Hey guys, Joseph Kelly here. This week we're building a custom putter. So without wasting your time, let's get into the article. Let's go!
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Step 1: Step 1
To start on this project, I want to work with something that I already had in my reservoir, so I tapped into my ever-growing pile of scrap wood in my workshop. After finding a couple of pieces of Walnut that would work well, I then threw everything on my bandsaw. Now I'm using the bandsaw specifically to break everything down into workable pieces, general shapes that are been cut off from previous projects kind of messed with your mind. So I just need to visualize exactly what I had. Once I broke the pieces down the way I wanted them, I started creating more of this matchbook or a mirror image of each other. So I taped the two pieces together and I cleaned it up again on my bandsaw.
Step 2: Step 2
Now that I had this rough canvas that I'm working with, the next mission is to create two chambers that would be carrying the weights of the putter. So I created a line down the bottom and then made two incision points where I would take my Forstner bit and bore out holes on the top and the bottom side of this putter head. Once the holes are board out, I then needed to find some weights. So I didn't want to buy any beads or any kind of led, so I decided to use some of the big heavy duty lug nuts that I had laying around the house anyways. Well, I don't think they're lug nuts, I just think they're just a regular basic lag bolt nuts, but anyway, they worked so perfectly. Once everything was closed up, I was now ready to glue them all in.
For the glue I'm using Gorilla Glue. It's my first time using it on a project. It worked okay. I still prefer the 5-Minute Epoxy specifically for the time and at the same time when the Gorilla Glue settles, it cures into this frothy-based thing, which I'm not a big fan of. I do this every single time. I buy a box of gloves so my hands don't get messy and then I forget mid project that I have a box of gloves. Let's go.
Step 3: Step 3
After ensuring a nice glue up, I clamped it overnight and did not touch it. They say you can work on it after like two hours, but I didn't want any glue to get on my bandsaw blades. I just wanted to be safe. While it was drying, this gave me the perfect time to work on the golf shaft itself, the ranges go between like 35 inches tall and 40 inches. I'm a tall dude so I kind of used 37 inches tall. I needed 160 degree angle at the bottom, so I used my metal cutting setup, which is the Ridgid MegaMax. It's the new one, 18 volt brushless with the octane boost powered battery. The whole setup with a Diablo metal cutting blade. Great metal cutting setup if you don't have anything yet.
Step 4: Step 4
Now, once that was done, I laid out my template to my existing putter to make sure everything is the way it's supposed to come from a factory. Then I ensured that it's ready to go and I got my welder out. The welder that I use is just a MIG welder. It has argon gas to help and then I just cleaned all the weld perfectly, lay down good beads and then used my angle grinder to make a nice flush presentable and pretty.
Step 5: Step 5
Now for the handle I used the same scrap pieces. I chopped it down about 16 inches long on my miter station and then ripped it down the middle to create two mirror images of each other. And now I found the middle of it, and then here's the tricky part. You have to create a channel in the middle to fit the shaft in. So I used a router, it's a carbide tip woodcarving tool and free-handed this half inch wide channel that will go down the middle. Once I found a nice good fit, I laid down some of the Gorilla Glue and then I clamped this piece together. Again, let it sit overnight. Don't be a hero. Just that way it will be far more enjoyable to work with.
Step 6: Step 6
After I let it sit overnight, I removed all the clamps after everything was dry and I need to start squaring this puppy up, so I put one side on the belt sander to create a nice even side and then put it on the table saw to create a nice parallel matching side. Once I had two matching sides, I then put it on the miter station to square it up for its final dimension. Now that I had this beautiful little square canvas to work with, I now decided to draw the pattern that I wanted. I kept it sharp, slick, kind of futuristic. I had a lot of fun doing so. Now down the middle on the side, I created a tape around my bandsaw. Now, this might not be the safest way to do it because I already cut the bottom parts off, but be mindful, be careful and find smarter ways to do this. I'm just glad I have my fingers.
Typically to taper or miter any kind of edge, you'd have to use a router bed, but because this is not a flat surface, that's not really an option. So I have to do everything by hand using a hand rasp, and it's the same thing as the Burr. It's just a carbide tip flat surface that allows for me to kind of carve away wood like butter. Little spoiler. It gets really addicting very fast.
Step 7: Step 7
So I really wanted to deck this putter head out with some bling, so I picked up the steel 16 gauge plate from my local home depot. I trimmed the corners with these sheers and then rounded them over on an abrasive pad. Once everything was done, because steel tends to bend, I used a little tapping hammer to flatten out any areas that kind of bent a little bit out of shape because of how thin it is. And then I traced the area where it would be seated, kind of having a place for everything and then once everything was done, I was getting ready to start carving everything out. To bore out the seats for the steel plates, I basically took my palm router and I bordered out about one to two 16th of an inch seat for everything. Take your time, go slow and the parts where I couldn't fit the router in, I just used a little rotary tool with a cutting attachment and free-handed everything out. This created a really cool pattern that I think for the next time I'll probably make a cool decorative piece like this.
Step 8: Step 8
Now that everything's prepped and ready to go, I switched over to the 5-Minute Epoxy because it's something that I've used before. Now my technique here is put the epoxy down, put the tape. Now the tape is to prevent too much squeeze out, and then each plate gets its own small clamp. Don't put too much pressure on the clamp for two reasons. Number one, you'll bend the plate. Number two, you'll squeeze out all the epoxy that's needed to work as glue. Take your time. Trust me. Also, this is a messy job.
Because metal has these inconsistent tendencies with scratches and dings, I wanted to put my own finish on this golf shaft, so I took 80 grit belt sandpaper and I started working around in circles to put my own scratches and finish. Now it's even clean and really pretty. When cleaning up the epoxy, you can get away with by just using 150 grit sandpaper. Now one thing I'll tell you is take little breaks. Don't let the metal get too hot or else it will start melting the epoxy. So go slow, take breaks and be patient.
For the most part, putters usually have a 70 degree angle, so I used this metal jig to clamp everything down at 70 degrees. Bore a hole, about a half an inch deep and then pre-mix an epoxy and let the shaft settle inside the putter head. And before the glue has a chance to settle, it's a good idea to just triple check to make sure that all the angles are appropriate from the shaft to the putter head itself. And for finish, I just used the tongue oil finish. It's just a rub on application. Be sure to cover the metal as well because it's exposed raw material. And if it contacts with water without being sealed, it will react and get rusty. So be mindful of that.
Guys, I am so happy how this thing turned out. I'm going to keep improving my craft to see how much better I can make these golf clubs. I've been challenged by a few things I wasn't comfortable with like steel inlays. It was the very first time, I had a lot of fun with it and I definitely think I'm going to keep using that technique more and more. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself. Get out there. Don't be afraid to try. Get your hands dirty and learn something from it.