Red Oak Rocking Cradle

Red Oak Rocking Cradle

One of the things I wanted to build for my children was a cradle. They’re essential, can be fairly simple, and make nice heirlooms that can be passed through generations. It seemed to be a good project to use to introduce myself to fine woodworking techniques.

I wanted a rocking cradle with a collapsible stand (for storage) that would rock on the floor or in the stand, and have some type of locking mechanism. After perusing many images on Google and Pinterest for style ideas, I was able to build a model in SketchUp.  With plans drawn I calculated my board feet and set off to my sawyer in Warsaw, MO to pick up some red oak.

Let me interject here that if you enjoy hitting up a hobby shop or big box store for some craft supplies for a project, then you should find an excuse to visit a sawmill for some rough lumber. It’s an entirely different experience.

With everything needed at hand, I laid out the lumber and set to work. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the whole process. But here is what I started with.

And the first dovetails I ever chopped.

The headboard and footboard taking shape.

Test fitting the dovetails.

Sanding out the fair curves on the sideboards.

All the pieces and joinery were roughed out. Work stopped when that relationship ended though. She wanted the parts and I hoped being amicable would help make things easier (it didn’t), so I handed them over.

About two years later, Callee and I were expecting Wayne and I got it in my head it would be nice to have it for Wayne. Eventually I was able to ascertain that it did indeed still exist and was able to buy back half of it.

Fortunately, several vinegar baths and a lot of scraping and sanding was able to remove all of the excess glue, mold and water damage from being stored in a horse trailer. Re-milling all of the stand pieces was the next task. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough Missouri felled red oak from my sawyer and had to settle with some big box stuff.

But with time and some help from Bruce, we were able to pull it together for Wayne. We sanded it.

Rebuilt the stand.

And eventually gave it a good rubbing with several coats of Danish oil after all was said and done.

Here’s the rocking “lock.”

The double through mortise and tenon joint that lets the stand get “knocked down” for storage.

There’s just something about the tone of oil rubbed red oak and hand cut dovetails.

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