I am a guy who loves projects, and who especially loves learning. With my wife set to be out of town for 5 nights – way longer than I’ve ever been away from her since we met, I needed a project to occupy my time alone at the house and found one: A 203-ball golf ball cabinet.
My brother and his wife got me my first ball cabinet about ten years ago for Christmas, and for the past five or so years I’ve had to find a course to take out every time I played something new. It had gotten to the point where I was taking out really good golf courses, and with the basement being my man cave where I’m allowed to decorate with lots of great golf stuff, I figured a new ball cabinet was the perfect project.
My previous project was refinishing our master bedroom built-in cabinets, which involved a ton of sanding, staining, new hardware and plenty of careful brushwork along the carpet-line. It turned out well enough that Kelly has allowed me to continue my tinkering.
Being a novice wood worker at best, I did not expect it to be an easy project, but I also did not expect it to take 32 hours! On day one, Saturday, I picked up wood from Home Depot and went to my buddy John’s (who will start writing for WiscoGolfAddict in the coming weeks!), where he made all the cuts for the box to come together. John has an awesome wood working setup, including a mitre saw, table saw and all the other essentials.
When I was picking up the tools from Home Depot in Germantown, the wood guy said to me, “Why the hell would you want to display golf balls? That doesn’t even make sense.” I said because I love golf and I have a ton of balls. He again said it seemed silly and made a comment to the guy who makes all the cuts on their huge wall saw (not sure if that’s an accurate name for it). This past weekend, when I was there to buy more tools for making frames, he made a goofy comment and I showed him a picture of my display cabinet – he was finally appeased.
My original visit to Home Depot included six 5′ long x 1-1/2″ wide boards for shelves (make sure they are straight, trust me), a large piece of plywood cut to 5′ long x 2′ wide, and 3″ wide boards that are cut to 5′ in length (2) and 2′ in length (2). I also picked up wood glue, 1-1/2″ wood screws, a chalk line, extra clamps (corner clamps would have been huge!), teal-colored spray paint, very dark wood stain, finishing nails, a french cleat with 200 lbs weight capacity, staining brushes and rags.
From GolfSmith, I picked up 500 tan-colored 3-1/4″ long wood tees, and from Golf Galaxy I picked up 200 yellow par three tees. If you are looking to take on a similar project, do not bother getting short tees as they are still too long for the project and will have to be cut. The longer, the better for this purpose.
I was talked in to using pine for this project, but if I were to do it again I would use oak to avoid potential bowing. I would also get a nail gun to help bind the corners more efficiently.
The goal for my project is to be able to display more golf balls, and to have room to grow in the future. I used the dimensions of my old cabinet to get a handle on spacing and height: A 24″ tall inner cabinet holds six rows of shelves, and the bottom frame holds the same number as the shelves. While the old cabinet holds nine balls per row, the new one holds 29… Thus the number 203. I didn’t see glass as being necessary, and it would probably have taken away about 30 tees’ worth of capacity from the display.
I started by sanding the frame, then used random tools to make character marks – a screwdriver, paint can opener, ratchet and shelf base all did well to make indentations in the wooden surface that would catch spray paint and hopefully remain untouched by the dark wooden stain later.
I spray painted these boards with the teal under-liner and allowed them to dry. I then sanded them again to prepare them for the dark wood stain. After staining, the wood was dark with a few spots of teal shining through. Another round of sanding took care of that and brought out really cool looking streaks of blue/green, as well as the rough wooden edges. I had originally planned to stain again, but as a big fan of “Fixer Upper” enjoyed the rustic look and decided to keep them as-is.
After staining the backboard of the display, I allowed it to dry sufficiently and then put it face down with heavy objects on all corners and toward the middle to keep the wood from bowing. It’s not necessary to paint or stain the back-side, as it will just lay against the wall, anyways.
On the “Good side” of the shelf boards, I used a screwdriver with a 5/32″ drill bit to put holes 5 cm apart from one another. The holes should be favor the good/presented edges of the shelves; place wood underneath them to help keep from exploding the bottoms if/when the drill bit goes all the way through. These will otherwise require correcting at a later time.
Sand the shelves again afterwards to make sure there are no splintered spots and that the wood is prepped for additional staining…