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    Crib Project from Design to Completion - *Completed*

    Good morning all!

    Starting off with good news, my wife and I are expecting our first kid. Hence the reasoning for building a crib (if it wasn't self explanatory already ) My wife picked some designs that she liked and I've begun the design process. I plan to continue updating this thread throughout this project so it will go from the initial CAD design all the way through the final product. Hopefully someone can benefit from the issues that I encounter and I hope to overcome throughout this project. I'm taking my time to plan this one out such that I have all the dimensions, joinery, and assembly techniques planned out ahead of time. Which brings me to my first two issues.

    First some other critical information. The crib will be painted so I'm building it with a combination of birch ply and poplar. My thought right now is that just the back large panels will be ply. Here is the overall design as of right now:




    1. I want to put a face trim (not sure of the proper terminology) on the lower front rail. The rail is 6" tall and I'm currently planning on it being poplar with mortise and tenon joinery to the legs as well as all of the slats. My concern is with keeping the mitered corners tight on the face trim if I attach it directly to the rail. How would you go about this? I'm open to other ways to achieve the same look as well. Here is the issue area:



    2. My wife unfortunately loves curves in furniture. I would like to add a rounded cap to the tops of the curved side rails. How would you go about making this cap and attaching it to the top rail? The cap is currently 3/4" thick and 1.75" wide with 0.375" round overs.



    Thank you all for your feedback ahead of time!

    -Bromley
    Last edited by mbromley; 05-02-2018 at 10:41 PM.

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion

    There have been a few baby crib discussions. They've been more about crib safety and not so much about design. Many have chosen a "3-in-1" design that begins as a crib but is later reconfigured for a toddler or single bed.

    https://www.woodstore.net/3-in-1-Bed...tm?Click=46506

    https://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/...ad.php?t=59256

    Crib hardware and Consumer Product Safety guidelines are here...

    http://www.productsamerica.com

    It's a good idea to do lots of homework and buy the crib/bed hardware before you start.

    BTW, here's a 4-in-1 design with descriptive pics of the 4 stages...

    https://www.toysrus.com/products/convertible-cribs.jsp

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion

    Thanks for all the links! I've read up on the regulations as far as interior dimensions go and have designed it around the standard size mattress. It will be a convertible design with the side pieces bolting in. The mattress height will be adjusted with metal hangers holding a frame and metal threaded inserts in the legs. I'll have to spend some time looking through the available hardware kits. My plan was to CNC any metal pieces that I need. Thanks for the feedback!

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion

    Bromley, First off, congratulations on the great news.

    I’ll caveat my comments with “my philosophy” on furniture for infants and small children. For myself, Safety is absolutely paramount. I’d encourage you to start a design from safety and work forward from there.

    Next I’d go heavy on functionality. Mommy may love the pretty curved moldings on the first day but aesthetics won’t mean as much at 2:00 AM when there’s a fussy baby and a very lovely but very tired and possibly cranky mommy. Yes, for “peace” of mind, functionality is a good thing.

    Additionally, I’d suggest simplicity. The moldings and design elements you’re suggesting can be done in a trim carpenter manner. I suppose they could also be done in CAD/CAM. Some of that depends on what you have access to. You could also modify the design with ease of construction as part of your design process decisions.

    Lastly, I’d very much encourage you to not reinvent the wheel on this. There are some subtle, well tried and proven elements incorporated into the designs of airplanes and baby cribs. Your little test pilot will appreciate your efforts to design and construct the best possible.

    I do have some suggestions on how to do portions of your first design, but I’ll hold off in case you want to work this in bite sized steps.

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion

    Quote Originally Posted by TENdriver View Post
    Bromley, First off, congratulations on the great news.

    I’ll caveat my comments with “my philosophy” on furniture for infants and small children. For myself, Safety is absolutely paramount. I’d encourage you to start a design from safety and work forward from there.

    Next I’d go heavy on functionality. Mommy may love the pretty curved moldings on the first day but aesthetics won’t mean as much at 2:00 AM when there’s a fussy baby and a very lovely but very tired and possibly cranky mommy. Yes, for “peace” of mind, functionality is a good thing.

    Additionally, I’d suggest simplicity. The moldings and design elements you’re suggesting can be done in a trim carpenter manner. I suppose they could also be done in CAD/CAM. Some of that depends on what you have access to. You could also modify the design with ease of construction as part of your design process decisions.

