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200+ Wine Bottle balancers #1: Wine bottle balancers for the wedding

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Blog entry by CueballRosendaul posted 09-07-2012 04:31 PM 5590 reads 24 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of 200+ Wine Bottle balancers series Part 2: DONE! »

About 10 years ago, I made a batch of those wine bottle balance pieces for Christmas presents. When my step daughter was here, talking about gifts for the guests who make the long drive to her wedding, I suggested these would be pretty nice. I was thinking like 1 for each couple, so maybe I’d be in for 50 or so pieces. Her first request was for 275 pieces! DOH! She later downsized it to 125, but I already had lumber cut for 200+ so she’s getting about 175 and I’m keeping the rest for other giveaways and maybe an art/craft show next year.

We started by planing maple, cherry, and walnut, along with some other random scraps down to 3/4” thickness. Then they were ripped to 3” widths. I ran these long lengths through the router to put the 1/4” roundover on the edges before cutting them down. I kept track of how many pieces I could get out of each piece by writing it on the end of the board

Before cutting into the double ended pieces, we rough sanded them to remove any lines and chatter marks from the planer. The wife helped in this process.

I then cut them to length as a double ended piece so I wouldn’t lose any material on the miter end and only had to make one cut. It was much easier to drill them as a double also. Less handling, more drilling.

Here’s the fixture I made for drilling the holes. It aint pretty but it allowed for 90% of the chips to go to the shop vac and held them in place for a nice clean hole. I made sure to drill from the face, so if there was any tear out, it would be on the back of the piece.

Here they are all cut and drilled, ready to head next door to Jeff’s shop for the engraving

Jeff (Not a LJ here yet, but more worthy than many of us!) has a Shark CNC router that we used to engrave different quotes on the holders. There were four different quotes she requested, and I made a few more up as I went along.

It took about 5 minutes to engrave each one, so as they were being engraved, I finish sanded them. Returning to my shop, I cleaned up the engraving with a scrub brush to remove any fibers, blew them out with the compressor, and stained them with various stains, mostly Early American because I have a whole gallon of it left over from my hardwood floors.

Here is the template piece I made with the dimensions. I’m a big believer in making a mock-up piece out of pine before building anything final. That’s especially important when you’re making 200 pieces. I was terrified that I’d get them all done and they wouldn’t balance!

When I modified the original design that I had made 10 years ago, I sent Jackie a short video to show her the difference in the new design. I’ll try to upload it here. (my first blog and first video upload) You can see that the original design, while neat looking because it holds the bottle perfectly horizontal, is very tippy and a little tricky to set up. The new design is super simple to set up, and to make. The video may not have loaded properly, I’ll either try again, or you’ll have to take my word for it!

I still need to finish them this weekend. Planning on spraying a water based poly (also left over from my hardwood floor job). I’ll post an update when I get this step done, as well as some nice close up shots of the finished pieces.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.



9 comments so far

View Sailor's profile

Sailor

534 posts in 1987 days


#1 posted 09-07-2012 04:53 PM

Wow! That’s quite a bit! Saved your step daughter some $$$ though and everyone will get a super cool gift.

If you having trouble getting the video uploaded and posted I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have to get it going. I’m no expert, but I have a fair amount of experience and knowledge. PM me if you’d like.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! http://woodworkingtrip.blogspot.com/ Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SailingAndSuch

View clieb91's profile

clieb91

3300 posts in 2657 days


#2 posted 09-08-2012 11:42 AM

Talk about a large quantity production run. Nicely done. Its great that your neighbor has that router. I would love to see the size of the lettering that it can produce as I have been pushing around getting something like that or a Laser engraver.
Congrats to your step-daughter.

CtL

-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- PortablePastimes.com (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Kookaburra's profile

Kookaburra

748 posts in 947 days


#3 posted 09-08-2012 12:18 PM

Very nice wedding favors. What were the quotes your step daughter choose? My sister is getting married in a week – at a winery and this would have been a great idea. (I am NOT going to show this to her at this late date though)

And, I must comment on your lovely wife working BARE FOOTED in the shop. I am sure you know better!

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View davidroberts's profile

davidroberts

1003 posts in 2208 days


#4 posted 09-08-2012 11:52 PM

Engraving 200+ wine bottle balancers is just outrageous!!! I guess making 200+ from scratch, cutting, drilling sanding, staining, finish sanding… ain’t to shabby either. You’ve inspired me to start saving now for my daughter’s wedding, some day.

-- God is great, wood is good. Let us thank Him for wood......and old hand tools.

View CueballRosendaul's profile

CueballRosendaul

300 posts in 863 days


#5 posted 09-09-2012 11:44 AM

Thanks all. I’ll get some final pics up later today. I have about 60 to go with the spray poly (which is going VERY well). I may have to do a review of the HVLP sprayer I bought.

Kay, I think she has flip flops on. It was 90 and humid. Normally if I keep the shop closed up it stays really cool in there but we were making a lot of dust.

Chris, I’ll get some close ups of the lettering and my two cents on the machine. I think Jeff signed up here at LJ so perhaps he can give a full review soon.

Dothan, thanks for the offer. I may take you up on it. I think the problem was file size too large.

Dave, yes, outrageous. Keep in mind the when I made the offer I thought I was in for 50 or so. Dads just get it done.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View Alexandre's profile

Alexandre

1417 posts in 913 days


#6 posted 09-09-2012 11:57 AM

Just… WOW.
Now, Is your drill bit, planer knives, tablesaw blade and router bits(including the cnc ones) blunt?

-- My terrible signature...

View CueballRosendaul's profile

CueballRosendaul

300 posts in 863 days


#7 posted 09-09-2012 12:06 PM

The forstner bit needs sharpened again, I had to touch it up with a diamond hone a couple times during the process, and now it needs a total workover. The 60 degree engraving bit is probably in Jeff’s trash can. Especially from the maple. It was hard maple originally intended for a cue maker for shaft wood.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View Alexandre's profile

Alexandre

1417 posts in 913 days


#8 posted 09-09-2012 12:08 PM

LOL.
And for the planer knives?
Do you want a article that I have in finewoodworking on how to sharpen a forstner?

-- My terrible signature...

View CueballRosendaul's profile

CueballRosendaul

300 posts in 863 days


#9 posted 09-09-2012 12:23 PM

I think I have an article somewhere. I have a collection of FWW, FHB, Shopnotes, etc I read it years ago and sharpened most of mine They’re a really cheap set that was bad from the start but now work much better. I paid $40 bucks for a set of 20 or so at Harbor Freight. At first I considered them “sacrificial” but they’ve performed very well. For this project, I did go to the Woodcraft store and spend $40 on one nice bit however.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

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