Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Cot Plot

a.k.a. The Crib Caper

I had been in search of a reasonably-priced new cot mattress for some time. Past tense, had been, because I'm searching no longer! I found one on TradeMe with a $30 "Buy Now".

Even better, it came with a free antique cot.*

*Free because it did not meet NZ cot safety standards, and it is therefore illegal to sell it new or used within the country. Standards it did not meet - having the corner posts no higher than 5mm taller than the sides and having end cut-outs. Yes, yes - you and I survived in cots like these just fine. Yes, the standards may seem pretty extreme. But can you really ignore them when it comes to baby safety?

I promptly bought it.

And set to work.

I couldn't just saw the corner posts off, as you can see the metal rods are mounted too high. So I went to the school I used to teach at and used the workshop's band saw to saw along the corner framing, and then removed the top sections of the cot-ends. Here I reignited my love affair with power tools.

I purchased some untreated, dressed pine and slid it into the gap I'd created and lined with PVA glue. I went to a friend's home for this job, as here there was a) a more gutsy drill; b) a clamp (pictured); and c) a lap and set of willing arms for Esky while mamma worked (also pictured). The drill was used for inserting a pair of long screws either side of the new wood tops. I botched two of the screws (ate out all of the screws' heads with the drill bit) - but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise - as I got to borrow a grinder from another friend's husband to take care of the small protuding head. More power tool goodness...mmm.

Then I filled in a few flaws and sanded the cot all over.

I decided to add some half-round moulding to the top of the new timber - this calls for more PVA, this time held in place by masking tape for the drying time.

Then it was finally paintin' time! I used white semi-gloss acrylic enamel, because, as the Mitre10 Mega paint lad put it, "[Esky] would have to eat the whole tin to get sick" - just the assurance I needed. Here are the cot pieces in the laundry overnight in between painting days. I felt the cot needed 3 coats in all - which meant 6 painting sessions of four walls (one session = one coat on one side of all four pieces). I used rags to keep the latches from scratching the new paint.

During the sanding and painting, Esky watched on enthused and in awe of her power-tool-weilding mother.

Occasionally she would sit on my lap while I painted. I didn't get a drop on her, I might add - quite a feat for anyone I'd say, let alone clumsy me.

Haki and I assembled the made-over cot in its place while Esky looked on, propped up by pillows. We left the fourth side off for now, so the cot functions as a side-car hugging our bed until Esky can crawl out of there...then we'll put it on so she can't topple following an after-nap Odyssey across our bed.

$30 New cot mattress
$34 1 litre of paint
$ 8 timber and moulding
$72 freshly-painted cot and new mattress

Not bad?

Esky approves.
Job done.

P.S. This was the one of the things I had on the go on the home front when I found myself off-kilter last week.
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