I designed and built this baby bed for our first son, Hank. My wife and I didn’t see anything we liked at the big box stores, and a friend of mine had made his daughter’s bed, so we decided to give it a shot. Given the fact that I’ve never built any furniture, this took a lot of planning, some rough 50 year old lumber from craigslist, and some tooling up.
I’ve held John Browning’s mechanical genius in high regard for most of my adult life. So for the design, I thought it would be great to implement components of some of my favorite John Browning designed firearms. They all didn’t carry his name in production, but each of them came from his hands.
The front rail was built with the Winchester lever action in mind. Two stocks that meet in the middle. Each one is hand checkered at the forearm. I chose the best board of walnut I had for this piece. It had a completely different figure and grain pattern that really stood out.
On the back of the bed under the buckmark logo are cutouts in the shape of the Browning Auto 5. The famous hump back Auto 5 is one of the most recognizable shotguns in history. My grandpa loved his 20 ga Auto 5. While I don’t have grandpa’s, I look forward to passing mine on to Hank.
The top cap on the two front legs have grooves cut in them like the slide on a 1911 .45. Not only did Mr. Browning invent the Colt 1911, he created the 45 ACP cartridge. The connection with the famous .45 ACP goes a little further, as each hole that contains a connecting bolt is capped with a .45 shell casing.
We didn’t want the bed to scream “Hey look, I’m a gun!”, but we still wanted the theme to come across. We chose walnut for the wood, and the railing was made of steel. Before installation, the railing was sent to a local gunsmith for a hot blueing. I used both mortise and tenon joinery and pocket screws. This project also brought about my first experience with bent lamination. Wish I could do that one over again.
To top off the whole thing, I hand carved the Browning buckmark logo into the back of the bed.
It took a year to design, learn, build, and finish this bed. In no way is it perfect. There are mistakes from one side of it to the other. But, I enjoyed every bit of it, and we hope to see Hank’s son sleeping in it many years from now!
Finish Used: Danish Oil, Satin Poly, Paste Wax