Midnight Woodworking


Maple & Purpleheart crib – day 3

I have had a few hours over the last two evenings to get started on the sides of the crib. I haven’t had much time to put a lot of effort into the plans. Here is a copy of what I am using: SIDE2.PDF Hopefully, I will have time to clean them up after this project is done.


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I am starting with the frame of the sides. What makes the sides a bit more difficult than the front, is the fact that the top rail will be at an 8 degree angle. The majority of this post will be trying to figure out how to deal with that angle.

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I started with the top and bottom frame pieces. I cut and planed them down, then stopped to think of the best way to route the 1/2″ deep slots, on the top frame piece, at that 8 degree angle. Doing my drawings on the computer makes it easy to figure out angles. I need to create a triangle, at an 8 degree angle, with the bottom, the same length as the bottom frame piece. Basically, I need a right triangle that is 27-3/8″ long x 4″ tall. Next problem, how do I safely cut that angle?

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I have a simple board, with a stop at the end, that I use for a planing sled. I laid my 27-3/8″ long x 4″ tall rectangle against the stop, and rotated it till the opposite corner was even with the edge of the board. Then I screwed on a couple of stops to prevent the board from moving. Since I don’t have any surface-mounted clamps, I just used double-sided tape to hold the board in place.

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I set the fence, on my table saw to place the sled right up against the blade. This allowed me to cut only the piece of maple, right where I wanted. This wedge will be important for starting the slots, on my angled pieces.

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To cut the angle on my frame tops, I set my miter saw to 8 degrees. To verify that my angle is correct, I simply laid the board onto my new triangle and set a square up against the side. I tweaked the miter saw until the angle was perfect.

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To cut the second frame top, I started by tracing the first one that I had already cut, then I just decided to stack them up and cut them exactly the same.

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I laid out the angled slots a bit differently from the front section. I am not able to use my router to cut the slots at an angle, because it is designed specifically for 90 degrees. But I realized that I could drill the angled ends of the slots on my drill press, then come back and route out the middle of the slots. On my drawing, I dimensioned the slots from end to end, like the last plans, but I also added the center point locations for the radius at the ends of the slots. I used my combination square to trace a center line down each of the two boards, then used the calipers to mark out each center point.

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I used my awl to create a pilot hole for locating the drill bit.

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I placed the frame board on my 8 degree triangle and that gave me a stable base, at the perfect angle. Most drill bits will flex and wander if you drill at an angle so I decided to use a forstner bit. They are a lot stiffer, so they will work very well in this application. I lined each hole up carefully and set my depth stop to create a 1/2″ deep hole, then I drilled each end of every slot.

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It was easy enough to line up my jig at that point, and route the rest of the slots.

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It may be hard to see, in the picture, but there is a slight angle to one side of the slot. This will allow the slats to be inserted tightly without hardly any slop.

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When those two were done, I laid out the bottom frame pieces that same way I did the front ones, then cut them out as well.

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Onto the next challenge, the vertical sides for the frames. These are 1″x1″, so by waiting till I cut out the top and bottom, I was able to pull all my stock from the off-cut pile. I cut and planed down enough scrap to create the four vertical posts.

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To make my corner joints as strong as possible, I decided on 3″ long x 1″ wide mortise and tenon joints. This will, of course, be a pain in the butt! I went through several test pieces to determine the best way for my to cut these. I wound up setting my fence so I could run the boards through vertically and cut right up against the 3/8″ tenon in the center of each, then flip them around and repeat. Not a terribly safe approach to do freehand, so I clamped all four pieces together to create a larger base to hold flat to the table. I also made the 3″ deep cut in three passes, raising the blade 1″ each time.

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To cut the rest away, I taped a strip to my fence that stopped before the blade, to prevent binding and kickback, when I used the miter gauge (set at 8 degrees for the angled side).

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This was fairly successful and all of my fingers are still intact. All I needed was to clean up the shoulder a tiny bit with a chisel.

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Cutting the mortise, on the ends of the top and bottom, was a bit easier. The slot was only 1″ deep, and in the center. I just kept making passes, flipping the board back and forth, slowly moving the fence in, until I had the width of the slot just right.

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They fit together surprisingly well, with just a little tweaking with a chisel or sander.

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The next step will be to create the rails and slats. They should be a lot less challenging, but it is almost midnight, so that is enough for today.

2 comments on “Maple & Purpleheart crib – day 3

  1. Patrick
    March 18, 2016

    Sounds like a PITA!

  2. Lwroten
    March 18, 2016

    Yes, but I am a bit of a masochist. The project needs to be a challenge for it to be any fun…

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