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sxlalan

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Hi All

I am looking at making a cupboard/bookcase for my daughters nursery. I have come up with an idea along these lines...



...Please excuse the crudeness of the drawing, it is my first attempt at SketchUp and I am finding it a bit of a challenge! The proportions are all wrong but it should give you some idea as to what I want to achieve. Basically a lower 2 door cupboard with a double bookcase above. The bulk of the structure will be painted (off white) with the top of the lower cupboard section made from beech (to tie in with other items in the room).

The only other piece of furniture I have made is a cotbed and I am a bit at a loss as to where to start with this one, even in terms of the materials to use (eg 'real' wood, MDF, plywood etc etc. Can anyone point me in the direction of any books or advice that will help me get started?

Thanks as always

Alan
 

devonwoody

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Alan: In my opinion this could be a dangerous piece of furniture for a nursery because the top section is quite often a separate piece and could in some ways be unstable, also can be an unbalanced item., A one piece job can also be unstable because young children sometime in the future will be grabbing hold of furniture to steady themselves when they are learning to stand up and also when walking.

If I were making furniture again (never in a hundred years :) )for a nursery I would keep things down to a fairly low level and difficult to shift or unbalance and also without any glass fitted.

Best of luck, but you will most probably have perfect children .
 

sxlalan

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Hi devonwoody

The unit is to be built into the alcove next to the chimney breast. It will be attached to walls on both sides as well as the back. If it comes down so will most of the house :shock:

Cheers

Alan
 

jasonB

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As children will try to climb most things I always use a couple of small anglke brackets to hold free standing units back to the wall, even a 3ft high bookshelf that is 10-12" deep is quite instable on carpet when you have a two year old hanging off it :)

I would make it all from MDF with the exception of the beech top, have a look at the dresser in this album, construction will be about the same, just alter the proportions. Shout if you want any construction details

Jason
 

sxlalan

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Hi Jason

That's perfect (though unfortunately my wife also saw your kitchen which will apparently look perfect in our place :( ). Any construction details you can provide (or photos) would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

Alan
 

Scrit

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I would second what DevonWoody has said. I've made production children's furniture (still do) and for taller stuff (suitable only for older children) we always provide a means to fix the upper part to the lower semi-permanently (kitchen carcase connectors work well here) and to fix the upper carcase to the wall by means of mirror plates, screws and Fischer fastenings (think in terms of a 3in #8 and you'll be in the right area - with four of these you can hang 1/2 tonne plus off a brick wall). All your edges need to be well rounded - I do this with a bull nose cutter like chippies use for nosing stairs, and sharp edges must be avoided at all costs on doors, etc. Avoid using mirror glass, even toughened safety or laminated. Much better to use mirror acrylic which is almost child proof, if a bit pricey. It needs to have a flame polished edge. Avoid sharp handles - nicely rounded ones are good, but finger holes are even better for very young children and be careful not to introduce potential "head traps" into the design - anything a child's head cut get jammed in as this can result in injury or worse still lead to strangulation. The standard test is for a 4 in rubber ball which should not be able pass through any window-type openings. I'd also suggest mounting shelves in such a way that in the event the child does climb them they are strong enough to take the weight and they cannot be pulled out - fitting behind face frames as in your sketch is good, although I'd suggest doors on the front for very young children. It should be possible to secure the doors/drawers, etc with something like a magnetic child safe mechanism to minimise risk of accident if a child is prone to climbing. This can be disabled later on. If there are any drop lids (such as on a desk) you should fit a safety stay which will help prevent accidental trapping of little fingers (a statory requyirement on manufactured items). For construction I'd suggest biscuits or dowel/glue - both very strong and durable - avoid the use of air pinners/staplers or sharp objects as these can work loose in time and become a hazard. For that reason I also try to minimise the number of screws used. Similarly avoid any decoration which can work loose or be pulled off and ingested - small chiuldren can choke on the tiniest of objects. Finally you need to ensure that your timbers are non-toxic and that the paints you use are suitable for children - not just lead-free, but actually child safe. Like it or not, MDF is seen as a very good medium for this type of furniture as it is relatively benign once sealed and finished.

Sorry to bat on, but when making this stuff for sale the regs are horrendous. Have a look at the Toy Regs on the government web site and ytou'll get the gist. Don't let the proceeding put you off, either. Making stuff for kids can also be realy rewarding. Hope that helps.

Scrit
 

sxlalan

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Brilliant info Scrit, thanks for taking the time. I went down the child safe paint route when making the cot so I should be alright there,

Thanks again

Alan
 

Scrit

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Only when they're falling off bookcases :lol:
 

devonwoody

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Also "Lady Chatterly" is entirely unsuitable reading matter for young children, but not amongst the regulations I bet.
 

JFC

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18mm MDF would be great for that project , are you looking at making the fluted colums 18mm ( the thickness of the timber) or thicker , bringing them 1/2 way out the depth of the turret ? For the Timber top id buy 100mm x 50mm and biscuit joint it together , it may be cheaper than buying a top .
 

sxlalan

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Cheers JFC.

I plan to make the columns wider than 18mm though I haven't decided on final measurements yet. Probably somewhere in the 50-80mm range. Not sure what you mean by 1/2 way out?

Looks like a biscuit jointer is on the cards. Good job its the Harrogate WW show next weekend!

Alan
 

JFC

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In saying half way out i mean the colum with the flute will be say 50mm away from the carcase and the turret will sit 50mm out and 50mm back onto the top of the carcase , making it look like a real roof .
 

sxlalan

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Hi JFC

I'm still being a bit thick here and completely sure as to what you mean. Here is a top down view of the left hand side of what I had planed



The tower section is the column with the flute and is 100 x 100 mm in this drawing. Does that fit in with what you are asking?
 

JFC

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Thats pretty much what i meant by half way out, the peaked tower section is half way out from the facing of the shelves . Are you going to turn the turrets ?
 

Scrit

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Alan

Depending on your turret diameter it may be possible to laminate, e.g. several 2mm MDF layers laminated onto 18mm MDF circles or for bigger diameters 9mm bendy MDF, 2 layers with the bendy bits on the inside. Another option might be to seek out a retail establishment/shop fitter/display stand builder and try to cadge up some spiral cardboard tube. This is used in retail/display work and being thick it is strong (but light). A few years ago I did some stage stuff for a theatre where they brought in some 24in diameter cardboard tubes, each of which had to support the weight of an adult. There is one paper mill I know of which makes the stuff (Sonoco in Elland, W. Yorkshire) but I think they have rather large minimum quantities. Might be able to help find you someone, though, should you go that way.

Scrit
 
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