Introduction: Juggling Ball Storage Rack
What you'll need:
- Appropriate molding (I forget what mine is called... but it has a wide round channel cut into it perfect for holding balls)
- Wood for the sides
- Wall anchor hardware
- Woodworking tools and wood glue
- Juggling balls! (For those curious, from bottom to top: bounce balls, contact & glow balls, stage balls, vinyl balls, homemade russian-style balls [play pit balls half-filled with salt])
Step 1: Design It!
The basic concept is pretty simple; use some kind of concave molding to create angled shelving units that will securely hold your juggling props.
I went through many iterations of possible designs, initially planning to include hooks/holes for clubs and rings, or explore some sort of weave-ish aesthetics where the shelves intersected in complicated ways.
In the end, I decided to keep it simple in order to maximize the available storage and let the balls shine through. It's important at this stage to use graph paper and actually draw to scale in order to take into account how much clearance you want for each shelf, as well as the amount of wood you'll need to produce a particular design.
Once you're happy with your design, go buy the wood (always get a bit more than you think you'll need) and do a bit more testing/figuring to determine the optimal parameters. I tested out the angle I had in mind and the rough size of the final product with the setups shown in the pictures. Everything looked stable and appropriately sized, time to start cutting!
Step 2: Chop Chop
My design called for every piece to be cut at around 9 degrees. I set up the chop saw and cut pairs of molding at the appropriate lengths for each shelf, then cut the side pieces to size.
I assembled the pieces with some juggling balls as a dry-fit test along the way.
Step 3: Glue and Clamp the Shelves
This was the hardest part of the project. Gluing end-grain to end-grain is really not a good idea for strength, but I wanted to have a clean look. Since the whole thing (loaded) weighs about 10lbs, I'm hoping that it will hold up to the minimal stress of its own weight over time. That being said, I'd encourage you to consider putting in some reinforcement pieces or use biscuits or something if you have the time.
To begin with, I glued each pair of shelf pieces together. In order to clamp them together, I cut out some pieces of scrap wood at the same 9 degree angles on the chop saw. I basically wanted a convex point to sit the pieces against, and a concave area for securing the clamps. Since I couldn't cut the concave part properly with the chop saw, I just cut straight through and used an off-cut piece as a spacer to bring the edges parallel again.
First, one piece was clamped at exactly the center of the jig. Parchment paper was used to keep the wood glue from getting everywhere. The second piece was then coated in glue, pressed up against it and clamped tight while maintaining the pressure inwards towards the first piece. Look for some glue to squeeze out and stay where it is when you let go. Then wipe that off and let it dry.
Step 4: Final Assembly
Putting it all together provided some more fun clamping problems. I decided that the easiest approach would be to secure the top- and bottom-most shelves first, then fit the three center rows by pressing them downwards until they hit both sides.
The top and bottom were secured at the proper distance with the help of some spacer blocks, and 'clamped' with some rubber band rigs. Once set, I clamped the three central rows by pulling them down towards the bottoms of the side pieces. I had some imperfect fits, where the shelves were slightly twisted and wouldn't fully contact the sides. Rather than sand them and possibly disturb the even spacing of the rows, I just snuck some thin little shims of wood covered in glue into the gaps. This thing is not built to code.
Another point to mention is that I built this to sit flush against a wall. In order to have enough room for the largest balls, I did not attach the rows to the center of the side pieces. As you can see, all of the pieces in these pictures are touching the ground. Not only was this easier for gluing, it also meant that the shelves of the final product are spaced as far from the wall as possible.
Step 5: Stain and Mount!
I finished mine with some 2-in-1 stain and sealer, just to give it a nicer color. I then fixed two screw-in hooks to either side for hanging. Since the whole thing weighs about 10 lbs, I went with some regular "50#" drywall picture hanging anchors.
That's it! A custom storage solution for displaying your juggling props in a secure and accessible manner. Thanks for looking!
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