Baby Crib Project
My daughters, Jessie and Elyse, are both due at the end of March 2018. Jessie still needs a crib. So the question of: “What is the next project?” has been decided, and I have a rather short timeline. However, if push comes to shove, she can use the same cradle that she slept in as a baby that my dad made, while I finish the crib. This is another project where I am following in my Father’s footsteps making things for the grandkids.
- Solid back – avoid little fingers finding outlets and easier cleanup after dinner gets launched. Flat panel rather than raised panel per Jessie’s preference.
- Adjustable mattress height
- Convertible to a bed. This will make it last, rather than be a 2 year item. Appearance as a bed will take precedence over appearance as a crib.
- Follow CPSC guidelines for safety. This includes no cut outs – so much for Mackintosh style slats I had wanted to do on the CNC router (besides Teal and Jessie are not fans).
- Design needs to complement the other furniture I have made for Jessie which is of a craftsman style and have the same finish
So we have been digging through many Google Images, Pinterest, LumberJocks and many other websites looking for ideas as a launch point. There are a lot of ugly cribs out there! Besides, many designs that look OK as a crib do not look very good as a bed. On top of it you have the predominance of MDF and particle board based junk that is on most of the web sites.
Given that Jessie is expecting a girl, I was hoping for a sleigh crib / bed sort of design. However, many “sleigh cribs” have weird lumps for curves that seem to have been tacked onto an otherwise square leg. I want something that will be smooth and flowing. Plus, this will give me another excuse to play with the CNC router. Although, a band saw and spokeshave or template and router would probably work well, too. For Elyse’s queen size bed, the curves were laid out on a template and then pattern cut with a band saw and router. Her bed (ca. 2009) is shown below.
Now, I want to do something that is more “organic and flowing” for the end posts rather than ending squarely at the floor. This is a tall order for an engineering mind.
Much has been said about the changes in safety standards for cribs. The slat spacing requirements have changed, no more drop fronts (yeah!). However I was still worried about safety and started more research. The primary resources I used are:
- CPSC website: Full-Size Baby Cribs Business Guidance & Small Entity Compliance Guide which provides the inside dimensions but is silent on spindle spacing.
- International Association on Child Safety: iafcs.org/docs/Docs_Head_Entrapment_Presentation_Revised_2013.pdf which does provide spindle spacing and other useful information.
- National Institutes of Health: Age, side height, and spindle shape of the crib in climbing over the side.
Where to start?
After several evenings of web searches and IM messages back and forth with Jessie, a leading candidate for the basis of the design emerged. It is the “Franklin and Ben Mayfair Crib”. For an example see: Mayfair Crib This was the first site that it popped up on. Others sites list it as discontinued.
This is just a starting point. As on many projects, I will look at multiple designs and then take the pieces I like and modify for more robust construction and the techniques that I prefer.
Things I like in the design:
- The outside sweep of the posts – especially the inward curving feet and no “lumps”
- Curved top rails (teething deterrent). These will end up looking more like Elyse’s sleigh bed
- Looks nice as a bed
- Nearly solid back
- Openings at the ends of the back panel
Things that must be improved:
- Flat panel in back looks like it was tacked on
- Lots of fasteners and holes showing
- Flat inside edges of the legs when viewed from the side
- Extra side and bottom parts hanging on when converted to a bed
- Front bottom rail – likely will be removed as this will not be a day bed but rather converted to a full size directly (pending approval)
So now I need to gather basic dimensions and start the new design.