While my pool table is undergoing repairs I still like to get out and go play at the local pool hall. I can easily take my nice cue to the pool hall but what about taking the pool balls with you? I know it is a little out of the ordinary to want to take pool balls with you but you can ask any passion filled player and 9 times out of ten they would rather shoot with their own pool balls. I agree with them. House cues and house balls are often in poor condition simply because people abuse them without knowing it or on accident. I will be purchasing a very well rated, well made set of balls and I plan on taking them along with my cue to the pool hall. But how do you transport 16 pool balls and a cue? You don't want to put them in a box or a bag. You would want comfort and appeal. How about a pool cue and pool ball combo case? Sure! That sounds perfect! Lets make one!
I chose to make my own pool cue and ball combo case for a few reasons, well two actually. One, It s cheaper and two, I like making things. If you have all the tools on hand you will be saving a few bucks. I looked online at similar products and found them to be 150 dollars and up! Thats insane. Now I can understand paying that for a new cue or balls but for a case? This project costed around 50 dollars to make and the fact that you made it is well worth the price.
The case I made can hold 15 pool balls, the cue ball, a cue, chalk and there is enough room left over for a bunch of extras. Such as a poker, shaper and even repair tools if desired. I have yet to fill the empty space with extras. Now since I made this case to hold all 15 pool balls and a cue ball and a cue it is bigger than the average cue case, since a cue case is made to hold only a cue. This case is 40 1/2 inches long, 6 1/2 inches wide and 3 inches high. One concern people had when I showed it to them was the weight, and once they held it with everything inside they were shocked. It sounds like it would weigh a lot but it really doesn't. It is also very easy and comfortable to carry.
Lets make one!
Do this at your own risk, I am not responsible for any damage to anything or anyone.
Step 1: Supplies and tools.
hot glue gun
1/4 thick wood. I used pine ply, very easy to work with and light weight. $19.00 for a 4x8 sheet
small nails. Cheap at almost any store. You want small, thin nails so when you combine the wood using them the wood won't split.
fabric/felt. The fabric/felt will be used to line the inside and outside of the case to make it look nice and to protect the cue and pool balls. I picked up a nice black checkered felt for $12.00 at a fabric store. Get enough of it. You want to be able to cover your case inside and out.
wood glue. $2.00
E600 epoxy glue. $2.50. This is used to attach the felt to the wood. Its a very strong glue that works on fabric and wood. I highly recommend getting two tubes and to use in a well ventilated area. It has a strong odor that could be harmful.
And hardware, such as a handle, hinges and a clasp. I salvaged these parts off an old cue case. And I got the hinges from a shelf thing that was in our house that no one cared about. Repurposed!
You will also need about 14 sponges. I bought 4 packs of 7 at the dollar store all for $4.00. I will explain these later.
I mentioned that cost is around $50.00. It might be cheaper depending on where you buy your materials. Everything is pretty cheap, and I ended up paying around 30 to 40 dollars total.
Step 2: Plan and measure!
Before you build your case you need an idea to work off of. I drew a quick sketch and used the measurements of the pool balls and cue to help with the size of the case. You want your case to fit all the pool balls and the cue plus some extras, so you might want to measure as much as you can. My pool balls, and others are on average around 2 inches wide or tall. so we have 15 balls. Simple multiplication will tell that you need at least 30 inches of length. (2x15). 30 inches is not long enough for this case because you need to consider the width of the walls inside of the case that seperate the balls. Believe me the witdth of the walls add up quick! if you want 15 spaces for the balls you will need 15 walls ( the way I made it). If you don't consider the width of the walls you will end up with a short case that can't hold all the balls. So we need 30 inches to fit all the balls, but including walls we need more. I ended up using 40 1/2 inches of length which turned out to be perfect. It gave me enough room for all the balls and a chalk compartment. I guess 40 and a half inches was a bit too much, and by a bit, I mean an inch or two. But like I said, I have gained a chalk compartment. The pool balls are the only thing that really effects the measurements because lined up length wise, they are longer (all 15 not including the cue ball) than a cue stick (half a cue, since my cue is two pieces). They are also higher than a cue stick so they effect and determine the height of the case and length. The width of the case is determined by the cue and the pool balls. You need 2 inches of width for the balls and enough room for the cue. I used 6 1/2 inches of width. I then split that in half. One half for the balls and the other half for the cue stick. You will notice that the cue ball is on the same side as the cue stick. I did this to save length and to take up room inside the case. Now if I wanted to add the cue ball to the same side the numbered balls are on I would have needed to make the case a bit longer which wouldn't have really made a difference. But there would have been a lot of room on the other side of the case that would be unused. With the cue ball on the same side as the cue I have about 7 inches of unused space that is now dedicated to accessories. If the cue ball wasn't on the same side I would have 9 inches of space to fill. I designed my case with measurements in mind and I gave extra space where I thought was needed. Its easier to cut the wood longer than it is to cut the wood too short and have to start over. For the pool balls you will want about 2 1/2 inches of room so they fit nicely with some wiggle room.
