Quick project with an old set of pool balls

jokrswylde

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I love going up to JOB Billiards in Nashville. I love the history of the place, the '70's vibe, seeing the pictures of Fats, Miz, Massey, and all the other greats that have played there. One of the things that caught my eye were old the pool ball scorers hanging on the wall.

Today was the last day before Christmas break, so I had no students, nothing to do, and an entire shop to myself. Instead of using whole balls, like at JOB's, I decided I wanted to try a different idea and cut the balls in half. First thing I had to do was create a jig to hold the balls securely in a vise. Then I clamped the jig in a vise and used a radial arm saw to cut each ball in half.

**Side note about cutting pool balls, it is a nasty messy business, and the dust smells and tastes toxic! After the second ball, I had to get a fresh air mask. Also, I was eyeballing these, as I didn't have the time to properly measure and mark each ball. I first tried using a band saw, but it was much more hassle than the radial arm.
20201218_092602.jpg


Then I used a 3" belt sander to remove any burrs and try to level out each half. This was by far the most time consuming part.
20201218_092634.jpg



Next it was on the the drill press. I used a 9/32 bit to match some metal rod I had laying around the shop. I messed up the first few balls because my spindle speed was way too low. Once I adjusted the belts to a faster speed, the process went much smoother. Again, eye protection and a mask are essential here.


20201218_092721.jpg


Then I threaded the rod through to check and make sure everything was looking good. (Up until this point, everything has been eye-balled)


20201218_093326.jpg

Then I had some fun tearing apart an old pallet for the "bones" of the project.

20201218_094555.jpg


I wanted the frame to keep the overall feel of an old coca-cola crate I have hanging on the wall of my man cave. Not sure I will use pallet wood if I do this project again. Frame was stuck together with wood glue and wire nails.

20201218_103504.jpg


You can maybe finally get an idea of where this is going :)

20201218_111157.jpg


And the holes for the rod drilled, and the whole thing assembled. Now just to decide how I want to secure the metal rods. Then it is a good once over with the sander and a decision on the finish. I may let my 16 year old paint and distress it, or I may opt for a simple stain job. Any suggestions?

20201218_112725.jpg


Overall, I am pretty happy with the results considering, considering I flew through it in about 4 hours and I pretty much eyeballed everything. I think it will look good on the wall below my dart board. :) If I do another one of these, I will take more time on the cuts, and probably not use pallet wood. I would love some feedback/ ideas to make this project better.

Tools used: Radial arm saw, Floor mount drill press, 3" belt sander, hammer, nails, random metal rod, old pallet, pry bar, various vises and clamps, scrap wood
 

CharlesUFarley

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I like the idea. I feel like cutting the balls in half may have been more trouble than it was worth, but if you just have the one set of balls and want two sets of scoring beads, then I guess you had to.

It looks like investing more time into drilling the halves for the rod may have paid off because it looks like a couple of them are hanging on the rod a little funny. If you had been able to center the holes perfectly on the numbers it would look nice and straight etc.

I'm guessing that as they hang on the rod, they want to tilt and lean against the wood. Maybe you could put strips of a smooth material like plexiglass sheet behind the balls to support them and hold them perfectly straight, yet be invisible, if that makes sense. If you like that idea, you should get that material before you set the rods in place. It will kinda guide you to where the exact hole locations for the rods should be.

Anyway. nice job overall.
 

jokrswylde

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I like the idea. I feel like cutting the balls in half may have been more trouble than it was worth, but if you just have the one set of balls and want two sets of scoring beads, then I guess you had to.

It looks like investing more time into drilling the halves for the rod may have paid off because it looks like a couple of them are hanging on the rod a little funny. If you had been able to center the holes perfectly on the numbers it would look nice and straight etc.

I'm guessing that as they hang on the rod, they want to tilt and lean against the wood. Maybe you could put strips of a smooth material like plexiglass sheet behind the balls to support them and hold them perfectly straight, yet be invisible, if that makes sense. If you like that idea, you should get that material before you set the rods in place. It will kinda guide you to where the exact hole locations for the rods should be.