    Lastly, I’d very much encourage you to not reinvent the wheel on this. There are some subtle, well tried and proven elements incorporated into the designs of airplanes and baby cribs. Your little test pilot will appreciate your efforts to design and construct the best possible.

    I do have some suggestions on how to do portions of your first design, but I’ll hold off in case you want to work this in bite sized steps.
    The current design as shown is modeled after a crib my wife found from Pottery Barn that she liked. The dimensions match that crib so I'm not completely reinventing the wheel. I've also read up on the current code for slat spacing and interior dimensions.

    Feel free to throw out suggestions as I would like to work out the details now before I get to cutting wood. The side curved piece is no longer an issue as I just added a band saw to my collection of tooling. My only concern with the face trim is that the miter joints would open up with the lower changing width through the seasons. My plan was to just attach trim to the face of the rail with brads, but I was unsure if there was a better method to attempt to deal with wood expansion.
    Last edited by mbromley; 01-01-2018 at 10:12 PM. Reason: Typo

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion - In Progress

    My $0.02..first, safety is definitely the first priority. FWIW, I don't like the overhanging ends on the top-rail at the front as I think a piece of clothing could catch on these ends (think a hoodie once the kid is able to stand with support).

    Second, you mentioned this will be painted. Do you really like painted furniture or is this e.g. a budget issue? Because you'll have a lot of hours in the crib to cover it over with paint...

    Thirdly, on the lower rail I see three options right off the bat:

    1 - build it as a frame and panel. With a couple extra steps, you can still have mitered outside corners.
    2 - use a router bit or scratch stock to cut the cock beading onto the outside edges of the lower rail.
    3 - apply the 'face trim' using veneer plywood and use thin pieces of mitered solid stock to cover the edges. This eliminates most concerns about wood movement.

    Fourthly - for the rounded cap, unless you want to learn steam-bending, I'd do a cold lamination of thin strips. Make a form out of a double-layer of 3/4" material (like mdf) with a curve that matches the top rail. Cut thin strips, glue, clamp, clean-up and finish.

    Primer here:
    http://www.rockler.com/skill-builder...g-wood-part-ii

    Here's one of my cribs where both of the upper rails on the back are made from cold laminations. The upper rail on the from is made from sawn solid lumber.


    -Mark

    Quote Originally Posted by mbromley View Post
    Good morning all!
    <snip>

    First some other critical information. The crib will be painted so I'm building it with a combination of birch ply and poplar. My thought right now is that just the back large panels will be ply. Here is the overall design as of right now:

    1. I want to put a face trim (not sure of the proper terminology) on the lower front rail. The rail is 6" tall and I'm currently planning on it being poplar with mortise and tenon joinery to the legs as well as all of the slats. My concern is with keeping the mitered corners tight on the face trim if I attach it directly to the rail. How would you go about this? I'm open to other ways to achieve the same look as well.
    <snip>
    2. My wife unfortunately loves curves in furniture. I would like to add a rounded cap to the tops of the curved side rails. How would you go about making this cap and attaching it to the top rail? The cap is currently 3/4" thick and 1.75" wide with 0.375" round overs.
    <snip>
    -Bromley

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion - In Progress

    Okay, Attaching the face trim might be a safety issue due to the very sharp edges and the miters that will be attached across the grain. Also, the trim could be bumped or knocked loose exposing the brads.

    Mark’s suggestion of a scratch stock is a traditional means to “scratch” in a molding. You might also look at the router bits that are used to make “faux” raised panel cabinet doors. Have you considered reversing the design element and raising a panel versus the concave pattern? Raising a faux panel would still create light and shadow visually and be much simpler to execute.

    Another traditional detail that was often used on rails is to just run a simple bead along the top, bottom of both long edges. If you want that element on all four sides, there are some different ways to cut a cross grain bead using Mark’s scratch stock suggestion.

    How are you planning to do your mortises? If you don’t have a mortiser and don’t want to hand cut all of those square mortises, Danmart77 just posted his method to build mortises for a small door. I don’t know if you’ve seen or used that method before but maybe it would work on this project. I see Mark used round tenons on his crib.

  8. The following user says Thank You to TENdriver for this useful post:


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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion - In Progress

    Quote Originally Posted by mkepke View Post
    1 - build it as a frame and panel. With a couple extra steps, you can still have mitered outside corners.
    2 - use a router bit or scratch stock to cut the cock beading onto the outside edges of the lower rail.
    3 - apply the 'face trim' using veneer plywood and use thin pieces of mitered solid stock to cover the edges. This eliminates most concerns about wood movement.

