For our second wood lathe skill builder, we made foosball players. I’m not going to lie: initially this one worried me. I really didn’t see how I could make anything interesting. I was happy with how my last project turned out, but there wasn’t much detail to it. This time around, I wanted to make something that resembled an plausible player (I had an idea for a potbellied man), but wasn’t confident that I could pull it off.
I got close.
Here’s how it went…
For this project, I returned to the log of firewood Ben had given us for our first lathe skill builder. It was the perfect length, so I was willing to look past how soft it is. I probably shouldn’t have made this decision, but c’est la vie.
Per usual, the first step was to knock down the corners of the firewood and to round it for the rest of my work. I’ve gotten the hang of using the gouge chisel, so this went pretty quickly.
With my piece material ready, I shifted my attention to working with two classmates on a jig for drilling holes into my player. We took an extra piece of wood my classmate Rita had on hand, rounded half of it and then slimmed down the bottom until it was slightly smaller in diameter than the lathe banjo (where the tool rest is mounted).
I took a break after creating our jig to test out the lathe’s jaw chuck since I hadn’t used it before. I’ll have to find a real use for it in a future project.
Back on track, I lined up the jig with my un-sculpted piece to drill two holes: a big one for the center rod already on the Foosball table, and a smaller one for mounting screws.
I locked the head stock in place as shown by Ben to make sure my piece didn’t start turning while drilling into it.
With the center rod hole drilled, it was time to drill the mounting screw holes. I flipped the jig 90 degrees, made sure the pre-drilled holes were aligned, and drilled into my piece.
The next day, so many of my classmates wanted to use the wood lather that my classmate Rita made a signup sheet.
Some were caught off guard by the efficiency of the system.
When it was my turn to use the lathe (hours later), I was ready. Perviously, I had sketched out some details for my player. I mounted my piece between the head and tail stock and started subtracting material based on the increasingly hard to discern markings.
I used the big and small round head chisels and the little skew chisel for the rounded and tapered parts of player, and the large round head to reduce the size of the joint connecting the piece to scrap sacrificial material. Sadly, while doing this last part, I took off too much material and the entire base broke off, leaving my player footless.
I used wood glue to reattach the foot to the piece and let it sit over night wedged between the jaws of a vice.
The next morning with the glue dried, I cut the sacrificial material off of the piece and hammered a nail through through the base into the character itself. this ensured a durable connection between the foot piece that broke off and the rest of the character.
Lastly, I applied a couple coats of wood finish to give my character a darker color.
That night, Ben helped us put our players on the foosball table. It went smoothly for some of us, and not so smoothly for the rest. Some players broke while being added, while others simply didn’t have wide enough holes.
here’s a close up of my little guy ready for the big game. Amazingly, he didn’t break, despite all of those cracks all over him.
And here is the final game table! Look at all of those beautiful hand-made players. A job well done, if I do say so myself.