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Becky's Cradle
11/28/06

 

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This is the third time I've made this cradle. You can find the Plans for this project in the October '87 issue of WOOD Magazine or you can purchase the plans by clicking on this link.
I began this project by selecting stock for the cradle ends. Try to orient the stock to make the grain flow from one piece to the next. This will help to make the glue lines disappear!
The plans call for dowels to align the five pieces to this assembly. I've chosen to use busicuts this time, both because of their strenght, and because it's much faster than cutting slots than getting out the dowel jig. 

You can go here to learn about using a biscuit joiner.

If you've never glued up a panel like this, go here for a couple of tips getting yours to lay flat

Then of, course there's lots of sanding to get those panels smooth at the seams! I'm using my Porter Cable 6" random orbital sander to get the job done. 
Ok now onto the sides of the baskets and all those slats! Here I'm making the 1/4" dados for those slats to fit into. It's important to use a feather board
Now the 1/4" dado to hold the cradle bottom. This is cut an angle, so the sides flair out. 
Ok now to round over these pieces. I used a 1/4" round over bit to ease the edges next to the grooves, and a 3/8" bit to round over the rest. Set your router table's fence so it's in line with the bits bearing surface.  Let the fence guide the stock, not the bearing.

Porter Cable Sander


Rockler's
Feather Boards


Hartville Tool's Feather Boards

Lots of feather boards! But this really helps to make the round over cuts smooth. It's alot safer too. 

You can also purchase these three feather boards as a package deal here.

This page has a few tips for improving, or building your own router table.

Yeah thats me, showing proper technique. Ok fine, just be careful not to nick your fingers, you'll need them tomorrow. Use a pushstick near the end of the pass.

Four-piece router accessory kit and Featherboards


Round over Bits


walnut hardwood

This is the before and after pic of that operation, you can see why a router table with a fence is needed. There is no place for the bearing to ride, because of the dado. 
The other edges get routed with a 3/8" roundover bit to match the ends of the cradle.
See my Ride: 1600 Vulcan Crusier
Assembling the basket sides is probably the most challenging part of this project, but like all plans from Wood Magazines, the process is broken down into less intimidating steps!

Cut the parts being careful to be consistant, all the small spacer pieces need to be the same lenght to maintain proper size of the basket.

 
Whenever I need to glue up little pieces, I perfer to use epoxy. Not for it's strength, but if any squeezes out, it can be easily cleaned up with thinner, or if left alone, it will blend in with most clear finishes. 
The epoxy also has a long open time, which means you have a lot of time to assemble all the parts and fiddle with the squareness. Also remember to do a diagonal measurment to square the final assembly up.
I'll let it sit in the clamps overnite, then tomorrow I'll cut the rails to the proper lenght on my radial arm saw.
While the sides are drying, I can start laying out the ends. Make sure your pencil is sharp so you have a fine line to follow. 
You can cut the end panels out any way your most comfortable with. I perfer to use my trim saw. First I measure how far the blade is from the edge of my saws baseplate, then I use that dimension to set my straight edge.

The straight edge gives me a nice straight cut every time. 

Porter Cable 314 4-1/2 Porter Cable 314 4-1/2" Trim Saw

4.5 Amp, AC/DC motor, 4,500 RPM.Rugged 
worm gear drive, 100% ball bearings.
Cuts 1 5/16" at 90 & 1 1/16" at 45.
Includes: Saw, 20T carbide-tipped Riptide™ 
blade, blade wrench, knob, basic insert, 
and operating manual.

Clean up the inside corners with the drum sander. Just get it close, final sanding is later on.
Take the cut end and trace around it to layout the second panel, and cut it out the same way as before. 
Lots of sanding! If you clamp the two ends together like in the pic at left, your sander sits on a wider surface, and is less likely to round over the edges.
If you have a jointer, you can save some time cleaning up these edges. 
I clamped the ends and sides together to help me layout this next step. The plans call for dowels to hold all this together, I perfer to use wood screws with walnut plugs to cover the screws. This is really very easy to do! I use a tapered drill with a counter bore to drill the screw holes in one operation. This drill leaves a 3/8" counter bore with will accept the tapered plugs.

Tapered drill bits

Tapered drill bits with counterbore
 


Tapered Plug Cutters

In this pic I'm running in some 2" screws, just to hold the whole mess together temporarily. I need to mark where to rout the edges of the ends, and where not to rout! I can also take my sander and clean up the joints and make them flush.
Ah, it's starting to take shape! 
 

 
Ok, now we start on the frames that the cradle basket will swing from. The plans call for 1" stock, I beefed it up to 1-1/4" stock, just because I like the look. I also use three dowels to connect the parts instead of two. 

Here you can see the layout lines for the dowels....

...and the location of the dowels, not too close to the edges because some of the stock will be trimmed away.
Here is a pic of my dowel jig, there ar fancier ones out ther, but this one has served me well for many years. 
I like to use the grooved dowels, they allow excess glue to make it back out of the hole, instead of being pushed down into the hole. These dowels also swell in the holes when the glues is applied, making them very strong. 

Dowel Jig


Fluted
Dowel Pins


Dark wood glue

A clamp above and below, to keep the assembly flat. Too much pressure on one side and you'll have problems....
....a straight edge over the joint will prove if the assembly is perfectly flat.
Cut the assembly out the same way you cut the cradle end pieces. Take care to making that long cut, you want it nice and straight! This will reduce sanding time....
.......and no one likes sanding! Clamp the two supports together as shown, this gives you a wider surface to sand, and is less likely to round over the edges.
Now here you want to round over the edged, with a 1/4" radius bit. Do all the edges except where the feet touch the floor.
The plans call for dowels to join the support legs with the center stretcher. I pefer using 3" wood screws and then pluging the counter bore with a matching walnut plug.
So there is no problem with wood glue squeezing out at this point, I used epoxy instead. If some of the epoxy does squeeze out, it's easily cleaned, and any that gets missed will virtually dissapear as soon as the finish is applied!

The finished stand for the cradle.

This pic shows the bearing support.
Click Here to purchase the Bearing Hardware!

The finished pic:

Thank you for following along this far, if you would like to make this Pendulum Cradle,
follow this link to WOOD Magazine!

 
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