Drew’s Sleigh Crib

Viewer Project - By Drew Short from Moore, OK
Added on April 4, 2013

This is a build I did for my wife’s friend who was having twins. She had asked me to build a changing table on commission, but after many years of attempting to have a baby with IVF medical help, I told her that if she got pregnant, my wife and I would GIVE her a crib as a present. So that is what I did. On the last two months of the pregnancy, when I knew for sure that she would have her long awaited newborns, I completed her crib. The changing table commission paid for the build, which I finished a month before hand.

I didn’t have anything to really go off of except for mental images of cribs I have seen on Lumberjocks.com. I found regulations for crib slat spacing and made sure that I was well under that regulation. I used my daughter, who is now 2 but 1 at the time, as a guide for the mattress height when fully dropped to the bottom. In order to avoid making so many slats, like my very first crib, I increased the width of the main slats and added a decorative center slat that is a raised panel. This also made the slats way stronger than I had hoped. I’ve included a photo of the first crib (my daughters) that I built.

The crib is a sleigh style, my first one, that is of my own look and design. I wanted the crib to break down for easy moving and storage, and convert to a full size bed when the time comes, so I used threaded inserts with hex head bolts to hold it all together. There are four bolts per side and when the time comes for the bed to convert, they will easily remove so the footboard will extend out for a mattress.

The slats are inset in the rails, not with mortises, but with a long dado. This made construction easier and insured proper spacing with my filling pieces for the dado. It also prevented me from having to put a tongue on all the slats. It works like a charm and is a great time saver. Scrapes nice and flush with a card scraper.

I did have a slight challenge in the raising and lowering of the mattress and instead of spending a good deal of money on the metal gadget sold on the internet that has many different settings, I opted to make my own platform which has two settings. One for when they are little and down all the way for when they start standing. Simple and easy! It sits on two cleats that are attached to the side rails and the riser on the platform remove for the lowering of the mattress.

Another challenge was the sleigh style beveled tops. I had no idea how I was going to make the curve. After deciding to bevel one board at 20 degrees, it left a lot of sanding to fine tune the curve since I had increased the mating surface of the beveled board. What I should have done was bevel both boards 10 degrees (20 degrees total) which would have made the mating surfaces equal. (Learned that from TWW’s Headboard Video)

All in all, I am very happy the way this crib turned out and the red oak looks great with it’s natural hand-rubbed poly finish. Our friend wants a second crib so when the twins start to move around more they won’t wake one another. That is my spring project since it must be done by July.

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