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Baby Sidecar

author-gravatar bobelina Jan 02, 2020

This was my very first furniture project. I had made some plywood and construction lumber pieces before but had never attempted anything out of hardwood or with "real" wood joinery. This came out of necessity as we were expecting our first child and had no solution for co-sleeping that didn't involve me sleeping on a couch (not happening!).

The baby sidecar is made from red oak and is designed to fit a standard bassinet mattress (13 x 27). It sits on two legs and is supported against the bed by pieces that sit between the mattress and box spring. This acts to prevent it from tipping back and has enough friction hold to not allow it to slide out easily.

The idea is not new but it is not commercially available in Canada and the DIY versions I found online were mostly plywood boxes that were not accepted by my partner. After researching the government guidelines for crib safety I designed and built one that was safe for baby and mom approved.  

Overall, I am very happy with the outcome but there are many things I would change about it now.  Built in Dec 2018.

#redoak #babyfurniture #cosleeping #crib #bassinet #baby

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Just milling lumber.  Everything was made from 4/4 red oak.  It was my first hardwood project and I was not sure what I was getting into.  I made the lumber selection almost exclusively on price, and as red oak is on the low end I went with it.

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Quick and dirty tapering jig for the legs

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Laying out the tenons

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Test fit the frame...and realize that I messed up the taper on the legs.  It may be hard to tell in this pic but the taper is cut on the outside instead of the inside.  I decided to extend the taper all the way to the top and just go with it.  In the end, the look was a little unusual, but I liked it.

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Learning how to make more delicate legs.  I picked up this method from Marc Spagnuolo and I really liked the idea.  You can also see that I laminated the legs rather than springing for the thicker stock.  In hindsight, I would go for the thicker stock and try to get cleaner grain.  Live and learn. 

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Both legs pillowed

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Bunch of mortises using a drill press like a mill (not the cleanest method but it works)

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Adding some curves to soften the look. Here you can see the extended taper on the outside of the leg.

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Dry fit the frame.  The uprights all still need to be trimmed to size.  There are specific guidelines about how much the uprights can be proud of the rails.

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Making a tray to hold the bassinet mattress.  The curves were cut to match the rails and the corner cutouts are to help it clear the legs without creating a gap.  The size of this gap is mandated in the government safety guidelines.

Photo of Baby Sidecar

These supports hook to the bottom rail (and are held in place with screws) and they slide between the mattress and the box spring.  This prevents the piece from tipping backwards, and the friction is enough to make it not slide out.

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Test assembly to see the overall look.

Photo of Baby Sidecar

This is the "bed side".  The supports will go under the mattress to keep it in place and the tray gets screwed to the legs and sides at the height of the mattress. (the can is there just to hold it up so I can see how it looks)

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Danish oil finish.

Photo of Baby Sidecar

In place by the bed.  The bassinet mattress is set just slightly below the bed mattress top.  This was done to prevent the baby from rolling out into the bed.  However the difference is slight so it is easy for a parent to reach in and pull the baby close.

Photo of Baby Sidecar

Side view.  Here you can see the supports screwed into the cross member and extending under the mattress. 

Photo of Baby Sidecar
Photo of Baby Sidecar

1 comment

You knocked this out of the park! First time working with solid wood? Excellent work. Congrats on the baby! Thanks for sharing here on SimpleCove!

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