Just found out last week that I'm going to be getting a Father's Day
present next year! :D Once the state of (happy) shock wore off a bit (not
that it's gone completely... from what I hear, it may NEVER go away, just
mutate into another form of worry), first thing that popped into my mind
was "I need to build a crib!". I'm no expert WW by far, but I'm not a
complete newbie either, so given enough time (thus starting now!), I
figure I can muddle through it...
I'm looking @ the transitional crib plan from Rockler -- looks pretty
nice for what we want. However, I've seen some less-than-glowing comments
about that plan on the wreck... any recent experiences? If it's a case of
"it's usable, but it's not step-by-step instructions", I can handle it...
but if they're pure bunk, might as well try somewhere else.
On a related note, I'm also trying to figure out how to finish it once
I'm done. SWMBO wants it white, so I'd imagine any kind of veggie/mineral
oil finish would be out of the question (but my finishing experience is
pretty much restricted to paint & poly, so what do I know?). Sounds like
shellac is considered safe -- would this work over a white paint, or
should something else be used? And along that vein, do I need to worry
about what kind of paint I use? I'd guess something water-based... a
satiny finish is desired, not flat and not super-glossy.
Any thoughts/comments/"Better get some sleep while you can!" suggestions
are greatly appreciated!
One other question -- does anyone know if the Rockler plans meets the
federal guidelines for crib safety? I'd assume so, but we all know what
happens when you do that... and it doesn't specifically state on their
website anywhere that it does.
I bought their attempt at a "plan" just over 5 years ago as the Crib
FAQ was too much of a cure for insomnia. Also bought their hardware
kit. Plan was less than step-by-step and artwork didn't match art
title. Drill holes X" and cut slats Y" with NO mention of shaping
ends of slats to fit into holes! The hardware kit had threaded
inserts that tore out the hard maple they were screwed into making
epoxy necessary but that may have been cockpit error on my part. I'd
prefer knock-down barrel nuts instead. Crib is still is use as crib.
wasn't transitioned into day bed then single as they suggest can be
done. I used blonde shellac and would use it again. Visit
www.homesteadfinishing.com and look for white finishes suitable for
cribs and if you can't find anything ask Jeff for suggestions.
Congrats ARE in order and hopes that things go well for all concerned!
I still have the papers and am ready to respond to questions that I
can answer. Either here or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Mon, 23 Aug 2004 19:01:01 GMT, Richard Boggs
My father and I recently finished building a crib out of ash using the
Rockler plans and hardware. I've been meaning to post a picture for a
while, so here it is:
I thought the plans were very good considering this was my first real
project, so I am guessing that Rockler must have updated and/or
modified them since nospambob got his. The only thing I found wrong
with the plans was that they called for drilling larger holes than
necessary for the bed bolts... I'm glad I checked for that before I
drilled! The plans also called for drilling different sized holes to
accomodate the threaded inserts, even though the inserts are all the
same size. I drilled mine all the smaller size, and it worked fine.
I bought the plans with the intention of converting it through all
three versions (crib -> toddler/day bed -> double bed), but I may not
go to the double bed, as the headboard will have holes in the top of
the legs from the bed bolts and impressions from the the endgrain of
the crib ends. Also it looks to me like it would be a little flimsy to
support an active kid jumping and who knows what else on a double bed.
If I did it again, I would maybe try using a bullnose bit for the
edges of the slats rather than a roundover bit. The bearing on the
roundover bit rides a little closer to the wood when it is riding on a
corner that has already been rounded over, causing the tiniest little
offset and a LOT of sanding time. Also, I HIGHLY recommend creating a
tiny chamfer on the ends of the slat tenons to ease assembly. Extended
open time glue would also be wise.
I finished it with 4 coats of Minwax oil based poly, starting with a
heavy thinned coat (2 parts mineral spirits to 1 part poly), then a
2nd coat with the reverse proportions. The top 2 coats were full poly.
