I have a new baby on the way so I needed somewhere for it to sleep. I'm a believer in co sleeping so this crib had to double as a co sleeper. The bassinet is made from Meranti and the leg assembly from Tasmanian oak.
You can watch the full project video here:
Step 1: Build the Crib Frame
I cut all the pieces down to size from dressed timber. Using a stop-block and a mitre saw made this step a lot easier and more accurate. I was working from measurements based on a specific size mattress. There are a few different sizes out there so double check before making all your cuts.
Once the timber was all cut to length I could mark out for the dowels. I used 3 dowels in each end of the stiles. Using a drill press I drilled roughly 20mm holes into the timber then used some dowel centre points to mirror the location of the holes onto the rails. Squeezing the 2 parts together transferred the holes exactly.
Using a speed square I could drill perpendicular holes into the rails through the end grain. You want these holes to be as perpendicular as possible otherwise the piece won't fit together well.
I could then dry fit the frame and take measurements of the inside distance between the rails. This let me know how long the slats would need to be, plus the tenon. I could then route out the mortises into the rails and then glue it all together.
I used epoxy for this to give me as much open time as possible. Fitting all those slats takes a while.
Once the epoxy dried I sanded all the parts and gave them a generous round over with a router.
Step 2: Add the Hardware/Mechanicals to the Bassinet
Once the 4 side panels of the bassinet were all glued up I turned my attention to the mechanical parts.
First up was the door. This was 3 pieces of timber glued to form a panel. I made 2 of these panels, one for the bottom half (glued in place) and one for the top half. Keep in mind that a mattress can be a significant height, so factor that into the height of the sides.
Next were the hinges. These are face mounting hinges and they were used on purpose. When the door is folded down these hinges disappear which is good for 2 reasons; they're less visible but they're also out of the way of little fingers. The hinges are the only potentially sharp object so I wanted them to be out of reach of my child.
The mattress would sit on a sheet of MDF and that sheet would need rails. The rails were glued and screwed into the frame and the MDF panel would stop the crib from racking.
I want to make mention of the MDF that I used. MDF is made using formaldehyde and slowly releases it in a process called "off-gassing". Depending on the MDF you use it will have less of more formaldehyde. In my case I chose a panel with a low "E" number and I painted the entire panel with 3 coats of paint. This helps to reduce the amount of the chemical that gets released. But with all that said, formaldehyde is found naturally in food, this panel releases less than you would receive from eating shellfish.
Step 3: The Pivot Point
The crib needed to be able to rock, this would be taken care of by a 25mm dowel. To give the dowel some strength in the frame, where it would be glued, I added a disc of the same timber to the frame. This took the width of the frame, that the dowel would be inserted into, from 18mm to 36mm. It gave the pivot point more strength. It also added a washer to give the cot section some clearance from the legs.
After the glue had dried on the disc (which was cut out using a hole saw) I could glued the dowel in using epoxy. I used epoxy for this join so that even the end grain would be engaged in the join (regular wood glue doesn't work well with end grain).
Step 4: The Leg Assembly
The leg assembly is a simple half lap join at the base and a through mortise and tenon rail.
I removed half the thickness of the timber from 2 short pieces. These short pieces would be glued around the long upright forming the foot.
Once the glue had dried on the foot I drilled out a 25mm hole using a spade bit and cut the hole open using a bandsaw. There was a bit of an angle on the bandsaw cut that would make it easier to place the crib into the legs.
Next up I removed a square hole in the legs for the rail. This was a snug fit which was great because this was the only things stopping the entire leg assembly from racking.
The legs were glued to the rail and were checked for square.
The last job was to add some oil to the entire piece. There is a lot of information out there regarding child safe finishes. My approach was to start the project knowing I would be using a benchtop (food grade) oil so I had to get the finish smooth enough to look good with oil. All the parts were sanded between stages so I could get a good, consistent surface.
Step 5: Some Glamour Shots
And that was it, it just needed to be assembled.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this Instructable. I have more information in the YouTube video, have a watch of that if you're unsure of some of the steps.