Introduction: Turning a Wooden Foosball Player


One of the Foosball players broke on our table recently and I figured I'd try something a little different: turn a wooden Foosball player on the lathe.

This little guy may not be regulation, but he sure does look sweet.

Note: this Instructable is for people who are familiar and comfortable with the lathe.  Do not attempt this if you have never used the lathe before.  And always wear eye protection and a dust mask when operating power tools.

You'll need a lathe, a power sander, a wood blank (I used walnut), sand paper, and a drill press.

Step 1: Wooden Blank

I used 2" x 2" walnut stock, I bought it from Woodcraft.  I think maple or cherry would work just as well.

The overall length of the broken player I had was about 4.25" long.  So I cut the blank to 6" long to give extra material on both ends.

I recommend using square stock that is pretty close to square, it makes the next step easier. 

Step 2: Drill Holes

Make a mark around the wooden blank at about 2/3 of the length.  Find the center of the mark on one face and drill a 1/8" through hole using the drill press.  Flip the blank 90 degrees, find the center of the mark on this face and drill a 5/8" through hole using the drill press.  For this hole I used a Forstner bit to ensure a clean hole.

Note: If you are making one of these for a particular table, you should double check the measurements of your table's rods and mounting screws before you drill the holes.  You want the player to have a tight fit on the rod.

Step 3: Turn on the Lathe

Mount the wood blank to the lathe.  I used a chuck but a mounting plate will work as well.  Turn the blank round.

I eyeballed most of the measurements for this guy, but there are a few you will need to make sure are correct.  The distance from the center of the holes you drilled to the bottom of the player has to be 2.75" ( I based this off of the broken player).  And the size of the bottom of the player should be .88" tall and .9" diam (again, I based these off of the broken player).

The rest of the form can be up to you, I found it helpful to use the actual Foosball player as a reference. 

When the turning is done, sand it with 220, then 400, then 600 grit sandpaper. 

Then cut off the excess using a small saw.

Step 4: Sand and Shape the End

This is where I took the most liberties.  Using a power sander, I shaped the form of the bottom of the player.  I was constantly referencing the broken player I had, trying to match the form.  This is by no means perfect or regulation, I just tried to get close enough.

Step 5: Add Finish

I applied a couple of coats of Tung oil and then a carnauba wax finish.  This tends to look really great on walnut and is easy to apply with a clean rag. 

Now I just need to make another 21 of these guys to fill out a table.

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