RED OAK SLEIGH CRIB
A promising woodworker tackles his first crib.
SHOP OWNER: Daniel Carlson
LOCATION: Denton, TX
Hello there, my name is Daniel Carlson (Shop Shot 446) and I wanted to submit some pictures of my most recent shop project. I am a 21-year-old carpenter-in-the-making and just built my first crib. My sister and brother-in-law are expecting their first baby and they entrusted me to come up with a crib for them. They wanted a "sleigh" design for the crib, so I searched around for pictures and ideas. I came up with some plans that met their approval, a sleigh crib with two drawers underneath for storage. The plans were from Kaprock Woodworks. All of the hardware came from Rockler, including the mattress spring and miscellaneous hardware.
The four crib legs are two pieces of 3/4" stock laminated together. Since they are the main support system for the crib, you canít skimp here. Other than the legs and the drawers, the six other major components are both of the rails, which are seven individual pieces glued up, as well as the front, back, and two sides. I built it out of solid red oak throughout and the stain is Minwax Provincial.
To make the sleigh style rails, I started with the rounded most part of the rail. It is actual three pieces glued up to make a square and then knocked down with 45-degree cuts to start forming the rounded look. I glued the other four pieces onto the rounded top, one piece at a time, and fastened with five 2'' wood screws per section. Screw placement is key, considering that each piece as itís added has a slightly different angle than the previous one. Once all of the pieces are glued up, it is time for the fun part... sanding! Using a handheld belt sander, the rails go from many glued up pieces to a smooth rail that looks like one solid piece of oak.
With the rails completed, it was time to mortise the holes for the spindles. I used the Delta universal mortising attachment for my drill press. Once everything was set up, I was off to make 88 holes top and bottom for the 44 spindles. Knowing the kind of use and abuse a crib might receive, I believe that mortise and tenon joinery is the only way to go.
Once done with the mortises, I had to attach the upper two pieces to the rail before adding the spindles and lower sections. For the sides and back, the panels are solid; the front is open for drawers. Having drawers underneath the crib for storage seems to be an increasingly popular design today.
The plan calls for placing threaded inserts at two heights on the crib legs. The first for initial setup of the mattress spring and later lowered when the baby is bigger. One thing that my sister added to hide the empty space and drawer openings was a bed skirt below the mattress frame. She attached sticky-backed Velcro to the steel frame to anchor the material.
With the rails attached to the front and back assemblies and the sides completed, the last step was to put it all together. One thing to consider when building a crib is that it must be portable. Each leg has four 3'' screws attaching it to the side and back piece. I used screws only and no glue, in case it needs to come apart. The sides are all that is left and they are pocket-screwed in with 1-1/2'' pocket screws. I added some corner braces just to add some extra support. Although probably not necessary, it is for my niece so nothing is too good, right?. . . Daniel Carlson
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