It's been a while since we've had an arts and crafts segment on Gaslamp Ball. I've had the idea of displaying some of my favorite autographed baseballs on a shelf for a while. With the recent controversy surrounding the Padres retired numbers I feel this is a great time to finally finish my project.
As you can see it is a pretty simple design that anyone can do, whether you've never been to Home Depot or you're Ron Swanson himself. If you think you'd like to make your own shelf the following are the steps I took.
First, go down to the lumberyard, pick yourself out a real good piece of wood. I went with poplar. I like the clean grains it offers as opposed to oak. A Rawlings baseball case is 3 1/8" cubed. 5 cases plus an inch on each end gives you 17 5/8". Using a Miter Saw I cut both pieces to length. Using a 1"X4" and a 1"X6" work perfectly. With a small bead of glue and a few screws I attached the two pieces.
Next I placed a small rail on the front of the shelf too keep the cases in place. I used a case for a guide. It's a small detail that is held in place with just a bit of glue. With some clamps "set it and forget it" for the rest of the day.
After the glue has dried I gave it a light sand with some fine grit paper. Carefully not over sanding the edges and corners. I wiped away the dust and applied my stain of choice. I was trying to match a couple frames I recently bought. This meant I used two different colors that I happened to already have.
After the stain was dry and I was happy with the color, came the trickiest step, the retired numbers. I couldn't find the current font (who knows what the new numbers will look like anyway). I did find some 1 inch stickers that look identical to the font the Padres used in early '80's. I placed some painters tape at the same height of a case then marked the middle of the shelf and four other marks using a case for the spacing. Now I carefully placed the appropriate numbers between the tape and the top edge of the shelf. This needs to be precise so it took a couple tries to get it right. Then I applied several coats of polyurethane, sanding between coats.
Done! I was really happy how it turned out. Now I just have to convince the wife to put it on the wall.
*You probably have noticed I omitted the number 42. I have the utmost respect for Jackie Robinson, but unfortunately I do not have a ball signed by him. If anybody wants to donate such a ball I would be more than happy to build another shelf.