    Fourthly - for the rounded cap, unless you want to learn steam-bending, I'd do a cold lamination of thin strips. Make a form out of a double-layer of 3/4" material (like mdf) with a curve that matches the top rail. Cut thin strips, glue, clamp, clean-up and finish.
    I considered a frame and panel design, but I wasn't a huge fan of splitting up the bottom rail width and potentially losing some of the strength. I have read about scratch stocks some in FWW so thats definitely an option I could explore and a technique that I have yet to try.

    I'm definitely considering doing a cold lamination as it would be a great new technique try. I will read up more on it.

    Would it be possible to route my own trim and just make all of the grain align? The short vertical end pieces would just then be end grain cut. I know this wouldn't look great for a piece with a natural finish, but would it work if painted?

    How thick were your slats in that design? I'm wondering if I can get away with resawing a 4/4 board for the slats so they would end up a 3/8" or more hopefully.

    Quote Originally Posted by TENdriver View Post
    How are you planning to do your mortises? If you don’t have a mortiser and don’t want to hand cut all of those square mortises, Danmart77 just posted his method to build mortises for a small door. I don’t know if you’ve seen or used that method before but maybe it would work on this project. I see Mark used round tenons on his crib.
    I will most likely rough out the mortises with a plunge router and clean up the ends with a chisel. Then cut the tenons on the table saw with a dado stack. I've had good luck with this method in the past and much quicker to knock out a lot of joints.

    I appreciate all the concerns for safety and I will certainly ensure that it exceeds today's code. I know that I could make it simpler, but I like to challenge myself to try new techniques with each build. Thanks again for the input thus far.

    Lastly... I've talked to my wife about painted vs stained/natural and shes kind of on board. She would certainly want a darker finish. As much as I would love to build it out of walnut, I'm not sure my budget can handle that as I'm still learning. Any recommendations on woods that I could dye/stain darker?

    -Bromley

    P.S. I should add that my CAD model is publicly available for all to see. The software I use, OnShape, is completely cloud based and can be used on any device. I will be modeling all of the joints as well as creating drawings showing all of the individual pieces. It is all contained in a single document linked below. And best of all its free to use!

    https://cad.onshape.com/documents/b3...26095fba10063f
    Last edited by mbromley; 01-03-2018 at 09:09 PM. Reason: added more

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion - In Progress

    I had some time to work more on the design/model tonight and get more of the joinery designed. Here are some exploded views of the back, side, and front of the crib. The sides will be bolted in through the front and back into metal threaded inserts.







    I'm still undecided about what to do with the lower front rail (and I would love the lower side rails to match) design detail. I want something to provide some shadows/detail, but not sure what it is as of yet. Currently I still have it modeled as just a glued/brad tacked trim work.

    -Bromley

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion - In Progress

    Quote Originally Posted by mbromley View Post
    I considered a frame and panel design, but I wasn't a huge fan of splitting up the bottom rail width and potentially losing some of the strength. I have read about scratch stocks some in FWW so thats definitely an option I could explore and a technique that I have yet to try.
    ...
    Would it be possible to route my own trim and just make all of the grain align? The short vertical end pieces would just then be end grain cut. I know this wouldn't look great for a piece with a natural finish, but would it work if painted?

    How thick were your slats in that design? I'm wondering if I can get away with resawing a 4/4 board for the slats so they would end up a 3/8" or more hopefully.
    ...
    Lastly... I've talked to my wife about painted vs stained/natural and shes kind of on board. She would certainly want a darker finish. As much as I would love to build it out of walnut, I'm not sure my budget can handle that as I'm still learning. Any recommendations on woods that I could dye/stain darker?
    ...
    Regarding the strength requirement of the lower-rail..what load will be placed on it? Depending on how you plan to support the mattress, the lower rail may be carrying essentially no load. This is the way it works in the crib I posted where the lower rail does nothing but carry the slats and keep the legs apart.

    Not sure what you meant by " route my own trim" - for which piece? If this is for the lower rail and this is to be painted, you could make your original design (with the mitered corners) out of a built up construction of plywood, then cover the edges with solid stock routed to have a round-over profile.

    Slats in my design are 1/2"..I believe I cut them out of 5/4 stock.

    To your last question about 'darker' wood choices..cherry - for example - darkens nicely over time, but can be spendy..$5.00/bf for 4/4 at the Hardwood Store. Cheaper woods like oak and ash can be stained. What's your $budget and how many bf do you need including waste?

