At the close of the last post, I'd gotten most of the way done. Just a few more steps and Gretchin's Cradle was ready for finish. The first step at this point was to finish up the trestle ends. After figuring out where the top of the trestle ends stopped, I took them to the Woodrat to plow a dado to house the caps. I rounded the tops with a cabinet maker's rasp and finished the shaping on my oscillating spindle sander.
Now came some more fitting to make the caps/locking mechanisms fit perfectly. I drilled the holes for the peg hinges and made my pegs, also on the Woodrat, out of some Canoe Birch I have.
After conferring with the great and wonderfully talented Village Carpenter, Kari Hultman, I decided to leave the pegs proud, somewhat echoing the box joints of the cradle. In the following photos, you see the pegs in one and the stretcher for the trestle. I cut in a very slight curve to keep the weight of the trestle light. It is also a through tenon and chamfered with a similar reveal as the box joints on the cradle.After the initial dry fit, I cut the wedged tenons of the cradle to a respectable length and then glued everything up. The cradle itself was a bugger. I will do a more thorough run through of the glue up on future projects. It was extremely nerve racking. Although, I'd made 3 degree cauls and adhered cork to them and then double stick taped them to my parallel jaw clamps, not all went well. The bottom portion of the cradle was fine, but I found I had little for opposing force at the top of the cradle. I used Tite Bond III and luckily the open time was just enough for me to figure out a quick solution.
The bottom panel of the cradle is only glued in the center for about 3 inches and has a total of approximately 3/8" to room to move side to side.
All glued up and ready for finish.
The finish I used for Gretchin's Cradle was Sutherland Wells Polymerized Tung Oil. It was suggested to me by Nabil Abdo and I must say, it's a dream to work with. I simply flooded the surface with the first coat and fully wiped off all excess oil. My second coat was a little less liberal and the third and final coats were applied more like you would apply wax. It was sanded between coats with 320 grit sand paper to knock any dust nibs down.
Detail of the exposed tenon. As you can see it is slightly more proud of the surface than the box joints of the cradle. I would've made them the same exposure, but found I like this reveal more for the trestle.
I'm still debating whether I like or dislike the layout line left from the box joint set up. My favorite aspect of the piece is the cap/locking mechanism.
Here you can not only see how that works, but also that the decision to keep the hinge pins proud was a good one. (Thank you, Kari!) I do wish I'd not gone to the full depth with the forstner bit and used chisels to get the final depth. I'm very unhappy with the machine marks still in place. Oh well, live and learn, right?
The final product. It seems it is also already time to invest in some good photography equipment. A nicer backdrop is definitely in order.I am very pleased with how well the crotch figure popped with the tung oil and it was well worth the sacrifice of all the board feet for this particular placement.
One more view and then....
young Zander in his new digs. In this photo, taken by Gretchin, Zander is only two month old and already fills 2/3rd's of the cradle.Thank you for following this build. After tackling this as my first, I'm really looking forward to the next. But, that will have to wait just a bit, as I have a few finishing touches to make on the shop and Sylvia has decided the installation of a shower stall in the master bath is going to be a major remodel. What the heck, it'll give me something to do.
Again, I would like to express my gratitude to all the great friends I've made in the woodworking community for the encouragement and help in building my knowledge and skill base. Without you I would never have tackled this as my first project. And a extra shout out to my buddy, Marc Spagnuolo for creating the community where or through I've met the majority of those friends.
As always, please let me know what you think of this post. Ask questions, give critique, be involved. I appreciate it.