Back to the Desk

By , 1 August, 2010, 1 Comment

Now that the crib is finished, and little Titus is using it, the desk takes center stage again.  Frankly, I gave so much attention to the crib, that it took me a while to refocus and to start thinking about the desk once more as a project.

An idea rolling around in my head before I left this project was a pull-out writing shelf for each side of the desk.  This requires some rework and some structure to support the shelf, but I loved these shelves since the first one I came across as a youth.  Since this desk follows no set plan or schedule, I decided to add them.

Notch in the Apron

Notch in the Apron

In general, that meant finding a place for them that would be functional and not weaken the structure too much.  The only practical spot for the shelf is at the end of the apron, opposite of the the drawer end.  I want a nice wide shelf, that could potentially support most of a piece of paper or mouse pad or electronic item.

I ended up deciding on about 9 inches wide.  I did not have a piece of oak that wide, so I took a 5 inch wide piece and cleaned up one side for gluing.  I ended up with about a 3 foot long piece and just over 9 inches wide which will be cut to finish size when I get everything done.  I plan to build a simple wood track for both sides that the shelf can slide on.

Overlapping Fingers

Overlapping Fingers

The size became a concern when I considered that the usable length might be quite short after it cleared the overhang of the desk top.  The ruler said that 12 inches long would be half the width of the desk, and the maximum length of the shelf.  Figuring that the desktop would hang over the sides by about 2 inches, that leaves 10 inches.  Some of that length needs to remain inside the desk to keep the shelf stable.  Somewhere between 2 to 3 inches needed to remain inside the desk for strength, which would leave me with a usable 7 to 8 inches.  That is simply too short.

After a little head scratching and some drawing, I decided that what was left inside the desk needed to accomplish two things.  First, I needed enough wood to provide good strength and support for the portion extending outside the desk.  Secondly, I needed a full width shelf so that it stays in the track and does not flop or shift.  I came up with a plan for interlocking fingers that will extend the shelf length and by cutting the outside fingers in a diagonal, I could keep a full width for both pieces.

Those fingers will not show from the top side of the desk and extend the over all length enough that I should be able to gain a couple of usable inches.  Since this is a Greene and Greene style, I have the luxury of extending the shelves out beyond flush with the apron and doing some extra stuff.  But, I think I am far enough along now so that I can finally glue the entire frame together.

The Crib Belongs to Titus!

By , 19 July, 2010, 3 Comments
Titus Mark Cooper

Titus Mark Cooper (pic by Jodi)

At last we know his name.  Titus Mark Cooper made himself known on July 14th at about 2:00 in the afternoon.  Each person breathed a sigh of relief to have both mother and child in good health.

Jodi took a couple of pictures for this blog of Titus hanging out in his new crib.  He looks too small to actually use it.  Maybe Tyler and I should have made it smaller!

Titus in the Crib

Titus in the Crib (pic by Jodi)

In a year or so, we might want to make a top to keep him in.  Judy and I noticed that he seems to be extremely strong.  During naps, he stretches and contorts almost the entire time.  Apparently just yesterday, at 4 days old, he lifted his head from Jodi’s chest where he lay resting and turned his head to the other side.

Maybe we should have used a stronger wood than walnut!!

Well, it is his to do with as he pleases now (and what Mom and Dad permit), and I am so happy to have worked on it for him to use and enjoy.

What more can you ask from a project?!

Ready for Baby

By , 11 July, 2010, 3 Comments
Assembling the Ends and Sides Together

Assembling the Ends and Sides Together

Saturday, Judy and I loaded the unassembled crib into the back of the pickup in layers of blankets.  Our fear was that it might rain on Sunday, and it is pouring as I type this.  We scheduled the delivery to match Tyler’s arrival home from work so that we could assemble it right away.  About half way through the unloading, Tyler arrived and we finished moving it into baby’s room.

The assembly when pretty quickly since there are sixteen screws that hold it together, and the mattress support that lays into sockets around the bottom.  I put in half the screws while Tyler held pieces, and then he finished driving them in.

Driving Screws to Hold Frame Together

Driving Screws to Hold Frame Together

Each screw was just under 5 inches long, and I got them at Home Depot.  They had great threads and heads on them, so they worked perfectly.  The crib had been assembled during its making so all of the holes had been previously drilled and threaded.

Tyler still has on his First National Bank shirt, and his security badge.  We did not even give him time to change out into something else, so First National gets some free advertising to go along with their family oriented business.  Tyler now has about a week and a half off to get things ready and to be around for a while after the baby is home.  That motivated me to not wait until the last minute or after the baby is born.  I knew they wanted to finalized the room and they would not be able to do that until the crib sat in its spot.

The Mattress Support Frame

The Mattress Support Frame

Since the crib did not come as a kit, we figured out things as we went.  I mentioned in an earlier blog that I could not find one of the metal mattress supports that I saw in some kits anyplace where I could buy it, so I made one from Poplar wood.  There is a support around the entire bottom rail with sockets in which the lattice type extensions sit.  It is actually quite solid feeling, and will allow the bottom to breath if the mattress gets damp.  I did supply a piece of quarter inch thick shower board to lay on top to protect the wood and mattress bottom for now.  Jodi and Tyler have cats that may get inquisitive, and this will shield them from the mattress for a while until they all get used to things.

