In this Instructable I'll show you how to take a humble 2x4 and turn it in to a championship wrestling belt! You'll be the envy of your friends and the champion of your backyard wrestling league!
Materials for this build:
1. 8 foot long construction grade 2x4
2. Wood glue, CA (super) glue
3. 4 feet worth of 3/8" oak dowel
4. Wood stain (optional)
5. wood finish of your choice (optional)
6. 2 wood screws
Step 1: Choose Your 2x4!
Select a 2x4 thats free of knots and fairly straight. This will help when re-sawing smaller pieces and with the overall look of the finished product.
Step 2: Cut, Re-saw, and Trim the Edges of the 2x4
Begin by cutting 2 pieces from the 2x4, both 12 1/2 inches long. With the 2 pieces cut bring them to your table saw and re-saw both 12 1/2 inch long pieces in to 3 equal pieces. I set the fence on my table saw slightly over 3/8" from the blade and raised the blade to a point where it would reach a little over half way up the 2x4. The distance you set the fence from the blade may very depending on the thickness of your blade. I use a 3/32" blade and tried to set up the saw in order to get 3 equally thick pieces from each section of the 2x4.
In order to make a complete cut you'll need to make a pass through your piece and then flip it so the cut you just made will be facing up and the same edge you placed against the fence for the first cut will also be riding against the fence again for the second cut.
Once you've completed the first cut, flip the remaining piece of 2x4 so the other factory edge is resting against the fence and repeat the process to split the remaining piece of 2x4 in to 2 sections.
Now that you've got 6 pieces of wood from the 2 original pieces you'll need to clean up the edges to get them ready for gluing. I first set my fence to 3 3/8", trimmed one edge of each of the 6 pieces, bumped the fence over another 1/8", and trimmed the other side of so they're nice and flat and ready for glue.
Step 3: Glue Up the 6 Pieces in to 2 Panels
Glue up the 6 pieces you just cut in to 2 separate panels. I used 6 pipe clamps, 2 underneath at each edge, and one on top to apply even pressure to the new panels. Be sure not to over tighten the clamps. This will cause excessive squeeze out of the glue and could cause the panels to shift and become uneven at the ends.
Step 4: Cut and Re-saw the Belt Link Pieces
While the glue on the 2 panels is drying, set up a stop block on your miter saw at 6 1/2" and cut out 6 pieces from the original piece of 2x4
Once you've got your 6 pieces cut, take them to the table saw, set your fence at 1 1/8" from the blade, set the blade height slightly over half way up the 2x4, and cut them all to 1 1/8" thick using the same re-saw process as step 2. Make an initial cut and flip the board to complete the cut
Next sand your 6 1 1/8" thick pieces of 2x4 smooth. I used my belt sander for this and it made quick work of it, but you can also use a palm sander, or even sand them by hand.
Step 5: Drill, Trim, Round Over the Belt Links and Cut a Shape in to Your Face Plate
Set up a stop block on your drill press so you can drill a 3/8" hole that goes through your belt link from the top to the bottom vertically. These holes will need to be centered from side to side, and 1/2" in from each end. Depending on the depth your drill press can reach, you may need to drill half way through and then flip the piece and finish the drilling.
After the holes are drilled on each end set the blade height of your table saw to 3/4" high and install your miter gauge or cross cut sled. Make a cut 3/4" deep and 1 3/8" in from the end on all 4 sides. After this step you can either change the blade height to 1 3/8", and complete the cuts on your table saw, or take it to the the belt links to the band saw and complete the cuts by removing the corners of each block.
Once the corners have been removed, you'll need to round over the ends to allow them to pivot easily when the belt goes together. I did this with my disc sander. I also rounded over the tops and bottoms of each link so they'll clear the pivots when you put the belt together. I did this by cutting them on my bandsaw and soothing them out on my oscillating spindle sander.
Now that the links are drilled, trimmed, rounded, and smoothed out you'll want to give your faceplate a little shape. I modeled mine after the WWE World Heavy Weight Championship Belt. I sketched the shape on one of the panels that were glued together in step 3, cut it out with my bandsaw, and smoothed it with my oscillating spindle sander.
