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28 year-old Adam Seim makes his living as a maintenance engineer at a New York City radio station. He got the gig after he and his brother, both master woodworkers, built a $3 million studio for the station, complete with mahogany paneling and Corian counters. Seim’s construction chops can be seen in a number of bedroom makeovers done by the volunteer group Blissful Bedrooms, which does amazing transformations of the bedrooms of extremely disabled New York City teenagers.

Seim’s wife Sara is expecting their first child, a girl, so he went to work building a crib for the baby. Actually, it’s a mini-crib because a full-size crib would be too big for their cramped Brooklyn apartment.

The crib was constructed of ApplePly, a formaldehyde-free Baltic birch plywood with a maple veneer. Seim calls it “one of the strongest plywoods out there.” This is not cheap stuff. The 4′ X 8′ sheets cost $138 and it took two of them to make the crib, though a nice 30″ X 48″ piece of ApplePly was left over.

Seim read up online and learned that safety regulations require that the rails for the crib could not have more than 2-3/8′ of space between them in order to prevent the infant from getting her head stuck.

Using Google Sketch Up, he designed the crib so it is slotted together.


The only hardware used are stainless steel pins bolted into the four corner supports. They hold up the platform on which the mattress sits.

The crib is 34″ tall, 28″ wide, and 41″ long.

Seim decided that, for budgetary reasons, it made sense to make forms out of 1/2″ medium density fiberboard on a CNC milling machine and use them to cut the crib’s parts out of the ApplePly at home. Cutting plywood on a CNC machine takes a lot more time than cutting MDF. After redrawing the design in AutoCAD, Seim emailed it to the Third Ward wood shop in Williamsburg where it took less than an hour to cut the MDF forms. He had to pay $100 for an hour of time on the machine.

When Seim got the forms home, he sealed them with polyurethane and used a pattern bit on his hand-held router to cut the parts for the crib out of the ApplePly.

To keep those nasty VOC’s away from the forthcoming baby Seim, the crib was finished with milk paint and tung oil.

Mom-to-be Sarah loves the handmade crib.

Jon Kalish

Jon Kalish is a Manhattan-based radio reporter, podcast producer and newspaper writer. He’s reported for NPR for more than 30 years.


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