on the sides. The cradle is a knockdown design for ease of storage. It has the two tall end assemblies done in one piece each, and the side rails latch with protruding screw heads into picture hangars at the joints, and supports a bed board.
    I decided I wanted to make mine with dowels all around, for more of a Shaker look, and the only difficult part of the design was the glue-up. This required an extra set of hands to help me get everything in line for all the mortises and dowel holes to go together correctly.
    Planning the angled drilling for the dowel holes was a little touchy. I just planned the one-inch spacing at the bottom straight side of the end panels for an uneven number of dowels. Next, I divided and sub-divided the top arc repeatedly, in half on each side, until I had the19 holes evenly spaced. Anything to avoid the math; it worked well.
Emma's Cradle

    The rockers and top arcs are Baltic Birch plywood. I covered the plywood edges with iron-on edge banding. The uprights and side rails were salvaged pine, and the dowels are just common 3/8" hardware store dowels.
    I used hot hide glue for the assembly because the whole cradle was a combination of different scrap woods, and I wanted to stain it. I finished the entire thing with cherry wipe-on gel stain, and then went over it with a coat of shellac and a final coat of paste wax.
    The plan ingeniously uses common kitchen door handles as cradle stops. They swivel down under the rocker arms, on one end, against the stops and hold the cradle steady on the floor when the baby doesn't need to be rocking. To unlock the rocker, they simply swivel up above the rocker arm and out of the way. One advantage to being a woman woodworker is, this Grandma managed to build the cradle as well as to crochet the ruffled baby blanket for little Emma. She's sleeping well, so I guess she is pleased.

. . . Barbara Siddiqui



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