Golf Ball Display Cabinet Project, Part 2

In my previous post, I went over some of the early stages of my golf ball display cabinet. In this post, I’ll go over how I actually finished it.

I have already gotten a handful of emails and texts about the project – it turns out I’m not the only one out there who thinks this is a cool addition to the house!

A lot of golf ball display cabinets feature a green felt backboard, but I wanted mine to be a solid black to avoid taking any attention away from the focal point of the piece: The logo golf balls. I spray painted it teal and allowed it to dry before applying the dark wood stain.

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The frame was assembled using 45-degree angles at the corners (using a mitre saw), and here is where it became evident I need some more tools. Specifically, a nail gun and corner clamps would have come in huge.

Without corner clamps or a nail gun, I wood glued one corner at a time, using scrap wood blocks to ensure 90-degree angles at the edges. After allowing the wood glued corners to dry, I put four small finishing nails in to each corner – two on each side of each corner.

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With the frame assembled, I re-sanded the sides and all visible areas again, especially the edges to bring out the natural, rustic wood look that I like. Kelly and I are both big fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ show Fixer Upper, which gave me my vision for the overall appearance of my project.

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I again sanded and attached the back using wood glue and nails. The pine wood I used was slightly bowed, so the backing did not attach as smoothly as I would have liked but I got it close.

Looking back now, I would have attached the shelves to the back prior to attaching the back. Hindsight is 20/20, right?

Finishing the shelves was next, and let me say it’s a long and arduous process! A drill press would have been incredibly helpful at this step, as using a hand drill for all 203 tee holes presented at least 203 opportunities to make a mistake.

I used a chalk line to mark where the drill holes would go – slightly toward the front of the finished/visible shelf edges and with 2″ in between each tee. Measuring the distance from each side that would make sure the tees all lined up vertically took a while, but ended up requiring the first hole to be drilled just under 5 cm in from both the left and right sides.

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Sand over the shelves after drilling them make sure the surfaces are smooth. Also, flip over each board to make sure the drill bit did not go through the bottom. If it did, use putty to fill the hole and wait for those to dry. Once dried, I spray painted the shelves the teal color and allowed them to dry.

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After drying, I sanded down the shelves again and then stained them, allowing the wood finish to dry.

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Next? You guessed it: More sanding.

Sand down the shelves after the stain is dry, and especially sand the edges to bring out the natural wood underneath. Sanding this time will bring out some of the teal under-cover, and make the wood look vintage and, thus, cool.

Next, get the tees that will be used in the display and find something effective for cutting them down. It took a lot of trial and error in this part of the project, but the best tool I could find was a wire cutter and the tee length that I settled on liking best is ~ 3/4″.

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Cut the tees down just under an inch each and using a sheet of sanding paper sharpen the bottoms so they’ll slide straight in to the tee holes. Try to make sure they are all straight up and down; this will be tough to fix later.

When all the tees are rudimentally in the holes, there are a couple of options for setting them. The one that I used was taking a hammer (a mallet would have been better) and pounding on them until they were all the same height above the shelf, and fit snugly. Another option is to use a hand-clamp, but after a couple of cocktails on Saturday night I had a hard time getting the clamps to put the tees in straight and went back to the hammer.

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It took a while to get the distances down for the shelves. Most important, of course, is that each shelf has enough space for a ball to fit comfortably underneath the shelf above it. I wanted to have a little extra space on the bottom shelf to have slightly longer tees, but looking back on that decision it really didn’t add much appeal.

Above the taller first shelf, the other five were spaced to be around 2-3/4″ apart from one another. The important part here is to make sure you like how it looks when they’re mounted, so avoid any nailing until you know you have the spacing that you want.

I made a mistake here and start wood gluing and then nailing in the shelves right away – the shelves look alright, but could have been spaced a little more effectively.

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Always make sure to wipe off any excess wood glue whenever binding the boards – this will be awful to clean later. Put weights or heavy objects on top of them to let the boards set securely, and when they are dried it will be time to get some finishing nails through the sides.

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When everything is dry, flip the board over so the backing is face up, and using the chalk line mark half-way through the height of each shelf where nails will be pounded in. The scrap boards shown below were screwed in to the corners earlier to help keep the corners and the back board tight.

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After the nails are pounded in, the project should be just about finished!

The last step for me was affixing a french cleat to the back frame. The french cleat I got from Home Depot was ~ $15, has a 200-pound weight capacity and was super easy to install. One piece screws in to the frame (make sure it’s centered perfectly), and the other screws in to the wall – make sure to get at least two of the wall screws in to studs – the side attached to the frame will then sit on top of the wall side, and can be moved laterally (like the old tv wall mounts that are flush to the wall)).

Finally, 32 hours of work later, my project was completed and on the wall. The last thing left to do was put some golf balls in the display… I’m at 130 now, and have room for 73 more. Mission: Accomplished.

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The last issue I had involved golf balls falling off the tees – I was able to remedy this with small pliable adhesive circles from Michael’s. They actually ended up being the exact diameter of the tees, working out perfectly.

Have you ever had the urge to take on a cool golf project? If so, what is it and how did it turn out? I’d love to see pictures of other golf enthusiasts’ projects!

Golf Ball Display Cabinet Project, Part 1

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…