Wooden Doll Beds by Laru Rosengrant of Allison Park, PA
The short story of my making doll beds goes back about 6 years and my Granddaughter had an American Girl Doll. I asked her where the doll sleeps at night and she said, in a shoe box, I replied we can do better than that, I will make you a doll bed for your doll, and I did. Now, I will tell you the first few beds I made were not very pretty, and I had a steep learning curve for a while, used screws and nails to fasten the bed together, I think they were really kind of bad. After I made a few and it appeared I would be making them for some time, I sat down and looked at every piece part in the bed. I was really unhappy with the craftsmanship that went into the first few. What I came up with was bed that is put together with tendon and mortises,no nails or screws, no metal in the bed at all. The beds in the pictures is around the 250th beds that I have made over the past several years.
I make the beds and the wife does all the sewing to make the blankets, pillows and mattress cover. All the beds are made out of Red Oak or Cherry. I get rough cut lumber and mill it down to the thickness and dimensions need.
I sand all the piece parts down to 220 grit then cut the tendon and mortise do a good dry fit of all parts, glue them up and let it sit over night, then stain and let it dry 24 hours and finish the bed with two coats of wipe-on-Poly varnish. They turn out pretty nice, and bring a lot of big smiles to little girls faces. I know that I am still working to make that doll bed that is perfect and, I am still trying. They aren't to bad and the ones that get the beds don't seem to mind any imperfections that I know are there.
I want to make sure you know that all ten(10) spindles used to make a bed plus the finials on top and bottom of the four(4) bed post comes from Bear wood and have for many years now.
My schedule now is to make between 30 and 34 beds each year and I am in the process of starting to select the wood for next year, 2018 beds. Maybe this will be the year that I can make that Perfect bed that has no OOOPS anywhere to be found, will have to wait and see.
I give all the beds away all 30 of them and they go needy little girls that might not have a so bright Christmas and I hope the doll bed helps them have a great day on Christmas. I give the beds to several Churches in and around the Pittsburgh, PA area , also the Allison Park, Police Dept. and the New Hope Foundation, Local Foster Home for Children Program, and the Children Cancer program in GA.
It is nice to get feedback about how happy a little girl was when she got her doll bed. That is what it is all about.