It turns out that my local neighborhood bar happens to be a Whole Foods. Not sure how prevalent this is around the country, but the Potrero Hill location has what they call a "Steep & Brew"... it's a coffeeshop, plus a beer and wine bar. And it's now my local because they actually have one of the best seasonal, limited release, and microbrew selections around. You can order hot food from a computer kiosk. And to top it all off, they have a 2/3s size shuffleboard table tucked in the back.
Now I'm not a huge shuffleboard fanatic, but it's something fun to do while enjoying hoppy libations. Except we've been having to use a high-top chair as a table to set down our beers as we play because there are no other surfaces convenient to the shuffleboard table. I've also had a long standing fascination with 'renegade' placement of things in both public and private places, and to see how people react to (or if they even notice) them.
On a whim one afternoon in the shop I decided to remedy this situation with a renegade drink holder which I would surreptitiously install on their shuffleboard table. Obviously it had to be discreet and well-built, and ideally would blend in with the table in order to stay there. So let's get building!
Step 1: Let's See What Spare Material We Have in the Shop
I had a feeling that PlyBoo would be a good choice for this task; it's a really pretty plywood made of layers of bamboo. There are a bunch of scraps around the Pier, and it has a nice "finished" look without having to go to too much effort as well as really cool edges. It would also blend in nicely with the surface of the shuffleboard table.
On an earlier mission I had already measured the width of the shuffleboard table edge, so I just needed a hanger of about 1-3/8" and a box big enough to hold a few pints.
With my trusty ruler in hand, I started placing and cutting scraps and basically freehanded the design. No need for the CNC here, just the chop saw and the trusty SawStop table saw.
Step 2: Glue-up, Stapling, and Clamping
Ok. So the "freehanding everything" idea meant that I had some wood that marginally fit together, wasn't true, and needed some adjustments, but it was workable. You can't plane PlyBoo because it is quite strong and bad on the blades, so I was going to have to work around one particularly warped piece and just try to torque the box into square.
On another day in a parallel universe I probably would have re-cut some of these pieces, but it's amazing what you can do with a pneumatic stapler and some clamps. Using TiteBond 3 and 1-1/4" staples the box went together in no time.
I gave the top hook which would rest around the edge of the table a little extra glue, staples, and clamp time. It's not gusseted or blocked, so I wanted to make sure this joint was strong. Fortunately, it doesn't have to hold much wait so this should be sufficient.
Step 3: Filling Staple Holes and Sanding
I decided to try the old "glue and sawdust" trick on the staple holes, as you can see above. This actually fills the holes and sands down fairly nicely. It only takes a little bit of 220 grit on a palm sander to knock down the glue smarm and make this a passable backfill.
To clean it up a little, I also went ahead and rounded over the sharp edges and fixed any overhangs with the bench sander.
Step 4: Cheeky Laser Etching
To push things a little further, I decided to customize this box with a laser-etched dedication to the Potrero Hill Whole Foods. One of my friends and I made up a shuffleboard variant called "Watermelon", so I might as well throw a reference to that in also and see if anyone pays attention. (spoiler alert: no one pays attention)
Here the box is covered in masking tape so that the sap and flash burn from the laser doesn't mar the wooden face. Far less cleanup to do later with this method. Having to use a needle tool to pull off all of the tiny bits of tape from the O's, P's, etc is the only downside.
Step 5: Then a Nice Finishing Coat...
Danish Oil looks awesome on PlyBoo. It gives it a nice warm glow, is dead simple to apply, and it will give it a little protection from moisture.
Just flood the piece and rub it on with a lint-free cloth, come back 15 minutes later or so and rub any puddles off, then wait for it to dry.
Step 6: And... Action!
Now to just bring it in to the bar, install it on the table, and carry on like it's always been there.
Though the hook could have been a touch narrower, It securely holds three pint glasses or four to five of the pictured tulip glasses.
Now for the reactions: One bartender walked by to change a keg, took a look at our drinks in there, and said "well, I guess you can use it for that". Apparently she wasn't the only one that thought it was meant to store the wax and pucks for the game because when we sat down to have a quick sandwich another staff member walked up and cleaned up the table, placing everything in the box.
A third staff member walked by, paused, and told us "huh, I haven't seen that before... they must have gotten it yesterday or something".
None of them stopped to notice or read the inscription, nor did they associate it with my friend who was losing the game and standing next to me in double-penalty mode wearing a hamburglar mask and a watermelon bike helmet.
Great success! Rack one point up for improving other people's stuff without permission.