Making the Bed

Making the Bed

We decided to go ahead and make the bed before we placed the mattress into the crib.  So, the men put on the mattress pad and the sheet while the women took pictures and laughed.  Its obvious though, that both of us are experienced and secure in our manhood!

This mattress was our shower gift, and is designed with two sides.  One side is better suited for infant, and the other for toddlers.  And it is very heavy for such a little thing.

Screw Hole Plugs

Screw Hole Plugs

There are sixteen large screws holding the crib together, which means sixteen large holes needed to be filled.  I found some nice half inch round walnut plugs at the Woodsmith store in Des Moines.  Each plug got stain and finish to match the crib.  Each plug also had a small rare earth magnet epoxied to the bottom to help insure the plugs stay put.  Here I am handing off the plugs to Tyler to install.

Finished Posts With Plugs

Finished Posts With Plugs

Since the plugs were getting set for the first time, my anxiety level was a bit high, but they fit very nicely, and quite snug.  Once together, everything looked great!  We decided to add another shower gift which was the mobile.  The mobile made it feel like someone might actually use it.  Funny that you can talk about something so much, but until the little guy gets here, we only talk about a person that is ‘unknown’.  He won’t care that Dad and Grandpa made this crib for another 12-20 years.  So, that leaves us grownups to enjoy the beauty of the wood, and the work that went into making it.

Celebrating Our Work

Celebrating Our Work

That said, Tyler and I took a little time to congratulate ourselves.  I looked back to see just how long this project took, and dug out the receipts for the wood.  We went to Iowa on February the 6th to buy the wood.  So the entire project from start to delivery took just over 5 months, and barely under the wire.  The little guy is supposed to be born on Thursday with a little help from the doctor.  That day is also my birthday.  What a great present it will be for me too!

Jodi With Crib

Jodi With Crib

So, here is a picture of Mom with child.  I know that she got nervous about whether Tyler and I would get it done in time, but it’s ready and she can now finish the nest.

The Crib Is Done

By , 10 July, 2010, No Comment

But not delivered.

The work is done.  The finish is on everything, it just needs to be delivered and setup.  All of the pieces look great by themselves, so I am eager to see them back together, and in its home.

It will be even more fun to see baby lying in the middle.  I suspect it will appear gigantic since he is expected to be under 6 lbs.

Final Glue Up for the Crib

By , 5 July, 2010, 1 Comment
Handing Off Glued Slat

Handing Off Glued Slat

Knowing that Tyler would be around on July 4th, we planned to glue up both sides during the day.  However, their neighbor decided to get crazy Friday night with the fireworks and Jodi and Tyler came over early.  They basically stayed the nights during the weekend.  So, we got one side glued up Saturday evening, and the other was glued up Sunday afternoon.

Applying Glue to Top of Slats

Applying Glue to Top of Slats

Using a Titebond III glue with a 10 minute open window, we quickly got into a rhythm.   I glued the end of each slat and handed it to Tyler who forced it into the bottom rail.   Next, I went back and put glue on the top end of each slat, getting the tennons covered with enough glue that it would stick well when shoved into the mortise on the top rail.  That actually was by far the trick part of the process.

Inspection By the Mom

Inspection By the Mom

The real person we need to please is the mom who is by now only about a week and a half off from delivery.  So, baby and mom are lingering in the eager support phase as dad and gramps get it stuck together.

I’m still not certain that it will be done on the day of the delivery, but we will be close.  There are more things to do in a day than I seem to have time to accomplish, so it is slow going.

Getting All the Parts to Come Together

Getting All the Parts to Come Together

As I mentioned, trying to the top pieces inserted into the mortises in the top rail while keeping everything together is the tricky part.  I kind of think that if I had 30 year-old eyes like Tyler the process would have been a lot quicker and less stressful.  I finally gave up and asked Tyler to get those tennons into the pockets while I held the top together.  Once all of the slats were in place, we then concentrated on getting the rails into the pockets of the legs.

Gluing On the Legs

Gluing On the Legs

Each leg has a pocket for the top and the bottom rail to fit into.  I found during the dry fit that my rails were not perfect fits, so minor adjustments had to be made.  A couple of the rails were also a bit thin after the blems were removed from them during planing and sanding.  That left a couple of the pockets just a shade big, so we glued in some walnut shims that became invisible once trimmed even with the leg and stained.

Clamping the Sides Together

Clamping the Sides Together

Finally we added some clamps and let it dry overnight.  You may have noticed that we chose to stain and put finish on before gluing.

I recommend that because we got some glue squeeze out during the assembly and clamping.  With everything already finished, we simply used some damp paper towels and cleaned up all the squeezed out glue.  The only drawback is that you get some marks in the finish that you might work out if the wood was still unfinished.  However, I plan to apply several coats of finish yet, so I hope most of it will look just the way we wanted it to look.

Kudos to Judy for taking the pictures.