The crib is complete

Cribpics 6-19-2005 002

It took a while, but it’s finished! The hardware went on pretty easily and final assembly only took about an hour.

For those of you who are coming in late, quite a while ago I decided to build a crib for Ginny, my new daughter. I ended up building a matching changing table first. Both were built “from scratch”, using the crib plans as a guide for the changing table. I bought a hardware kit for the crib, as making the slid hardware and box spring would be pretty tough.

While the project was fun, there was also a bit of pressure and now it’s really nice to have it done 8–)

For anyone considering building the same project, using the same plans:

  • I did individual mortise and tenon joints for the slats instead of the slot & filler block approach they suggested. I thought it would be much easier to assemble, and I think I was right. However, it takes a long time to make all the mortise and tenons. I think it’s much more work to do it my way, but I have a real fear of complicated glue-ups.
  • The instructions don’t include how to install the hardware, although figuring it out from the plans is not too difficult. The only thing I would do differently is to install the threaded inserts in the legs while the legs are unassembled. Use a drill press (turned off) to align them properly and help with the installation. I waited until after they were assembled, and installation resulted in some splintering.
  • I used General Finishes wipe-on polyurethane as a finish, which is non-toxic when cured. It worked out pretty well. I put two coats on the pieces before they were assembled, and the rest in sub-assemblies. Then, during final assembly, there was no need to worry about glue squeeze-out – it just pops off after it’s cured.
  • Everyone wants to know if building it myself saved money. Usually, building your own furniture, like shooting your own meat, is NOT the cheap way to go. It’s not that you waste money, exactly, it’s that between new tools and the increased quality of materials it just ends up being more expensive. In this case I spent about $300 on wood, $140 on the plans and hardware kit, and perhaps another $50 on incidentals and finishing. This yielded the crib and changing table, of quality equal to or better to what we’ve seen at Pottery Barn Kids and other stores. Figure my $490 vs. about $900 to buy them. That assumes I don’t get paid, which is ok – I did it for fun. I also didn’t have to get any new tools, although a new router mysteriously showed up in the middle somewhere.

Crib Update

With all that’s gone on in the past two months, I totally forgot to post anything about the crib I’m building. So I thought I would put up a short update.

I finished the changing table, and it’s in use. The crib, on the other hand, quickly fell by the wayside once Ginny was born. Of course, she’s been growing like a weed and will soon outgrow the bassinet we have her in. Pretty soon she’ll look like a lobster in a butter dish – of course, the cutest lobster in the world.

So I’ve been working on the crib and am now varnishing the 58 pieces that will be glued together to create it. I’m starting to loathe wipe-on varnish, and yearn for a spray system. We have nowhere to use such a system, so it’s back to wiping. It takes about 3 hours to sand everything, clean all the dust off, and varnish.

If everything goes well, she should be sleeping in her new bed by Monday or Tuesday next week. I will have pictures then. The construction is exactly the same as the changing table, so there hasn’t been anything really new to show anyway.

Baby Crib Progress, #7

I actually wiped on the first coat of varnish on Sunday, and the second coat tonight. I’m not taking any pictures because everything is still just a pile of sticks. I’m no fool – it’s much easier to varnish things before they’re put together.

Saturday was quite productive, and I finished all the cutting and joinery, test fit enough pieces to make sure everything was going to go together ok, and then started sanding. Later I got to the store to pick up a gallon of General Finish’s Wipe-on Poly Urethane, gloves and whatnot. I never manage to keep that stuff on hand – finishes are always going bad in my basement. I learned a long time ago the only thing worse than the wrong finish is stuff that’s too old to use properly.

So, it’s another coat each day this week, and then some assembly on Saturday, and a few more coats after that.