    Finally, I would recommend you build your frame and panel assemblies using cope-and-stick or another method where the shadow lines are cut into the wood, not flat panels with nailed-on trim molding. Eventually, the putty covering the nail holes will shrink and/or the putty will be a different color than the surrounding wood (unless painted).

    -Mark

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion - In Progress

    OMG, there's lot of over thinking and over engineering the joinery and appearance/trim, etc for a simple project. It's a 3-in-1 baby/toddler bed for heaven's sake, not a family heirloom for 3 generations.

    Cherry or walnut would be nice wood choices with a naturally dark color. Poplar is also a nice choice with decent strength and it'll take a dye or stain pretty nicely followed by a topcoat (shellac, varnish, Waterlox, lacquer) that is non-toxic.

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion - In Progress

    Quote Originally Posted by mkepke View Post
    Regarding the strength requirement of the lower-rail..what load will be placed on it? Depending on how you plan to support the mattress, the lower rail may be carrying essentially no load. This is the way it works in the crib I posted where the lower rail does nothing but carry the slats and keep the legs apart.
    -Mark
    Excellent point, all of the load will be transferred down through the legs. Also, good point on the trim work for the back panel, I will go ahead and incorporate it into the edges of the stiles and rails. Tonight I will work on calculating the total board feet required + some waste to get a better feel of what the cost would be with a variety of woods.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    OMG, there's lot of over thinking and over engineering the joinery and appearance/trim, etc for a simple project. It's a 3-in-1 baby/toddler bed for heaven's sake, not a family heirloom for 3 generations.

    Cherry or walnut would be nice wood choices with a naturally dark color. Poplar is also a nice choice with decent strength and it'll take a dye or stain pretty nicely followed by a topcoat (shellac, varnish, Waterlox, lacquer) that is non-toxic.
    haha Jeff funny you mention over-engineering as I am an engineer and that is what I tend to do. #### I've laid out my bedroom arrangement in CAD before. I enjoy the planning and modeling in CAD and do it on a daily basis so its certainly overkill, but fun. I hope that it could also help someone one day if they would like to build this design. I find myself looking at furniture and trying to break it down into pieces in my mind and determine the joinery that could be used.

    Maybe not a family heirloom, but I do expect to use it for all of my kids and find enjoyment in building it. I could easily buy a crib cheaper than I can buy even just the wood for this one so it is more about the process and the reward at the end for me. Thank you for the feedback!

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion - In Progress

    You're welcome and thanks for tolerating my brief rant! I use SketchUp and also really enjoy the design concepts and then reducing those to practice in the shop.

    Maybe not a family heirloom, but I do expect to use it for all of my kids and find enjoyment in building it. I could easily buy a crib cheaper than I can buy even just the wood for this one so it is more about the process and the reward at the end for me.
    Carry on, enjoy, and have fun.

    BTW, mortises don't have to be squared up after making them with a plunge router. I also cut my tenons on a table saw but round over the corners to fit the oval mortises. Easier in my opinion with no loss in strength.

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion - In Progress

    I decided to just go with poplar since I still have lots to learn and this is a rather large piece. I headed down to Capitol City Lumber this morning and picked up what I think is all the wood that I will need (fingers crossed). The 4/4 poplar was on sale for $2.75/bf for any width which I thought was a pretty good deal. Unfortunately though it is S2S so their 4/4 is already 3/4. I laid out all of my 4/4 pieces to my cut list leaving just over 0.5" in width and 6" extra in length. After a few hours I had it all the 4/4 broken down to the rough dimensions.

    General opinion question - How flat is flat enough? If it was actually 4/4 then I would just plane it flat, but being that it is already 3/4" thick I don't really want to plane much off of it. Some of my longer rails have about 1/16" gap in the middle when a straight edge is laid along the length. I've got them in clamps now to attempt to straighten them out.

    Anyways onto the pictures. Tomorrow I'm going to start on the two crib sides, mainly the top rail and some mortise/tenons for the slats.









    -Bromley

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    Re: Crib Project from Design to Completion - In Progress

    General opinion question - How flat is flat enough? If it was actually 4/4 then I would just plane it flat, but being that it is already 3/4" thick I don't really want to plane much off of it. Some of my longer rails have about 1/16" gap in the middle when a straight edge is laid along the length. I've got them in clamps now to attempt to straighten them out.
    Don't get anal over how flat is flat enough. The wood is going to move with changes in its environment even after you've gone to great pains to make it ideal from the start.

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