Now that the Chloe's baby shower has been successfully completed I can get on with the business of building the crib. One of the most important questions that I had to answer was, what kind of wood do I use to build the crib. That is the most fundamental question because everything else follows from that, design, dimensions, size, weight and ultimately safety. Pine is an easy and inexpensive material to work with. that's why most construction framing is made out of pine or spruce. However, Pine does not have a lot of strength per square foot and it has a tendency to split and splinter even after it has been finished. I did not want to make a bulky crib and I certainly do not want to risk my granddaughter being injured by splinters from the wood rails.
The only real choice is hardwood. Based on what I know of hardwoods i felt that the best wood to construct a baby crib was maple. maple is hard, strong and works well with power tools; planer, table saw, and router. My initial thought was to go to Home Depot or Rona and buy finished pieces of maple to use in making the baby crib. I was disappointed on both counts. Both Home Depot and Rona had pieces of maple but everything I looked was unsuitable. All the wood that I looked at was warped to some degree, some severely. I was not going to try and make a baby crib out of warped wood it would never stand up.
There was no choice, I had to buy rough cut wood and plane it myself. There were two problems. I did not have a planer and I did not know where there was a local supply of rough cut wood. Well that is not entirely true. Exotic Woods has rough cut wood. That is where I go to buy wood for carving when I am not using reclaimed wood. There is a big difference between buying a block of Basswood for $20 for carving and buying 60 board feet of maple for a baby's crib. When I priced out rough cut maple at Exotic Woods it would have cost over $300! As much as I love my granddaughter that seemed a little pricey, so I shopped around.
There are a few mills in Cambridge, and Smith Falls and other places that are at least an hour away. I wanted someplace a little closer. Then I remembered the seminar that I attended at the Hamilton Woodworking Show in the spring( see my post on the Hamilton Woodworking Show). I attended a seminar from the owner of Shaker Roads. I had really like it. He spoke about how to dry wood so that it doesn't warp and how to select wood that has been properly dried. I thought that it would be a good place to start.
I called Shaker Roads, Maurice Desnoyer and Janice Currie. After a short conversation I realized that I had found my source. Shaker roads specializes in cherry wood but Maurice also has an ample supple of maple that has been air drying for at least a year. I made an appointment to go and see Maurice the following week.
There still remained the second problem, how to plane the rough sawn wood. In my next post I will explain how I addressed the second problem.