The Mad Dash – Baby Cradle Refinish

Let me set the scene for you, it was 4th of July 2013, I am having a 4th of July get together and my friends Doug and Lacey are pregnant with their first child.  Over the course of the night we drank (Doug and I) and enjoyed the fireworks, BBQ and good conversation.  At some point in the evening the conversation turned to the refinishing Lacey’s childhood cradle, it had been in storage at her parents house since she was a baby.  Obviously I said yes, however, each drink after saying yes must have slowly erased it from my mind, amazing how beer can do that sometimes.

Fast forward a few months to late September, Lacey is just shy of a month away from having their baby, Doug comes to my desk.

“Bill, did you say you would refinish the cradle for Lacey?”  I just gave him a blank stare.

“Uhhhh I don’t recall, when did we discuss this?”

“4th of July”

At this point I remember the amount of beer we went through and answered him with the honest answer, “I don’t remember, crap bring it in”

So around around the first week of October the cradle was delivered to me.  It had over 30 spindles, missing parts and was not very sturdy.  I began the disassembly process immediately.  Luckily the spindles were not glued in very well and I was able to wiggle each and every one out.  I then began the laborious task of sanding down each and every piece.

During this process family events got in the way and my 89 year old grandmother had a stroke and never recovered.  Several trips from Omaha, NE to Columbia, MO to assist my Mother and Grandfather as well as say my goodbyes to my grandmother has now put this project way behind.  She Passed away October 25.  I now had less than two weeks to get the cradle done and about 40 hours of work to finish it.  By this time the weather had started to turn cold and my garage shop was averaging 45° F.  Every night I spent from 6pm to 10 pm working on this cradle, the mad dash to finish this project before the baby is born was on….

I started staining the larger pieces leaving the spindles for last, because if push came to shove I could have purchased new spindles instead of using the originals.

As you can see from the pictures the stain looks nice…NOT this was supposed to be a Dark Espresso and I obviously didn’t stir the stain well enough to get the correct pigment.  Luckily a light sanding was all I needed to correct this issue, after I vigorously stirred the Stain.

Now you can really see the difference between the colors.  Crisis adverted…now onto those pesky spindles.  Luckily I was able to chuck them up in my lathe which made the sanding time much faster.

Spindles were all sanded and I was now able to start the assembly of the cradle for staining.  I now only had a few days to get this done and everyday I came into work I had to make sure Doug was sitting at his desk.

I was now in the final stretch of this project and the baby had not come yet.  It was November 4th and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  One final coat to finish this cradle and 24 hours to dry and harden.  I delivered the Cradle on November 5th a mere day before they welcome Hannah into this world.  She slept in this cradle for 6 weeks before they upgraded her to her Crib.  I wish I had an action shot!  I learned a lot of lessons from this project, i used Minwax Polyshades Espresso.  This was my first endeavor using a stain that has to be brushed on.  Overall I was quite happy with the results and so were Doug and Lacey.  Thanks for taking the time to view this blog and I hope you had some good laughs.  On to the next project.

 

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