A friend asked me to build a cradle for his son living in Alaska who was expecting his first child in about 6 months. After reviewing numerous commercial and hand crafted designs in Fine Woodworking, I suggested building a cradle using cedar strip canoe construction techniques. Four internal forms and the 2 veneered plywood end faces define the shape of the twenty strips of 5/16 inch thick cedar in each side. Each strip is attached to the front and back faces with screws and bent and clamped to glue successive strips into a canoe like shape. A bead and cove was milled on each strip to provide a stable and strong glue joint. Typically two strips were attached each day. Unlike a canoe, the sides were flared outward to provide easy access to the child resting in the cradle. The top edge is a maple gunwhale in which 2 maple yokes were installed to provide carry handles. The bottom is solid ash covered by a removable plywood insert. Veneer edge banding is employed on both end faces. The nominal length is 37 inches and maximum height of the sides is 15 inches. As constructed the cradle has both fixed feet and a stand to provide 12, 6 and zero degrees of swinging capability. The 35 inch high alder stand employs sturdy mortise and tenon joints to connect the legs to the stretcher and also provide for easy disassembly when disired.
Six coats of satin gel varnish were applied over a shellac sealer.
Front view of cradle and stand
Side view of cradle and stand
Cradle resting on fixed feet