Woodwork: A baby bunk.

In my free time (which has increased some, but not as much as you might imagine), I am building baby furniture. Here I am sanding some birch-veneer plywood that is part of the co-sleeper I built.

One can order co-sleepers online. In the U.S. one company has a real monopoly on these, and I hear they’ve even trademarked the term “Co-Sleeper”. Unfortunately, their products don’t have much visual appeal. To me they resemble the kind of cheap desks you might buy at a big-box office supply store or maybe a TV table from Target.

Across the pond you can order beautiful co-sleepers: modern, sleek, minimal. Maybe some Scandinavian design, no plastic casters. But their price is in British Pounds or Euros, which means they cost about 2x what we would pay here for a similar item. And they must be shipped at great expense.

There are a handful of nice looking products made in the U.S. (or at least sold by U.S. companies. Here’s a nice looking one. And these folks are definitely the real deal.

But after reviewing all the options, I decided that I could build a co-sleeper and would enjoy doing so. This is a nice way to get into woodworking. Babies don’t put a lot of load on furniture, and this is a simple object to make. Also, it’s an opportunity to experiment with wood finishes — if the finish doesn’t turn out perfectly, no big deal. And finally, I saved enough money doing it myself to buy the table saw I need to do it.

(The latter trade reminds me of a coding adage I’ve learned over the years: Invest heavily in the framework you use to build things so you can build more things.)

All of the materials — screws, wood finishes, and planks — are scavenged from earlier projects, so the entire project cost is the table saw and my time. And as far as my time is concerned, I consider it practically recreation to spend an afternoon in late September sanding and cutting in the back yard. The leaves are turning, the sky is blue, the sunlight is warm and golden, the shade is cool.

Here are more images and my SketchUp plans for this baby sleeper.

Woodwork: A baby bunk.