Ethan’s Crib

My nephew, Ethan Badura, was born on April 29, 2015. In March, my sister asked my dad and me to build a crib for him.

Between my dad, Chrystina (my SO), and myself, we designed and built a beautiful crib for Ethan. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I didn’t clock how many hours it took, but if I have to throw some numbers around, it was at least 200 hours for myself alone.

My dad was a huge help. He bought all of the wood (and had to drive several hours to get it), helped with the woodworking, and had many great ideas for the trickier parts of the design.

Chrystina also contributed. She sketched the shapes of the critical components and then I modeled them to scale in SketchUp. We then tweaked it until we were satisfied. No decision was made without her approval :) . She also did a lot of sanding and helped apply the finish.

It cost around $500 CDN in materials (rough-cut hard maple ($300), 1/2″ ply ($40), misc hardware ($60), General Finishes Java gel stain ($30), Oil-based satin polyurethane ($70).

Sleigh Crib Completed

See below for a build-log with pictures (and videos!) I took along the way from the initial design stages to the completed crib.

If you keep watching this for a few hours, you will begin to feel like I felt while doing it. 

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In the end, I had about 6 large bags of shavings for this entire project.

3.5 hour time lapse.

I failed to take any pictures at all of the front rail construction. I suck. The one tricky thing was the latching mechanism which is spring-loaded and integrated directly into the face frame. The latches totally concealed and are retracted by pulling on specific slats.

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My dad came up with the idea of pulling on the slats to retract the latches. When he said it, it was like a lightbulb went off in both of our heads “That would be so cool!!!”. This was very early on in the build process. I thought up a simple design and then sketched it (above). It was a great thing I did sketch it, because 2 months later when I went to build it I had completely forgot how I planned on making it. The design changed a little bit in the end. The T-slot in the sketch was eliminated and the slot in the side rail was used instead. The construction of the latching mechanism was simplified as well.

Here I’m just demonstrating how the latch mechanism works by pushing it in with a stick. Pushing it in compresses the spring so it returns back to its original position.



At this point the front rail was almost complete. Just had to rabbet the sides of it so they could fit into the slots of legs, and then do a 1/2″ round-over on the top rail.

Ho lee shit! Done the woodworking portion of the build here. I was so relieved to be done.
Ho lee shit! Done the woodworking portion of the build here. I was so relieved to be done.

Let’s celebrate with another video. Here’s the latch mechanism at work.

You have to pull in both sides at the same time to release the latches. Then just lift up or down and they snap into the next available height setting. There are 4 height settings. 

Okay, back to work.

After a good thorough sanding and 2 applications of pre-stain conditioner, it was time. Time to kill that maple with darkness. It was always the plan; the crib was going to be a dark crib (light just doesn’t look right for a crib of this style). I initially planned on making it out of American Walnut, but it would have cost about $700 vs. the hard maple which was about $300. In hindsight (given how much work this was), I probably would have went with walnut. Oh well!

Here we go.

General Finishes Java gel stain. This really didn’t need to be a video… 

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