Hello again everyone!
I present to you the processes I followed to create a trophy for my office's fantasy football league.
Step 1: What You'll Need
Woods of your choice. I chose Maple and Mahogany
1/4-20 threaded rod, washer, nut & threaded insert
Finish. I chose tung oil
Step 2: Design
The design process starts with google. I found some dimensions on the internet of the real Lombardi Trophy but they were very limited. Since the only dimensions I could find were the radius of curvature and the top and bottom of the pedestal (3.5" and 11.7" respectively), the width at the top and bottom (3.25" and 6.1875" respectively) and the height at 19" inclined 2.6 degrees I made a CAD model with Sketchup to give me all of the other dimensions I would need to make a bending form tool to make the pedestal. Specifically, each "Rib" in the bending form tool I needed the radius of curvature and the center height.
Step 3: Making the Bending Form Tool for the Pedestal
It all starts by tilting the band saw table to the angle we found, 2.6, when designing. Using my circle cutting jig I set the pivot points to each radius I determined when designing. The rib is cut to right height that was determined during design.
Initially the form tool ribs were not perfect so their heights were fine tuned on the sander until a consistent and uniform curve could be verified with a straight edge.
Step 4: Steam Bending
I found a cheap wall paper steamer on Amazon to help bend the wood. I also needed to build a steam box to put the wood pieces in to steam them.
The wood pieces were maple cut to 6" X 20" X 1/8" thick.
Each piece would steam for about 10 minutes then I would use spring clamps to hold it to the form shape for 10 minutes while the next piece was steaming. After cooling for 10 minutes on the form tool it was moved to some clamps that kept pressure on them to retain their shape.
These didn't need to be perfect because the next step two pieces would be glued together in the form tool so this was just a "pre-form"
Step 5: Building the Pedestal
I let the pieces dry overnight before gluing and clamping two of the pre-formed sides together to lock in the shape. After drying for about an hour the next side was glued up and the next an hour after that.
After all three sides are glued I use double stick tape and strategically placed clamps to hold the pedestal side vertically on the form tool and push it through the table saw with the blade set to 60 degrees. This created the perfect angle when all three sides are glued together.
A block plane is used to trim the rough edges of the cuts prior to gluing all three sides together.
The form tool is used one last time to hold the pedestal at the correct angle so the bottom can be sanded flat and perpendicular to the center line of the pedestal.
Step 6: Having a Ball!
I got a great deal on some 3" X 3" mahogany which worked out perfectly since the diameter of the football is about 6" so I glued up four pieces to start.
I cut the corners off to make turning easier then using an actual football as a reference I turned the football shape. I also cut out a template with the desired shape to check & make sure the ball was symmetrical and the correct curve.
Step 7: Seams and Lacing
The ball is taped up to protect it while the next few steps are done.
The glue seams made a perfect layout line for the groves that will be filed and sanded to make the rounded shape of the sewn seams of the ball.
Next are the lacing. I used the same 1/8" thick maple I used making the pedestal 1st shaping the long laces to round and make a groove for the double stitch and then it's glued on using CA glue.
The cross lace profile is a triple layer of the 1/8" with a grove to fit over the long lace. The outer profile is rounded on the sander and the inside profile is shaped with the ball itself and a strip of sandpaper. Because the diameter where the laces fall are different the cross lace is sanded in the same position relative to the diameter so there's a nice tight fir to the ball.
Step 8: Tung Oil Finish and Mounting Insert
Now that all the detail work is done everything is sanded to a 220 grit and 4 coats of Tung oil is brushed on.
To create the mounting point the ball is held at a 45 degree angle and a countersink hole is drilled in a position where the axis of the hole would go through the center of the ball. This makes sure the ball will stay balanced on the pedestal. A smaller diameter hole is drilled for a threaded insert.
Step 9: Mounting the Ball to the Pedestal
A threaded rod is screwed into the ball and through the pedestal. Spacers have been glued in the pedestal to keep the rod centered.
Everything is hung from the rod upside down so it's easier to scribe a line onto the pedestal where the two will intersect. This only provides a rough "coped" joint so there is a ton of filing and sanding by hand and with a dremel tool to refine the joint until it matched perfectly. It probably took at least a dozen re-checks and test fits before it was good to go.
A small base was made so there will be a place for at least 16 league champions. If the league lasts longer than that someone will have to add another layer like the Stanley cup.
Step 10: The Final Touch
The final touch is a NFL emblem to match the real trophy, Some more 1/8" maple was used and the lines were carved using a CNC router with a V bit.
Everything was finished with four coats of Tung oil and assembly is just a simple threaded rod, washer and nut.
Step 11: The Final Product
I was inspired be searching the internet and seeing what other cool things people have made. I always try to add a little something extra. Hopefully someone will see this and make something even cooler. I hope you enjoyed.
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