Saturday, May 26, 2012

Long overdue Cradle update

Work has been progressing slowly and steadily for the last couple of weeks.  I've been working on putting a garden in and have been getting some overtime at work so my time has been spread a little thin lately.  Its crazy how busy a person can get with all things yard work when these long, warm spring days show up.  

There's been plenty of sanding going on and some glue-ups.  The end panels are done, with the center panel prefinished.  I just think its easier and you get better results finishing frame and panels this way.  The panel was just a little undersized so I used a simple trick to get it to fit tight.  You just lay out a bead of silicone caulk on some wax paper, and when it dries cut it into small pieces and put them in the grove.  Depending on the fit of the panel you can make the bead of caulk thick or thin.  Another nice thing about this fix is that it keeps the panel from rattling in the frame.  With the ends all glued up it was time to assemble the basket.  Since the whole thing is meant to break-down, the basket is screwed together and the screw holes concealed with plugs.  I'll spare you the details of laying out the holes and getting the sides attached, needless to say it was meticulous and took longer that it probably should have.  

I guess I should probably back up a bit.  Before the basket went together some holes needed to be drilled in the ends for the dowels it will rock on.  I was very nervous about this step.  I was worried these measurements wouldn't be the same and the holes wouldn't line up but I was VERY relieved to find out everything measured perfectly down to the mm.  Alright, now that the basket is assembled, with holes, It was time to get the legs and stretcher assembly finished off.  As it was, the cradle fit between the uprights with about 3/4 inch to spare.  I found some scraps that were 3/8 inch and make the spacers that fit between the upright and the basket.  

Now that it was determined that the stretcher and uprights were all at their final size it was time to make the wedges for the ends of the stretcher.   It was pretty simple. The one tip I'd offer here is to drill the hole for the finger catch before you cut out the wedge on the band saw. 

Another anxious moment was getting the holes drilled into the tops of the uprights for the swinging dowel.  Again I was worried about measurements not matching up but again I was VERY relieved that they both measured identically.  So with the holes all drilled and sanded smooth and a dowel also sanded nice and smooth I faced the moment of truth:  will it rock smoothly?!?!  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Once it was all together it worked perfectly!!!!!!!!!  A common adage in woodworking is that as you reach final assembly of a piece your dealing with the accumulation of errors that occurred along the way.  This is the idea that a handful of small mistakes can add up and lead to a one big headache.  With this project having many new concepts to me and having two separate assemblies I was very concerned about things not working out.  This is especially poignant with the pivot point for the rocking to work in this case.  When everything worked as it should it was a huge relief for me and a very satisfying feeling as well.  

We're really down to the home stretch now.  Just a few more small construction details and the finishing.  

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