I sanded to 220 before finishing, used 320 in between coats, and 0000
steel wool after the final coat. Came out surprisingly smooth for such
a porous wood. Since I didn't want my boy getting high off the fumes,
I let each coat cure before applying the next. 24 hours for the
thinned coats, 48 for the full coats seemed to be enough.
Have fun, start early (my little guy was 2 months old before I
finished!), and stock up on sleep!
For context I spent 22+ years TRYING to get Govt contractors to
provide procedures shipboard sailors could follow so my history might
tend to lean to critical. Had one contractor refuse to provide art
for the sailor to get into a radar transmitter with 20 KV potential to
do maintenance until I asked if he had a son, yes, would you send him
in there without art, I got the NEEDED art. I'm attempting to raise
the flag that the steps are SHORT in requirements. I got there and am
certain others have as well, caveat emptor still prevails. Point
taken! Thanks John.
On 24 Aug 2004 07:38:10 -0700, email@example.com (John Girouard)
On Mon, 23 Aug 2004 19:01:01 +0000, Richard Boggs wrote:
If I was Rockler I'd be leary of claiming compliance with crib safety
guidelines for a plan. Couple of reasons for that 1) If a plan drawn up
today meets the current guidelines, it could be sold for years, and the
guidelines change. 2) How many of us follow a plan exactly? There is a
possiblity of modifying a compliant plan into a non-complying product.
That said, the current standard is listed at
http://www.nsc.org/library/facts/cribtips.htm among other places.
As far as finish is concerned, most paints whether oil or water based
should be safe for use on a crib. Best bet is to go to a paint
professional Sherwin-Williams, etc and talk to them about appropriate
paints. Don't forget that you want a finish that can be easily cleaned so
semi-gloss and gloss fininshes will score higher there. I know of one
varnish finish that is advertised as food/baby safe the brand name is
"Tried and True" all of their finishes are made without heavy metal
driers. Another finish to consider is shellac, according to the folks at
shellac.com shellac is food and child safe.
Standard disclaimer, I am not
associated with any of the vendors or manufacturers mentioned in this
e-mail and recieve no remuneration for recommending their services or
This a great plan for a crib :
I build 3 of them so far (maybe a 4th in the near future - depending on the
Anyways - the first on I did pretty much to the plan.
Once you do it - its real easy to modify.
The other 2 I did were sleigh cribs to match the decor the wife wanted.
There is another out there that also includes all the hardware (including
the matress holder)
I think it was about 70 bux or so.
Anycase - congrats on the new addition.
Just an fyi - I have 3 now - ages 1,2 & 4.
I have always related having kids to a good defense.
1 kid - you can double team it.
2 kids - you play man on man.
3 or more - you are playing zone.
Good luck. Feel free to email me w/ any questions u have about it.
You can reply to me at
r_b_v at v_e_r_z_e_r_a doht c_o_m
remove _ to get the correct address
I've built two cribs for my daughter from Rockler's plans. The plans are
reasonably good -- one thing that is not clear is the actual hole placement
on the headboard uprights to attach the ends -- the holes need to be
situated to give the smallest interior dimension to avoid an excessive gap
between the spring edge and the ends. The other caveat is to use the drill
bit sizes they call out for the threaded inserts. Using a smaller bit will
cause the inserts to split the end grain -- didn't think 1/32" would make
that much diffeence but it does! I modified the plans and made mortised
and tenoned slats instead of the spindles in the Rockler plans which better
suited my taste. Hardware is good (the gate installation is also a little
quirky and not well explained but you'll figure it out). The first one I
made from soft maple and has held up well for 20 months. The second one I
made from cherry. In my case I used polyurethane as the finish -- certainly
didn't want to hide the cherry!
The 20 month old grandaughter has managed to leave a teething groove all the
way around the crib about a 1 1/2 " below the top of the rails -- a teething
cap would have been of little use!
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