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Baby Crib - to build or buy?


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#21 Bunnyblaster

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 10:55 AM

I'm currently in the process of building our first child's crib. I can assure you...its not cheaper by any means. Given the equipment I've purchased, materials, and random trips to Woodcraft, this bed will run me at least $3000. Aside from the equipment I may have $500 in wood and materials. But, it is unlike any other crib I've ever seen, and hopefully when he's 26 or so he'll recognize the effort that went into it. There are websites out there that give you all the dimensions you need to know to stay in line with government restrictions. A friend of mine built one for his first child from walnut with a poly finish, and it turned out great. His biggest flaw was that the whole thing was glue and doweled together. Its not coming apart. Ever. Mine will break down all 4 sides so it will store easy....but its going to be really heavy.

Its not going to be done by the time he gets here. My wife is due thursday, and I've got a couple more weeks before its done. Luckily he won't be in the crib for a bit.

It all came down to really wanting to make something that will last several generations until they require all babies stay in a vented plastic bubble until they are 18.

Congrats man.

Oh. One more thing. I second the comment about a woman's sense of smell while pregnant. I swear I could have used her to track wounded deer back in July. It was nuts.

#22 Vic

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 11:48 AM

My wife and I are expecting our first baby and I am considering building the crib. Anyone have any experience with this type of project? Specifically, has anyone built one like this and know about how many board feet of lumber I would need? I'm just wanting to get a rough estimate in order to do an analysis of the cost of building vs. buying. Thanks in advance for any help and advice!


I recently completed this one for my best friend and his wife. It took me about 2 1/2 months, but was a great learning experience and the Mom loves it.

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  • Gretchin\'s Cradle.jpg

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#23 jusfine

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:15 AM

Congratulations!

We just found out our daughter is going to have a child later this summer (our first grandchild), so I am in a similar sinking boat, but with Vic's offer of assistance, I think I will "copy" the crib he built.

Thanks again for all your help so far, Vic!
Randy "Speak as if every word matters, it does!"

#24 Vic

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 12:45 PM

No problem. I'll try to catch up on my blog this weekend, so you have more information. Also, feel free to PM me or call anytime.

#25 Vic

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 08:51 PM

Congratulations!

We just found out our daughter is going to have a child later this summer (our first grandchild), so I am in a similar sinking boat, but with Vic's offer of assistance, I think I will "copy" the crib he built.

Thanks again for all your help so far, Vic!


If it helps any I went back and put the photos in chronological order for Gretchin's Cradle. You can view them on the slide show at http://woodtalkonlin...etchins-cradle/ or individually at
I hope that helps. As I said, I'll, hopefully, gets some more in my blog soon and you can always contact me if you have specific questions.
The hardest part of the entire build was fitting the gussets.

I guess it posted the slide show here...so, cool..I guess.
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#26 sophia

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 10:00 PM

Whether it is built or buys, the baby crib should be comfortable, durable and the most important is their safeness. The rib is really your baby’s safe haven therefore it must be the most secure.

#27 RyanD

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 04:12 PM

I would like this thread to continue because i've been thinking of building the crib when our first arrives. I started this thread thinking I was going to build it and I ended the thread thinking I was going to buy it but then I read up on the regulations and now I think I want to build it again because even though I'm not an expert wood working I'm sure I can do a better job than the people in China. The regulations are pretty basic so following them is not hard and as long as the joints are nice and sound I see no concerns about safety at least I'll know how it's built and I'll be sure it's up to code. I would like some additional opinions on this though.

#28 Particle Board

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 05:26 PM

Just buy one. This one looks real nice and doubles as a table. Little sucker wont escape.

http://ak1.ostkcdn.c...s/P13808180.jpg
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#29 RyanD

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 05:55 PM

Just buy one. This one looks real nice and doubles as a table. Little sucker wont escape.

http://ak1.ostkcdn.c...s/P13808180.jpg


That's clever!

#30 Boatworks Today

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 01:48 PM

I built mine after looking (scouring) over all the reviews, regulations, etc. It wasn't a money issue for me (cause I didn't have any :) ) I guess it boiled down to sentiment. Our property is mature hardwoods and the Winter before we found out we were expecting, a HUGE yellow birch blew down in a storm. The main trunk was straight as an arrow, and probably 22" diameter. The upper trunks were still 12" diameter so there was A LOT of lumber laying there.. Loaded it into the truck with a tractor and hauled it down to the local mill. A year later, my daughter is sleeping in a crib that was built from that tree.. Call me a softy, but I don't know that many people can give that same story to their children when they're older :P Kinda cool IMO..

Ended up going with a fold-down style for a couple of reasons. Getting them in / out when they're tiny meant not really having to bend over to clear the top railing. Safety wise it seemed the most secure (really no moving pieces that could slide down and hurt them). Mama gave me some print outs of a few cribs that she liked telling me what she liked / didn't like and I tried my best to incorporate them into the design. The mattress hardware is such that the mattress is able to be lowered as they grow (takes about 5 minutes). Everything was mortise / tenon for the slats. The only plywood is on the ends. Because of formaldehyde issues found a company that uses soy glue for their laminates so zero issue there.

