Introduction: Looking Glass...looking Back

About: Married father of 5 (4 boys and 1 girl). A Captain in the Fire Department with over 25 years of service. Grew up turning wrenches at my fathers garage. That turned into a love of building things with my hands.
I wanted something for my sons to have to remember their childhood play fort. It was up for years and they loved it.

Step 1: Goodbye Childhood Play Fort...

So when I took down the kids fort last year my boys were kinda sad. Mostly Eric (my middle) though. As I was stacking up the old wood Eric saw one of the main support beams. On that beam I had carved in their names and the year we built it. He asked if I could save it. He's sentimental like that. So I did. It sat out back for months. Last week I got a little inspiration on what to do with it. So here it is. The photo is of the three of them around the same time. Give or take a year. It's the only one I could find...

Step 2: Drill Out the Center.

I used a 2 1/8 Forstner bit to drill out the center. This took awhile.

Step 3: The Image and the Lens.

I had an old camera lens lying around. That's where the inspiration came from for this. Once the beam was drilled out I cut it in half. I then created a plastic "connector" with some scrap plastic sheeting I had. This allowed me to bond the lens and this old firehose coupling I had. I thought the brass hose coupling and the dark wood would look good together. Give it classic look. Plus, nobody would be pushing their face up to the wood. The image was printed on transparent printing paper and sandwiched between two pieces of plexiglass and cut into a circle.

Step 4: The Finish..

I clamped a square on my bench vise and placed the image on the vise. I moved the lens up and down until it looked clear. I looked at the square and that gave me the proper distance measurement to mount the lens and the photo. I then glued the two pieces together and clamped over night. I added some thin oak to the top to make it look better (cover up the seams). Stained and done.