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December 19, 2006

For Sale: One Sweet, Sweet Dad-Made Heirloom Crib


Hmm. Seems like everyone but me has managed to finish his kid's bed. Wisconsin furnituremaker Jason Holtz emailed with an offer too sweet not to post: a beautiful, award-winning hardwood crib--solid cherry and maple, with curly cherry end panels--he originally made for his daughter, only they got hooked on the whole co-sleeping, Attachment Parenting thing and well, the crib's never been used.

As Jason tells it, "this is an heirloom-quality crib, and it should be used for generations, not sitting empty in the corner of my bedroom!" Judging by the picture and his story, I tend to agree. Are you in the market? [Or maybe you're thinking of crafting your own crib, even?]

Jason writes:

I did my apprenticeship with a furniture maker in Chicago named Jeff Miller. While I was there, he was writing a book for The Taunton Press on children’s furniture. We built many pieces for this book, but my favorite by far was the crib.

The design is somewhat traditional, clean and elegant. It also has a very simple drop gate, which works flawlessly without a bunch of clunky looking plastic hardware.


A couple years later, my wife and I were expecting our first child. At the same time, my shop mate was also in the expecting boat. We decided to both build this crib design for our daughters. About the same time, I undertook the huge task of finishing the basement of our Chicago bungalow, to make more room for the growing family.

As a result, the crib sort of moved to the back burner while the office became a bedroom and the basement became an office, family room, bedroom and another bathroom. Needless to say, Magdalena was born and the crib was not finished yet (nor the basement!) That was no big deal because we had the family cradle, which had been used for twenty babes and counting.

In the meantime, we came to realize that all three of us got the most sleep in the bed together. We could not imagine having to get out of bed to get Magdalena so she could nurse, and then get out of bed again when she was finished, several times a night. It just makes sense to be together.

After research on Attachment Parenting, we became more comfortable and confident in our decision to continue the family bed. So that is how I came to have this beautiful crib that has never been slept in.

The crib is made of solid cherry and maple, with incredible curly cherry panels. Maple slats support the mattress. It has been designed and built to all safety standards pertaining to children’s furniture. This includes the spacing of spindles, the lack of any protruding posts, which could catch on clothing, height of the side rails, etc.

The finish is hand rubbed shellac, oil, and wax-all of which are child safe when cured. The front of the crib drops easily (but not from the inside) for a shorter reach in and out. This “mechanism” is comprised simply of brass pins and a groove in each leg.

I finally finished the piece when Magdalena was about 18 months old. She was actually involved in the rubbing of the finish. [She loves to hang out with Dad in the shop!]

I entered the crib in the Minnesota Woodworkers Guild annual show “Northern Woods.” This show is in its 23 year and is attended by thousands of people every year. There are about a dozen awards given at this show, and I won the Best Finish award for the crib.

I hate to sell it, but I hate having it go unused even more. This is an heirloom quality piece and it should be used for generations, not sitting empty in the corner of my bedroom!

The crib assembles easily with four bolts, and it ships flat. The original of this design has been sent all over the country and used by several nieces and nephews of my mentor.

This one is available for $1600 plus actual shipping costs, or I will build you one in the woods of your choice.

-Jason Holtz, J. Holtz Furniture, LLC

Tempted to try it yourself? In his book, Miller gives the following advice, which every dad-to-be with a project should take to heart:
Leave enough time to make this project if you're expecting your own child to use it. There's a lot of mortise-and-tenon joints to cut. You could stall a little and keep a newborn in something more temporary, but this is bound to create some tension at home. [empasis added]
Contact Jason about his--our your--crib [jholtz.com]
Buy Miller's book, which includes plans for the crib and eight other pieces of children's furniture [amazon]

posted December 19, 2006 12:20 AM | add to del.icio.us | digg this


I think you need a cribs by dads post for everyone to link up their photos.

posted by: ob at December 19, 2006 11:53 AM

that crib is exquisite. bravo.

posted by: marjorie at December 19, 2006 12:18 PM
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