Cost wise, it was probably a little cheaper than buying a cheap(er) one. My wife wanted an 'organic' mattress, sheets, etc. When I saw the price tag for the mattress I almost fell over! But, she was able to get it on a Black Friday and it ended up being $100 cheaper. I want to say that between the mattress, hardware, bumper thing for the inside, sheets, skirt, etc it was around $500 (I only had $20 into the milling of the lumber so that was a huge savings!) That being said (I may be a little partial here) I have no doubt that it's much better quality than anything we could have ever afforded to buy, and I am sure it will be handed down for my grandkids to sleep in...

If you have the time, I'd say to do it; but do your homework. I think I had roughly 100 hours into mine, but there was quite a bit of detail and figuring out with the design. Here's a few pics of how it turned out. I've since pulled the wheels off the legs (didn't like them)..

IMAG0234.jpg IMAG0235.jpg IMAG0239.jpg IMAG0240.jpg IMAG0233.jpg
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#31 Rob Horton

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 04:20 PM

The mattress hardware is such that the mattress is able to be lowered as they grow (takes about 5 minutes).

It takes about five minutes to lower the mattress or it takes about five minutes for them to grow?
The answer, of course, is all of the above.

#32 JMadson Custom Wood

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 10:26 AM

There's few purchases that have a bigger impact on your child's safety than the crib. I know the chances of something going wrong are small, but the risk is not worth it to me.

Would you make a car seat for your baby?

#33 Boatworks Today

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 10:49 AM

I can see your point, but if the research is done and the crib is built to the safety specs (or exceeds them) that all the other manufacturers are adhering to I do not see any difference. At least this way I KNOW every aspect of the construction and materials used; store bought ones.. Who really knows for sure? Just look at the number of safety recalls every month on the things people buy that are "supposed" to be safe.. I'll take my chances and trust my judgement.

For the crib I looked at strength requirements, finishing safety, formaldehyde issues (gassing off), spacing, hardware selection and design considerations.. Obsessively researched for more than 2 months and when it was all said and done, I feel that I actually exceeded the requirements and standards of the "commercial" manufacturers. Unless a person is willing to do this (to this extent) I would not recommend it. But, like I said as long as you do your homework, I do not feel that a hand crafted crib is any less safe..

As far as the car seat example I think that's like comparing apples to oranges. There are A LOT more considerations to take in for that scenario..
You may fall down on your face, Roll the dice and have some faith :-) ~ZBB
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#34 Redbaran

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 02:16 PM

I built mine after looking (scouring) over all the reviews, regulations, etc...

IMAG0234.jpg


This is a really nice looking crib that you've built! Congratulations on the crib and what goes in it.

It sounds like this is your design, correct? Could you post some dimensions, especially ones that relate to safety such as rail spacing? I'm interested in using this as a starting point.

#35 Boatworks Today

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 10:24 PM

Hey Redbaran, you bet :) As soon as the Holidays are over I'll work on putting together (and finding) my notes. Should be able to get some info to you this coming week. Would this be for a little one you have on the way, or as a gift? Either way, Congrats!

Happy Holidays!
You may fall down on your face, Roll the dice and have some faith :-) ~ZBB
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#36 Davin Norton

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 04:59 PM

I say absolutely build your own. I built this for my daughter 2 years ago and would not have it any other way. It'll be with us and her for generations to come.

https://plus.google....=CKW43dvsxMCrBA

Many, many....many mortise and tenon joints. Converts to a double bed and followed all of the safety guidelines that new baby beds are built to. Solid as a rock and a lot of walnut to boot. About 5 coats of a BLO, poly, danish oil mix and a month to cure before she slept in it. I am not worried.

#37 tdale51

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 08:18 PM

I just finished building a crib for my daughters first born. I did quite a bit of research on the subject beforehand. I'll say this much, to date it was the most complicated project I've ever done! Somewhere in the neighborhood of 108 mortise and tenon joints! I built what is basically Rockler's 3in1 but I found adapted plans at www.provenwoodworking.com Jim there was extremely helpful and answered any questions I had along the way, usually within 24 hours. The best part is included in his plans is a life saver of a jig to make each of the 52 slats identical. After all is said and done I think it came out pretty darn nice and I have no doubts my granddaughter will be safe and sound in it. I'll post pictures as soon as my daughter gets the crib. It's just not fair for y'all to see it while she's still waiting for it to arrive :rolleyes: . Take your time, lay it out correctly and assemble it with precision and a hand made crib will be just as safe, and last many times longer (IMO) than something shipped in from China made from MDF and slathered in lead based paint.
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#38 Boatworks Today

