I know that I only have boys in the family. I wanted to make some different things than trucks and construction equipment. This year I am challenging myself to do other things. The first is the cradles. I made four of them because I could. Each of them was different for different looks. I would say that I like them all but I do have my favorite. So in order from my least favorite to my favorite.
The Butterfly Sides
The image came from the web and I thought it would look better than the cutouts on the other design. The butterflies were just too small. I like the detail it adds but it does not create enough negative space to make it look good.
The Girl and Boy Fairy
This is only ahead of the butterflies because of the design. I like the curve on the side over the straight sides. The cutout does not add to the design. It looks plain, more like a decal. It looked good when it was printed out but it did not translate well on wood. I think I envisioned something not like a silhouette. This is the first attempt at adding color to some of my projects.
The Slots and the Rose
I liked the negative space the slots added and the rose just adds to the back of the cradle. It was how I thought the cradle would turn out. I did make an adjustment to the side panels of this cradle. I grooved them and attached them to the edges of the ends. This is a stronger joint and I think it looks a little cleaner.
The Hibiscus Flower
Hands down, this is my favorite. The flower is large and adds to the cradle. The painting behind it is not great but not bad for my first time blending colors. Over all it is clean and looks good. The next time I build it I will use the joinery of the slotted cradle.
This was one of the challenges that I wanted this year. I wanted to add a little of clean color to my projects. This is probably the easiest but it is a step. The hibiscus flower got a lot of attention at my scrollsaw meeting the other day. The glue line is not very visible and the detail was too fine for a router. I had to explain a couple of times how I did it. The sides are one complete board. I resaw it in half and plane out the marks. This is why the sides are only ½” thick. I do make sure I have identified the top edge and front and back of the board. When it is glued up again the glue line blends in with the grain. I take the front half and cut out the shape, in this case is was the hibiscus flower. On the other half I paint the color(s) that I want in the background. I made sure to be careful not to paint where the edge was. The paint will show thru the glue line. Then glue the two pieces together. Make sure to line up the tops and insides. I used a make shift press to make sure I had even pressure.
A little note about gluing these pieces. I wanted to make sure the pieces of the cut out did not break off. So I put a little bit of glue on parts keeping away from the edges to avoid squeeze out. It still happened and it was a pain to clean up. I figured out later that should have used wood glue with a long open time on the large sections and used super glue on the smaller more delicate sections. The super glue can be more precisely put on and has less squeeze out. I also highly recommend the gel formula of super glue.
The project itself is made out of beech wood. It tore up by scroll saw blades but it cut well. The bottom panel is solid wood. I would usually use ply but I don’t that beech ply. When I started the project, I thought this was going to be an easy design. I forgot some important factors. The first was end grain is not a good bonding surface. So I changed the side panel to the one with the slots. It was too late for the others to change. Then the rockers to end panels have the same problem. I doweled them, but if I rotated the end panels 90 degrees I would not have to add the dowels. The paint was the one thing that I was dreading and kept putting off. In the end, I was worrying about nothing, I just needed to start.
The slotted cradle is going to be donated to charity. The reason is because it is the design that I am submitting to instructables.com. I donate one of everything I design to a local toy drive over Christmas. The plans are free on instructables.com. I have added it to a contest on instructables so please vote for me. The remaining cradles are for sale. These are prototype cradles so I am selling these for $100 apiece plus shipping. It is a first come first serve. If you want me to make another one you have the option of choosing the style and the cutout image (providing it can be done). They will be sold for $175 shipping included. If you are interested please email me. Please allow a couple of months to make. I make to order.