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Walnut And Maple Crib

author-gravatar gigahertzWood Dec 09, 2018

I built this walnut and maple crib based on Matt Cremona's design for my first niece. The mattress frame can be raised for infants, and I built a toddler bed foot board for later down the road. This project uses all mortise and tenon joinery and furniture connector bolts for assembly. 

The crib is finished with several coats of pure tung oil (Real Milk Paint Half&Half) and a coat of carnauba wax.

I designed the crib to be converted into a toddler bed as well. By using Matt's design with the legs + sides as one piece and the head and foot boards as a separate pieces, it allowed for creating the toddler foot board without having to build a whole new set of legs. Much easier!

I started off with a single piece of 8/4 walnut for the legs and was able to keep continuous grain on both sets of legs by cutting down the center pith line.

The legs are planed down to their final dimension of 1 3/4" by 3 1/2". I did wait a week or so between removing waste, but much later discovered that the legs still managed to bow slightly. Should have done the dimensioning in smaller increments. 

Time for the mortise and tenon joinery! I hogged out the waste on the drill press...

...then cleaned them up with my mortise chisels. 

After finishing the tenons on the bottom rails, I clamped one side together to get the angle of the top rail. The back legs are 42" tall and the front legs are 36".

I transferred the top rail angle with the t-bevel and cut the ends on my crosscut sled. 

Then I lined up the ends with the leg mortises using the shoulder... 

...and clamped the boards to my crosscut sled to cut the tenons to size.

All the mortise and tenons finished!

Instead of using brass rods to secure the railings to the legs like Matt, I decided to use furniture connector bolts through the legs into the railings by putting t-nuts in the tenons. I used a forstner bit to countersink the bolt heads flush with the leg surface. 

Then I clamped the legs to the railings to line up the holes for the connector bolts.

The first mistake. Crib mattresses are standard sizes, except when they are not. Turns out my niece's crib mattress was an inch shorter than mine, so I had to plug the holes and shorten the shoulder and tenons on the railings. 

Second mistake. One of the boards slipped while cutting the tenon shoulder on the crosscut sled, so I had to glue a strip back on. 

Third mistake. Long after I had finished all the joinery, I discovered the legs had managed to bow about 1/8" along the length. I attempted to bend them back by raising the ends, clamping the middle with some wet paper towels on the bowed side and letting them dry out. It did not work, but luckily all the legs bowed in exactly the same way so that the bow matched front to back. 

Dry fit of the sides. Teardrop camper for scale. 

Dry fit of the full frame. Small child for scale. 

Lining up all the straight railing boards to mark out the dowel holes. 

For the angled railings I lined up the side rail tenon shoulders with the legs and marked the center line for the dowel holes with a t-square. 

Time to drill dowel holes. So many holes...

I used my t-bevel the set the angle of the top side rail on the drill press.

Finished drilling all the holes. 104 dowel holes and many more drilled for the mortises. Time for a new drill bit!

Dry fit of the mattress frame. The slats are made from some leftover oak flooring. In the background are all 5 railings for the crib and toddler head and foot boards. 

I used a story stick to set the mattress frame to drill the holes for the raised position. You can see where I drilled out and chiseled slots for the slats to lay flush in the frame. I'm seriously considering investing in a mortising machine at this point. 

I don't have a table saw taper jig yet, so I built a little jig to use my miter saw to cut the taper on the bottom of the legs. Probably should have just built a taper jig...

I outsourced the 3/4" maple dowels from an online company, and used my old lathe to do a light sanding and finishing before the glue-up. 

All the boards cleaned up and ready for finishing. Here you can see a shot of the t-nuts imbedded in the tenons. 

The toddler foot board does not have a top railing, and I needed a way to cover up the top mortises in the legs. I made these end caps and a pair of maple boards to cover the sides of the foot board. Here's a closeup of the end caps and t-nuts in the tenons. 

Dry fit of the toddler foot board. The half-rail fits around the maple end-pieces, which are mortised into the bottom railing.

The final dry fit. Tiny baby doll for scale. 

Gluing up the head board. Something something not enough clamps...

Glamour shots! Toddler foot board.

Crib foot board.

Crib head board.

Crib sides. 

Front view of the legs. Love the book-matched grain!

Front view of the mattress frame.

Back view of the mattress frame. I added supports under every third slat to create a torsion box of sorts. Its strong enough to barely flex under my weight. 

Full toddler bed. 

Front view of the crib.

Side view of the crib with the mattress in the raised position.

This was my second crib build, and I really enjoyed this project. Matt Cremona designed an excellent and beautiful crib and his video and blog post were very helpful during the build process. Thanks for viewing!

1 comment

Fantastic work on the crib! Thanks for sharing.

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