Well, I have finished - sort of - the main pieces of baby furniture that
I've been working on. These consist of a crib, cradle and *temporary*
changing table. I saw temporary, because I initially intended, and still
plan to finish, to build a nice chest of drawers/cabinet style changing
table made of solid ash, but I have been having a terrible time getting the
panels to stay flat and since SWMBO is due this week, I figured I better
whip up a changing table of some sort so that we had something, albeit
Here's a brief description of each piece. And the link to the pictures:
I built this first and it is solid ash. I used the Wood plan for the
pendulum cradle. It was very straightforward to build and I'm happy with
the construction. It is very solid and stable and swings very nicely. I
changed the dimensions from the plan to accomodate a full-size cradle
mattress (18"x36", IIRC). I'm sure you've seen dozens of these posted over
the years. I believe someone posted one only a few months ago, in fact.
The finish is another story - I really can't stand it. My wife didn't want
anything "dark" in the nursery, but she doesn't care for lightly colored
wood finishes, so she asked (and you know what that means when it's a
pregnant SWMBO) that I do a pickled finish. She further instructed that I
"distress" the surface. I used 2 coats of General Finishes "Whitewash" EF
water-based stain. I basically flooded the surface, waited approx. 5
minutes and wiped off the excess. I honestly didn't have any idea what
"distressed" was supposed to look like, so I moved stain around, and got a
little overeager when I sanded, as you can see. But, SWMBO initially said
she liked it, so I put 3 coats of General Finishes EF Polyacrylic Blend
water-base finish on the surface. This product was a dream to use. It
didn't really build up very much, but it really is crystal clear and was
extremely easy to apply.
This is also built from plans, this time from Woodsmith for the Heirloom
Crib. I bought the plans, as well as the hardware kit. This was probably
the easiest woodworking project I've every built. There were no glue-ups to
deal with, so other than regular milling of the rough ash, stock prep was a
piece of cake. The design is extremely easy to build. There was a
discussion in the rec a little while ago about cutting a groove for mortises
with a dado blade and then using spacer fill blocks to offset slats. That's
how this design was built (as was the cradle). It definitely saves time,
but I wasn't very happy with the results. For the "majority" of spacers the
fit was just right and little to no gap is visible, but for a few, after the
glue dried, some small gaps appeared. Probably due to my not using enough
glue, clamping pressure, etc. The construction of the crib is very solid,
and I like the simple design. The hardware kit was complete, and went
together fairly easily, although there is a little resistance when raising
and lowering the sides, so I have to wax up the guide rod or something.
The finish was exactly the same as the crib, except this time SWMBO and I
decided not to distress the surface. I think the result is much more
pleasing. I won't say I actually "like" white stain, but at least the
finish looks pretty uniform. This time around I made sure I thoroughly
raised the grain with some distilled water before starting the finishing
process and sanded with 320 grit before starting with the stain. I paid
more attention to getting even coverage with the stain, and I didn't sand at
all between coats of stain or the polyacrylic finishes - just a light
sanding with 320 grit after the final coat was applied.
This one was copied from a picture in a catalog SWMBO showed me. The
construction couldn't be simpler. I think the total for materials used was
about $50. The base frame is made of poplar and is held together with
mortise and tenon joinery. This was my first chance to use my Jet mortiser
(purchased after the crib and cradle were done, darn it) and it was great.
It is just a simple frame, all 90 degree joints. The shelves are 1/2" MDF
and the top and guard rail are 3/4" MDF. To support the shelves I glued and
nailed poplar support strips along the entire lower edge of the
corresponding rails. I used my new (I've been on a shopping spree hehe)
Senco 23-guage pin nailer. What a joy! The top was attached using pocket
hole joinery vertically through the upper rails and glue. I was very happy
with how snug this got the top and there were really no gaps anywhere
between the top and the rails/posts. I used a multiprofile router bit to
decorate the top edge of the table and a cove bit on the underside of the
top, to reduce the thickness of the edge. I overhung the top on all sides
by 1". Finally, I mitered and glued the guard rail together. No biscuits
here, I couldn't find the manual to my porter-cable plate joiner and I
didn't want to mess with changing out the blade to do face frame biscuits.
I just used a bessey strap clamp and the miters came out just right. I then
biscuited into the bottom of the frame and into the top of the table and
glued the frame in place. I found out that it is a PITA to try to clamp
things in this fashion using cauls. I really needed some large capacity
(and many of them) cabinet clamps. I ended up putting a big piece of 3/4"
MDF on top and putting a big pile of ash on top of it. It worked pretty
good, but I wasn't able to wipe up the squeeze out inside the frame. The
finish is a coat of latex primer and only one coat of Benjamin Moore Ivory
(?), I think. It is the same as the trim in the nursery.
Sorry for the long descriptions. I've been working on these things for a
few months, so I figured a few words about them would be helpful.
Any feedback is greatly appreciated!