Grandchild coming ... need suggestions / plans


I've already bought plans for a sled and a cradle for my first grandchild (due in late spring). I figure to make the cradle first. She can use it while I'm working on the sled. ;-)
Proud Grandpa? You bet!
What other suggestions do you have for stuff to make for my only (so far) grandchild?
I have the following tools: Planer Jointer Lathe Tablesaw Bandsaw (12") Drill press stationary belt sander assorted hand tools with & without tails a background as a machinist / die-maker
I can do box joints but have yet to try dovetails. Not afraid to try ... but I'm as inexperienced as it is possible to be and still be allowed to post to this newsgroup. ;-)
I live in Detroit but she will be born in Minnesota ... so putting together a sandbox / play gym is probably out of the question. Whatever I make has to transport in the back of a passenger car, be utilitarian (my son hasn't got a lot of room for extra junk at his house), require middling woodworking skills (or less) and be baby/toddler centric.
If you can include links to the plans, so much the better.
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Congrats on the kid.
You could think far in advance and start on a bedroom suite , dining room set for when she gets married.
Mobiles to hang over crib.
rack of beads and spinning things to play once she is crawling.
Baby wagon to assist in learning to walk. You know the little wagon with the handrail at the back.
Small table and chairs for kiddy snacks.
Pull along animals. Put a noisemaker on the axle and drive Mommy mad.
Wooden blocks / big piece jigsaw puzzles.
Just keep edges rounded, pieces too big to swallow or stick up nose, and a chew safe finish.
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W Canaday wrote:

Congratulations Grandpa,
I have plans for a rocking horse that I never got around to building for my own kids. Problem with rocking horses is that they require so much room if the kid uses them.
I have a suggestion about the cradle. When we were expecting our firstborn, I built a very nice hooded rocking cradle that sits on the floor. The pictures of our kids in it are priceless as is the cradle itself. However, it really didn't get much use because it was so low that it required getting on hands and knees to get the baby in and out. If I had it to do over again, I would build a swinging cradle that sits fairly high off the ground.
DonkeyHody "A poor workman quarrels with his tools." - American Indian Proverb
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Check out this Rocker site. I just made the Teady Bear Rocker for my grandson for Christmas. It was pretty simple but check your parts before you cut. The plans have some errors in them.
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Sorry, I forgot to include the web address.
http://www.rockler.com/CategoryView.cfm?Cat_ID 90
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Every child should have a rocking chair. Becomes a family heirloom to be passed from generation to generation. Plus makes a cool decoration for the living room with a large doll in it between children.
Tom.
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On Mon, 09 Jan 2006 20:12:58 -0500, W Canaday wrote:

Thanks for the suggestions, guys. You've given me plenty to think over.
Donkey, thanks for the personal insight into the cradle. I had already ordered plans for the hooded version but now I think I'll make the higher version (instead / also?).
Also thanks for all the other suggestions. There should be enough here to keep me busy until she finishes high school, at least. ;-)
Bill
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And in your spare time you could whittle out some chains, balls in cages, pliers, animals, etc. with your pocket knife. They really impress the little ones and inspire the bigger ones to try their own projects. Bugs
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wrote:

If you want to think a few years out then make a set of wooden unit blocks. They are the hard wood blocks that you probably played with in kindergarten when you were a kid. The blocks themselves are fairly simple. They are based on the basic unit size of 1-3/8" x 2-3/4" x 5-1/2". If you look in goggle for "wooden unit blocks" you'll find lots of information and different shapes. You'll also find that they are very expensive. That's why you won't find many parents buying them. Average price for a set of 100 blocks is around $350. With all of the equipment you have I know you can make them fairly easily.
You can also build a carrying wagon for them. Then when you get more time you can add more sets while they are growing up. Perfect presents for birthdays and Christmas.
I've got a nephew that is one year old that I think I'll be building a set for him and his yet to be born younger brother.
Good luck and have fun in the work shop.
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Mon, Jan 9, 2006, 8:12pm snipped-for-privacy@replyonlist.com (WCanaday) whot spent money for plans says: <snip> What other suggestions do you have for stuff to make for my only (so far) grandchild? <snip>
Dump the cradle, make a rocking chair. Toy box, with no lid. Changing table.
JOAT You'll never get anywhere if you believe what you "hear". What do you "know"? - Granny Weatherwax
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J T wrote:

You know, speaking of cradles, I saw this movie once... one of the characters was a "baby expert" and she took issue with the common style of rocking cradle. She said that you should rock babies from front to back rather than side to side. Makes sense to me and I always figured maybe one day I would design such a cradle.
Just thinking out loud...
Joe Barta
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I agree to dump the cradle. I say dump the changing table too. We have 3 kids under 4, and we have a changing table that we never used. We change diapers all over the place, but never on a changing table. Just a changing pad that can sit anywhere works best.
Don't build anything that will only be used for a few months (like a cradle). You'll spend more time on it than it will get used. After it's outgrown, your kids will feel obligated to keep it since you made it. Then it will take up space in a shrinking house...
I think a dollhouse would be good to think about. A real grand one. A bedroom set (maybe with a place for a chaning pad?).
I made a pair of mission style twin headboards. Our two oldest kids and my wife just love them. I also made a big armoire to match, and it holds a cd player and drawer cubbies for clothes. All very long-term functional stuff.
I'll bet girl would love a jewlery box...
J T wrote:

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Tue, Jan 10, 2006, 2:11pm (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (MikeReed) who has it right: I agree to dump the cradle. I say dump the changing table too. <snip>
Arrrggghhh. You're so right. I got carried away. Dump 'em both. Then make a full-size rocking chair. Rock the kid to sleep, then you can put him/her anywhere, and they'll sleep - while you, or whoever, can enjoy the rocking chair. Unless you're willing to sell the cradle in a few months, there's always someone who will think that's what they need.
JOAT You'll never get anywhere if you believe what you "hear". What do you "know"? - Granny Weatherwax
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I agree with most of this post but I have built three cradles. I have also built five child size rocking chairs. These fit from one year old to about five then they are good for decorations. These have a Teddy Bear decoration cut into the back and "Paw" arms. The full size rocking chair suggested above might be more practical. I think I will build one more child's rocking chair. All but one have been Cherry, one was Red Oak.
Also built some doll cradles, only good for girls of course, trucks for boys. I have built each of our grandchildren an articulating dachshund doggy pull toy for their first birthday. These were much enjoyed and have become keep sakes. One granddaughter was fighting with her sister over one, made her something else, so then had to duplicate each one's toy for the other to keep things even.
Walt Conner
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Baby will require a changing table with short uprights to keep it from falling off and drawers/shelves underneath for onesies, diapers, cleaning cloths, ointment, sox and all that sort of stuff. Check out a stores baby section for inspiration.
BTW, congrats and for sure you'll find they are so much fun that you'd wish you'd had them first!
Grandpa John (proud grandpa of 5)
W Canaday wrote:

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"W Canaday"

Congratulations! My first grandson is 9 weeks old! I rarely agree with JOAT but in some strange twist in the fabric of the cosmos, he's right. The new parents will get more use from a changing table or crib that they will use for years. As soon as I'm done remodeling my bathroom, I am going to build them a crib that will be converted to a twin bed when he is older.
Shamefully bragging! He is a picture of my new grandson.
http://www.teamcasa.org/workshop/images/Jacksonsmile.jpg
Dave
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My uncle made stuff for us when we were little, and then again when my own children were born. These things are still in use, both here and at my parents' house.
1. Small table and chairs. These will get used for decades. The kids need places to eat snacks with their friends, and it's great when the whole family gets together and the kids have their own special table. Our table is just a small sheet of plywood with laminate applied to the top and edge, corners rounded. The legs are just plywood quadrangles, attached between some cleats nailed to the underside. Assemble it when you arrive.
The chairs my uncle made are also assembled on arrival, just plywood sections nailed together. You'll probably want to do something finer, but if your grandchildren are anything at all like every last child in my entire extended family, these things are going to get seriously kicked around. Two sides kind of like the letter 'h', making the legs and supports for the back, a piece across the back, a seat across the flattened hump of the 'h's, and another stabilizing piece perpendicular to the seat and the 'h's, under the seat. I hope you can picture it (sorry, I don't have a digital camera, but one might arrive for my son's birthday next week and maybe he'll let me borrow it :) ).
The chairs my wife's grandfather made are kind of the same except the humps of the 'h's extend a little higher than the seat, makimg little arm rests. That's fine for a little kid, but they grow out of it, and no adult can use that chair for anything.
2. Piggy banks. Slim little rectangular boxes that fit a roll of pennies, nickels, dimes, or quarters.
3. Desk with bookshelves and bulletin board, kid-sized
Make more bookshelves, too. It won't be very long before the little kiddie books need a home, too. It might be a pain to make a collapsable desk, but probably not so hard to do the shelves.
4. Band saw made of wood
Okay, I'm kidding about the last one. My uncle made my bandsaw; he and Dad used it to butcher deer. I use it to butcher wood. Deer live in the woods and eat trees, so it's kind of the same, right?
The point is, make anything. It will have a HUGE impact on your grandchild. Just make it good and strong because it's going to be hard for them to throw it away when it breaks because you made it. I don't really care what you think of my bandsaw, I've been using it since I was nine or ten years old; it skewed my entire life!
A few other things I made for my own kids:
5. Train whistle
6. Hammer and poundy thing. I don't know what you call it, but it's got a bunch of tight-fitting dowels in holes, and you hammer them all down, then flip it over and hammer them back.
7. Boxes. Any kind you want, as long as they're strong and safe. (One day I was suprised (then relieved when nothing bad happened), to see grandma standing on a small box I made. Inside, it was full of expensive handheld gaming stuff. The box held up just fine.)
A word of caution about toy boxes. Make them too deep and you can't see toys underneath the toys. Make them too wide and the child can't reach all the toys.
8. Baseball bat (wait 'till she's a bit older or somebody'll regret it)

And a fine looking grandson he is!
- Owen -
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My sister and brother-in-law got me this awesome book published by Taunton called "Making Heirloom Toys." I haven't made any of the toys yet, but I really, really like the designs. The same author has another book that also looks great.
In this new age, the first child seems to cause you house to be completely filled with plastic objects. I would say anything to store all those plastic things would be useful -- shelves, dresser, etc. My latest project in the shop is building shelves to hold plastic bins from the Trofast line at IKEA:
http://www.ikea.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId103&storeId&langId=-1&productId181
Mark
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