I measured a normal cue case and a ball to get an idea of the size I would need. The cue case was 2 1/2 and the ball was 2 inches. by that math I would need at least 4 1/2 inches. Now I would also need walls inside the case to divide the cue and balls. So I went with 6 1/2 inches.
I measured as many things as I could to better the size of the case. In the end, considering how I wanted the layout and the measurents of the cue (Width and length) and the balls (width) I ended up with 40 1/2 inches long by 6 1/2 inches wide by 3 inches high. My thumbnail sketch is not to scale by any means.
Step 3: Cut the wood.
You will need to cut two 6 1/2 inches wide by 40 1/2 inches long pieces of wood.
you will then need to cut four 1 1/2 inches wide by 40 1/2 inches long pieces of wood.
You will then need to cut four 1 1/2 inches wide by 6 1/2 inches long pieces of wood. You might have to make these pieces a little longer depending on how you assemble your case.
I used a jig saw to cut my wood so I had a bit of sanding to do. You need to sand away any splinters and make it level. As I said in the above text, you might need to make some pieces a bit longer than others. This all depends on how you assemble your case.
Step 4: Assemble the case
This part is easy. Just nail the pieces together and secure with wood glue. If you don't use wood glue it will be weak and more likely to break. Use tiny nails and not a lot. The less you use the better. It helps prevent the wood from spliting. We will be making two mirrored pieces. Use one 6 1/2 by 40 1/2 as a base and nail one 1 1/2 by 40 1/2 to one side and the other 1 1/2 by 40 1/2 to the other side. Then Nail one of the 1 1/2 by 6 1/2 to one side and the other 1 1/2 by 6 1/2 to the other. The end result will be a rectangle box. You will then repeat that until you have two identical pieces. After they are nailed run wood glue where the wood meets. Then let sit for an hour or two.
Step 5: More wood cutting and assembling
After the wood glue has set its time to add the walls inside the case. We need another piece of wood thats 40 1/2 inches long by 1 1/2 inches tall. This will be the wood that divides the case into the cue section and ball section. After you have the wood cut to size, place it in the middle of the case and nail it into place then wood glue it. Then you will need to cut a small piece of wood to place after the cue. wood glue and nail it aswell. Then you will need to cut 15 pieces of wood for the ball dividers. 1 1/2 inches high by 3ish inches long. You will need to measure the distance from the center division wall to the outter case wall then make your 15 ball division walls based on those measurments. After they are cut and sanded, space them 2 1/2 inches apart from each other on the case. Nail and wood glue them. I used hot glue to hold them in place before nailing. You will then need another small wood piece to make the cue ball division wall. see the picture for that.
Step 6: Felting.
Now it is time to felt the case inside and out. I bought felt that has a pattern on one side and flat black on the other. I used the flat black to felt the outside of the case then I used the pattern side to felt the inside. Felting the case is an easy step that can get complicated quickly. Cut the felt, now when cutting the felt it is the same as when cutting the wood. Cut some extra just incase. It is okay to cut the felt longer than it would be to make the felt longer if you cut it too short. Use the e600 glue to combine the fabric to the wood. Then cut the excess felt. I used staples to hold the felt in place until the glue dried. I also used rubber gloves to protect myself from the glue. Don't felt the inside of the top case just yet!
When felting the ball section you have to consider the height of the inside walls.
Step 7: The sponges
This is where the sponges come in. we need to line the top of the case with the sponges so when the case is closed the sponges will form to the shape of the pool balls and push on them to hold them in place. If you don't add the sponges you will have too much room and the balls will rattle around when carrying. You don't need to cover the enitre top of the case but just enough. I used 14 to cover from one end to the next. FIrst you will need to cut about half an inch off of the sponges then hot glue them as even as you can across the top of the case.
Step 8: Now felt the top.
After the sponges are glued to the top you can go ahead and felt the inside of the top case. Line up, cut and glue! ...And trim the excess felt
Step 9: Adding the hardware
This step requires two hinges a handle, and a clasp/locking piece of hardware. I slavaged a clasp and a handle from an old cue case and I obtained two nice hinges from a shelf/cabinet. Put the case together and screw the hinges on and the clasp. Then mount the handle. Use small screws that won't peak through the wood on the other side, or cut away at the screws if they do peak through.
Step 10: Cue/shaft divider
The cue and shaft divivder prevents the two pieces of the cue stick from hitting each other while carrying. I took the divider from an old pool cue case and added the new felt then hot glued it into place. Don't nail or use the e600 on the cue divider. You want this part to move around a bit. You want to place the divider in the the middle of the cue section.
Step 11: Finished.
You are now done! Clean up the case with a lint roller and trim any excess felt then pack it up with pool balls, your cue, chalk and extras and carry it on down to the pool hall!