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:39 AM

*
POPULAR

OK, finally got through the Holidays and am able to get back to this thread.. I think the best thing to do since there is A LOT of info to scour through is to post links to some of the resources I found most informative for both information and hardware (as well as some pics of how I built mine). I want to stress upfront that I am not claiming to be an expert on cribs, but rather someone who did a lot of research, and the resulting crib is my interpretation of the information I read :)

Inside dimensions for cribs have a set size for standard mattresses that went into effect in Dec 2010. Best place to get all the info is though the Consumer Product Safety Commission http://www.cpsc.gov/ Search for baby crib and get ready to read for the next week :) Most of the info seemed like common sense stuff to me, but it's still important to read. These sites gives a summary on some of the basics http://www.naturalec...ess-sizes.shtml and http://www.thebabyde...-standards.aspx

The best place (and really the only place I found for the hardware I needed) was through Products America http://www.productsamerica.com/
I bought the mattress springs and gate latches from here.. The brass hinges I got locally (I wanted to be able to hold and feel the hinges to make sure they weren't cheap crap). Depending on the style of crib you decide to go with, one consideration to keep in mind is to make sure the hinge base does not protrude beyond the wood (i.e. the wood railing needs to be thicker than the length of the hinge foot so no sharp edge can be touched) IMG_9290.jpg

The top of my crib has an arch that runs lengthwise on the front and back rails. Overall height on the ends was 43.5" and the center or peak height was 44.75" IMG_9272.jpg

The width of the cap rails are 1.75" for the front and 3.25" for the sides and back. All thickness was .75" IMG_9282.jpg IMG_9289.jpg

Slats were 1.75" wide x 3/8" thick with 1/4" M&T and spaced every 2". Regulations limit a max spacing of 2 3/8" (less was fine). IMG_9276.jpg All edges are rounded over

The gate latch is a heavy spring loaded thing on opposite ends of the crib. I believe requirements are a minimum of 10 lbs of presure open each latch. IMG_9273.jpg I also made sure the folding gate seated into a notch when it was closed. This prevents the gate from being able to be pulled in. Pulling from the outside, the latches were strong enough for me to pull the entire crib over without releasing or failing (maybe 50-60 pounds of force?)

For the folding section of the crib, I determined that point to be roughly 30.25" fron the floor. IMG_9285.jpg When the mattress height is all the way up and the top gate is folded down this left roughly 16" above the mattress (only when she was a newborn and not able to move / roll or crawl.) Easy height to get them in and out without having to bend over too much. With the mattress lowered all the way and the gate up, the top railing is roughly 30". She's able to stand on her tippy-toes and the railing is about eye height. Once she's able to pull her first chin-up, then it's time to switch to a toddler bed. :unsure:

I was able to stand in the crib and it supported my weight; so I have no concerns about her jumping up and down with the risk of something breaking. All the slats were M&T, and end panels were glued and screwed with stainless #10 screws. I didn't design this crib to be converted to anything else (like a 3 in 1 as they grow). We're probably going to be having another young one within the year, so the crib will still be in use and I'll have to make a toddler bed. Not a bad deal IMO :) More time in the shop!

I used 1/2" Pure Bond Plywood form Home Depot for the sides. Formaldehyde is an issue with commmon glues used in plywood and the pure bond is made with soy glue (no issues with gassing off). The stain and finish was by Crystalac (water based) that is certified safe to use for toys and childrens furniture. There are other brands avail; this is just what I'm familiar with and like the way it sprays. It's made in the USA so I felt that there wasn't going to be any "Grey" area on it's safety certifications. Even still, after the final coat of finish I let it cure in the shop for 2 weeks before bringing it home...

UPDATE: One thing we found when she was getting more adventerous with her climbing is that the bumper pad that runs around the interior of the crib had to be folded back on the front (see 2nd pic of this post). She was able to stand on that and get her other leg up on the fold down hinged railing and stand straight up! She thought it was funny; we didn't! With the pad folded around the side that took care of that problem. We anticipated this as a possible issue when looking over the different crib designs. There is no "perfect design" and they all have their advantages and drawbacks. I intentionally set the height of the hinge where she would not be able to climb up once the bumper pad was removed. Just didn't think she would try climbing up as early as she did :o .

So, once again I can't stress enough that anyone looking to do this REALLY do their homework! There is A LOT of info that I was not able to put in this post! But, hopefully it will provide a basic starting point.
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#39 Redbaran

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 06:28 PM

OK, finally got through the Holidays and am able to get back to this thread..


Thanks a ton for posting your notes! I'm still not sure if I'm going to be able to make enough progress on my other projects, but with what I've seen so far, it's a very do-able project. The great thing about the internet is that your post will be a great resource. Thanks for taking the time!

#40 verteramofurniture

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:56 PM

boatworks. nice crib! im working on designing a crib for a future kid.
i've been looking at the mattress hardware from america products. JW what size you ended up getting and what the inner dimensions of the crib came out to, I see online it says standard crib mattress size is 51 5/8 by 27 1/4. but the mattess' at babys r us are all different sizes.

thx marcus





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