Working with large glued-up panels to make a piece of furniture can be a challenge. But we can use the jig used to cut the joinery to our advantage, to get perfect edge registration. That is what I did when building the cradle. One reader asked how I did it; I explain below, using a few photographs. Click on all images to enlarge them.
The sides of the cradle were 37 inches long – I cut all the joinery on these boards using the Leigh D4R dovetail jig:
This is the view as I looked at one of the side boards, after cutting the pins – notice the tapered fingers on the finger assembly point toward the user (to cut the tails, the finger assembly will be turned such that the rounded edges of the finger assembly point toward the user):
Since both the head panel and the foot panel are curved, they cannot be placed against the side stop on the dovetail jig; they must be placed far enough from the stops to ensure the curve allows perfect alignment of the edge of the panel under the finger assembly of the jig. The foot and head panels are perfectly vertical once the cradle is assembled; which makes edge alignment easy. In creating the layout on the finger assembly I made sure I stayed well away from the side stops on the jig.
To accomplish perfect edge registration, I clamped one of the curved panels in the jig, and inserted the already-cut pins (the side panels) into the tails side of the finger assembly, until they “locked” in the fingers. Then I moved the curved panel until the edge registered perfectly on the edge of the side panel, and marked the position on the backer board under the finger assembly.
The following photo will make this a bit clearer – you can see the pencil marks on the white oak board, at the edges of the curved panel under the finger assembly (the clamp bar is straight – the curvature is the result of the wide angle setting on the lens of the camera):
The dovetails on the edge of the curved panels are cut on the edge registered for its corresponding edge of the side panels. It was just a simple matter to keep track of which edge corresponded with which other edge.
I am a firm believer in using the tools to get better accuracy. This worked well, and the edges of the cradle aligned perfectly.