The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders














by Tidmarsh Major

For the recent birth of my firstborn son, Christopher, I had intended to build a boat cradle. I bought The Expectant Father's Cradle Boat Book, but neither of the designs was exactly what I wanted tbuild. I played around with Greg Carlson's Hulls software and built a couple of cardboard models. As with all my projects, there were delays (and procrastination), and on October 11, when Christopher was born, I still hadn't settled on a final plan, much less bought wood or begun building.

That's when I turned to Jordan Wood Boats for the Papoose kit. The kit icluded plans, instructions, fasteners, and all the parts pre-cut, beveled, and rough sanded. The transoms and rockers are alder, the bottom is radiata pine, and the sides are oak/luan plywood. All I have to provide are glue, finish, tools, and time. I used a screwdriver, hammer, jigsaw, flush-cut pull saw, chisel, block plane, and spokeshave.

click to enlarge

As far as time, the cradle went together quickly. It took an hour and a half to unpack the box and review the plans and instructions, and then to assemble the sides, transoms, and bottom.

(click images to enlarge)

Installing the gunwales took another 30 minutes.
click to enlarge
click to enlarge

Cutting and beveling the curves on the transom, and installing the the inwales and knees took another two and a half hours.

Attaching the rockers took about 30 minutes.
click to enlarge

To finish, I used 100% pure Tung oil from Lee Valley tools for a non-toxic finish, followed by a coat of orange wax polish for a bit more shine. The pure tung oil is much thicker than the usual "tung oil finish" available at the big box home inprovement stores, and takes a good bit longer to dry. The final coat took about 4 days to dry. On the other hand, it smells much better and has no VOCs.

The plans called for extra-firm 3/4-inch foam, which I was unable to find locally. (The fabric stores here didn't have foam less than an inch, and it was all too soft.) Instead, I used a closed-cell foam camping matress that came in at 1/2-inch thick and is plenty firm. I got some soft cotton twill for a cover, and basically made a pillow case to fit the curved pad. I made a pattern out of butcher paper and cut the fabric, but I relied on my first cousin once removed who was kind enough to sew the covers for me.

click to enlarge