General contractor Tom Silva takes us on a house call. He meets a father to help him finish a case for his son’s championship baseball bat. The case needs a glass-front door and a way to mount the bat, and Tom has a few ideas.
How To Build Your Own Baseball Bat Display Case
- The first step in building your own baseball bat display case is to find or construct a basic box for the bat and any commemorative items. Since baseball bats, balls, pins, medals, and trophies all vary in shape and size, this box will be largely custom.
- Measure the box’s length and width. Since the joints will be mitered and the case’s door will sit flush, simply measure from side to side and top to bottom.
- Install a chamfer bit in the router or router table and carefully chamfer the edges of the white oak board on both sides. Only chamfer the top edge of the board as the bottom of the board (the part that will sit against the box) should be square.
- Raise the blade on the table saw to approximately ¼-inch from the height of the table saw. Adjust the saw fence so it’s ½-inch from the inside of the blade. Holding the board on edge, pass the white oak board over the blade to create a dado for the glass pane to sit in.
- Adjust the saw’s fence to the desired frame width and cut the boards to width on the table saw.
- Place dabs of CA glue on one board, and spray the other board with an activator, ensuring that the chamfered edges are in the same direction. Stack the boards on top of each other so they are square and flush.
- Set the miter saw’s angle to 45 degrees. Transfer the measurements taken from the box to the boards. Mark the outside edges (the non-rabbeted sides) with these measurements, and cut the boards to length at these locations. The marks represent the longest side of the miter so take care to get the angle correct.
- Separate the boards and place them on a flat work surface. Assemble the mitered corners, pre-drill, and screw through the frame in all four corners. Lay the door on the box and check for fitment.
- Lightly sand the frame with the random orbit sander and 120-grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface. Stain the frame to match the box, using as many coats as necessary to achieve the desired finish, and allow it to dry.
- Remove the screws on one end of the frame and remove the piece of the frame. Slide the glass pane into the dado before replacing the board and screws.
- Lay the door on top of the box so it is flush on all four corners. Make corresponding marks on both the door and box with a pencil and painter’s tape. With the biscuit jointer’s height set to ½-inch, cut biscuit slots into the case and back of the door frame using those locations for reference.
- Slide the Quick Biscuits into the slots (this may require tapping with a hammer and punch). Align the biscuits in the door with the biscuits in the box and push down to snap them into place.
- Cut the dowels to length (approximately 1-inch) and carefully drill holes through their centers. Drill two corresponding holes through the back of the display case so they’ll land on the bat’s barrel. Place the screws through the back of the case, slide the dowel over the threads, and take note of where the points of the screws touch the bat when aligned properly. Carefully pre-drill the bat and screw the bat to the case.
Tom works with a homeowner to finish building a custom case to display his son’s commemorative championship bat and pins. Tom measures the case to help him determine how thick to make the rails and stiles. He uses a table saw to cut the stiles to match the length of the case and cuts the two rails to fit in between the stiles.
Using a domino joiner and wood glue he joins the stiles and rails, then clamps the frame so the glue can dry. He uses an orbital sander to smooth the frame.
To set the glass he makes a few passes around the inner frame using a router and a rabbit bit, then lays the glass in the routed space. Before securing the glass Tom drills holes for the hinges. He uses glass clips and screws to secure the glass in the frame. To mount the pat and pin inside the case he uses screws to give them a floating look.
- CA glue and activator
- 1x4 white oak board (or other species)
- Brass screws
- Glass pane
- Quick biscuits
- Painter’s tape