Step 6: Cut, Drill, and Sand the Belt Pivots, and Cut the Connecting Dowels
Next cut a piece of the remaining 2x4 at 14 inches long. Next take it to your table saw and rip 3 strips that are 1 inch thick. Once you've cut 3 strips each 1" thick, cut that in to as many 2 1/2" long pieces as it will make. You'll need 14 for the belt pivots. This can be done on your table saw with a cross cut sled, on a chop saw, or by hand
Using the same stop block that was set up on the drill press and the same 3/8" forstner bit drill a hole in each end of the 10 of the belt pivots, one hole in 4 of the ends. The 4 pieces that only received on hole at each end will need to be slotted to accept the face plate of the belt. Draw a line from each side of the 3/8" hole to the opposite end with no hole , mark a line across the piece at the center, and trim away between the lines on your band saw until you're left with a piece that is somewhat U shaped.
I used 3/8" oak dowels cut at 4" long to attach the belt picots to the belt links. I cut these using my cross cut sled on my table saw. You will need 12 pieces total.
Step 7: Assemble the Belt Links, Attach Face Plate to Belt
At this point you should be ready to get everything assembled.
Start by applying some CA glue (aka super glue) to the inside of each of the holes on one of the pivots. Using a rubber mallet or hammer pound in 2 pieces of 3/8" dowel. Repeat this process until all dowels are glued in to half of the pivots, including the ones you'll be using to attach the faceplate to the belt.
Once you've got the dowels glued in to each once side of the pivot points begin sliding the belt links on them and gluing the other pivot points on in the same manner you did with the lower ones, including gluing on the upper attachment for the face plate. Glue all the pivot points in place except for one, this will be hammered on only so the belt will be able to come apart if needed.
Before gluing on the face plate, sand it smooth to the grit of your choosing either by hand or with a palm sander. I went up to 220 grit on mine.
After sanding the face plate smooth you can glue it to the U shaped attachment points at the end of each section of belt. I applied more CA glue to the inside of 2 attachment points, slide the face plate in to them so there was an even space on the top and bottom of the faceplate and help them firmly while the glue dried. I then repeated the process to attach the other section of belt to the opposite side of the face plate.
This completes the belt itself
Step 8: Cut Out the Logo for Your Face Plate
Now that your belt is complete, you're going to need something awesome on the faceplate.
I started by sanding the remaining panel that was glued up in step 3 up to 220 grit. Next I printed out my logo, cut it out with scissors leaving a little border around the outside edge, applied spray adhesive to the back of it, and applied it to the last remaining panel.
Once the spray adhesive had dried I cut out the logo using a combination of my scroll saw for the inside part and my bandsaw for the outside. I then hit it with my sander again to remove the paper template that was left on it after cutting
Step 9: Apply a Finish to the Belt and Faceplate and Attach the Logo.
I decided to give my belt a little contrast, so I applied a dark stain to the logo before I attached it to the faceplate.
While the stain was drying I applied a coat of my favorite wood finish. It's a mixture of 1/3 boiled linseed oil, 1/3 shellac, and 1/3 denatured alcohol. This finish will enhance the grain and give it a nice protective coating from the shellac. You can use whatever kind of finish you like best though. Or just leave it bare wood so all the blood, sweat, and tears you shed protecting it will stain it with honor!
Once the stain on the logo is dried I applied a liberal amount of CA glue to the backside of it. I positioned it on the faceplate and clamped it down, then attached 2 short brass screws to make sure everything stays nice and secure. If the screws are too long you may need to trim the them down on the back with a have saw, an angle grinder, or a file.
Step 10: Impress Your Friends With Your AWESOME BELT, BROTHER! OOOOOOHHHH YEEEEEAH!
You've done it! You reached for that brass ring, and you grabbed it! You've completed your very own awesome championship belt built from a 2x4!! Now get out there and defend your title at all cost!
Thanks for check out my intractable and if you'd like more details on building this check out the video I attached.