Thursday, April 28, 2011

Baby Cradle Update #5

It is a great feeling to be very close to the end of project that took much longer than you had originally thought it would take. I have finished all the parts of the cradle and put it together. It is interesting to note that the manufacture of the two simple wooden washers took almost as much time as some of the other aspects of the project.

 I decided to manufacture the washers out of a left over piece of ash that I had used to make a small table several years ago that now sits in my office. It is extremely hard wood and will stand up for many decades without any wear. I cut the wood to size then carved each piece into a rough circle. It did not matter that they were perfectly round because no one is ever going to see them once they are in place. I sanded the washers as smooth as possible then applied cabinet makers wax to reduce any friction that there might be on the surface. In the picture above you can see that the washers fit nicely on the doweling that I used to tie the cradle to the frame. The washers will sit on the dowel between the cradle and the frame. The idea is to make sure that the cradle never comes in contact with the frame.

Everything is nicely sanded. The next step was to drill the holes on each end through the frame and the cradle then attach the dowel, the washer and the cradle to the frame. It sounded easy but it was tricky holding all the pieces together while I lined up the dowel with the cradle, the washer and the frame. But I finally figures it out and got everything together in the right order. Here is what it looks like.

The cradle swings nicely in the frame. It was a good idea that I waxed the dowel and the washer. The cradle seems to swing back and forth without any resistance at all. To make sure the dowel did not move I drilled a hole through the frame and through the middle of the dowel to hold it in place. Afterwords, I covered up the hole with wood filler.

All that remains now is to paint the cradle and frame. That part of the project I am giving over to my wife who does a much better job of painting than I do. So, the next post that you will see on the baby cradle will be the last one showing the freshly painted and complete cradle. I have to say that I am happy with the end result. It has turned out better than I thought it would.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baby Cradle : Update #4

The cradle is complete, at least the construction of the cradle is complete. It took a bit of thinking and a bit of trial and error to get the correct angle for the support of the bottom of the cradle. In the end, I used a protractor to measure the angle of the side of the cradle then I adjusted my table saw to that angle. I tried a few test cuts on some scrap wood and fine tuned the angle.

Once I got the angle right it was just a matter of cutting the supports to length and gluing them into place. I had to do it in two stages because I do not have enough clamps to glue all four sides at one time. So I glued the ends on Saturday morning then glued the sides on Saturday night after the glue on the ends had cured during the day.

Once the supports were fully cured I put two wood screws in each end and three wood screws along each side. The glue alone should be enough to hold the supports in place but I always feel better if there is mechanical attachment as well. All that remained was to cut the bottom of the cradle to size, glue in place then hold everything together with half inch finishing nails; to hold everything together until the glue dried and cured and to add a bit of mechanical attachment as well.

I thought it would be a good idea to see how the cradle looks in the actual nursery where it will be located so I took it to my daughter's house tonight and took these pictures in situ.I think it look pretty good. It will look even better when it is assembled to the stand and painted.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Impressions of Nanning, Guangxi, China

Nanning is a city located in Guangxi China. Nanning. I refer to it as the wild west of China. It is about as far west and as far south as you can go and still be in China. I have been told that it you get on a bus in Nanning you could be in Saigon, Vietnam inside of forty five minutes. This gives you an approximate idea of where Nanning is located.

I go to Nanning (via Hong Kong) at least once a year, sometimes more. There is a company in Nanning with which I have business ties. I am obliged to visit and meet with them periodically. some people might see this as a hardship, others might see it as a fascinating adventure.

During my recent trip to Nanning in March I was invited to dinner at the Gui Jing hotel which was not far from where I was staying. In fact, I have stayed at the Gui Jing hotel, Guijing hotel, during past trips to Nanning. During  the meal i could not help admiring the painting on the wall of the private room where we were eating. I was a picture portraying an entourage on horse back. I love horses and any art portraying horses draws my attention. at the end of the meal I went to study the painting more closely. On closer inspection I realized that it was actually composed of several wooden panels. the figures were carved in relief and then painted. It is one of the finest carved panels that I have ever seen.

Baby Cradle : Update #3

It is a great feeling when you get to a major milestone in a project. this afternoon I assembled the frame of the baby cradle. It was a momentous step for me. I have struggled with this project and getting the frame together was a major milestone.

I thought that it was trial to make sure that the stiles were straight and snug and they were. The biggest test was figuring out how I was going to drill the holes in the side of the ends of the cradle that were cut at 30 degrees. I could not use my drill press unless I made a jig to hold the ends at 90 degrees to the drill. I ruled that out because it would take longer to make the joi than it would to figure out another solution. In the end I used the holes that I drilled in the sides as pilot holes to drill the holes in the ends. It was tricky and difficult but I got everything drilled, glued and attached with wooden dowels. I clamped everything together even though I probably didn't need to. I just wanted all the joints to be as tight as possible.

The rest of the project will be relatively easy. I need to attach the bottom of the cradle then attach the cradle to the frame. There is still some final shaping and sanding of the sides and ends to make sure that there are no sharp edges anywhere but that is minor compared to the rest of the project. Oh, and I need to create a key to so that the cradle can be made stationary.

The end is near!