Anyway. nice job overall.
The main problem with the holes was my initial spindle speed. The slower speed allowed the bit to slide down the ball a ways before it dug in. It was much smoother once I upped the rpm's.. My original thought was that by putting the holes slightly above the numbers, it would help them hang more vertically

You cant tell it from the pic, but the balls do rest up against to prevent tilting, but I agree there are a couple the hang off line from the others.

Any suggestions on how to secure the rods? My best idea right now is to drill a hole and insert a cotter pin.
 

Tennesseejoe

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I love going up to JOB Billiards in Nashville. I love the history of the place, the '70's vibe, seeing the pictures of Fats, Miz, Massey, and all the other greats that have played there. One of the things that caught my eye were old the pool ball scorers hanging on the wall.

Today was the last day before Christmas break, so I had no students, nothing to do, and an entire shop to myself. Instead of using whole balls, like at JOB's, I decided I wanted to try a different idea and cut the balls in half. First thing I had to do was create a jig to hold the balls securely in a vise. Then I clamped the jig in a vise and used a radial arm saw to cut each ball in half.

**Side note about cutting pool balls, it is a nasty messy business, and the dust smells and tastes toxic! After the second ball, I had to get a fresh air mask. Also, I was eyeballing these, as I didn't have the time to properly measure and mark each ball. I first tried using a band saw, but it was much more hassle than the radial arm.
View attachment 578341

Then I used a 3" belt sander to remove any burrs and try to level out each half. This was by far the most time consuming part.
View attachment 578342


Next it was on the the drill press. I used a 9/32 bit to match some metal rod I had laying around the shop. I messed up the first few balls because my spindle speed was way too low. Once I adjusted the belts to a faster speed, the process went much smoother. Again, eye protection and a mask are essential here.


View attachment 578343

Then I threaded the rod through to check and make sure everything was looking good. (Up until this point, everything has been eye-balled)


View attachment 578344
Then I had some fun tearing apart an old pallet for the "bones" of the project.

View attachment 578345

I wanted the frame to keep the overall feel of an old coca-cola crate I have hanging on the wall of my man cave. Not sure I will use pallet wood if I do this project again. Frame was stuck together with wood glue and wire nails.

View attachment 578346

You can maybe finally get an idea of where this is going :)

View attachment 578347

And the holes for the rod drilled, and the whole thing assembled. Now just to decide how I want to secure the metal rods. Then it is a good once over with the sander and a decision on the finish. I may let my 16 year old paint and distress it, or I may opt for a simple stain job. Any suggestions?

View attachment 578348

Overall, I am pretty happy with the results considering, considering I flew through it in about 4 hours and I pretty much eyeballed everything. I think it will look good on the wall below my dart board. :) If I do another one of these, I will take more time on the cuts, and probably not use pallet wood. I would love some feedback/ ideas to make this project better.

Tools used: Radial arm saw, Floor mount drill press, 3" belt sander, hammer, nails, random metal rod, old pallet, pry bar, various vises and clamps, scrap wood
Get some used pool table felt. Attach it to the wood behind the balls. It will make it more realistic and the balls will stand out more.
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I love going up to JOB Billiards in Nashville. I love the history of the place, the '70's vibe, seeing the pictures of Fats, Miz, Massey, and all the other greats that have played there. One of the things that caught my eye were old the pool ball scorers hanging on the wall.

Today was the last day before Christmas break, so I had no students, nothing to do, and an entire shop to myself. Instead of using whole balls, like at JOB's, I decided I wanted to try a different idea and cut the balls in half. First thing I had to do was create a jig to hold the balls securely in a vise. Then I clamped the jig in a vise and used a radial arm saw to cut each ball in half.

**Side note about cutting pool balls, it is a nasty messy business, and the dust smells and tastes toxic! After the second ball, I had to get a fresh air mask. Also, I was eyeballing these, as I didn't have the time to properly measure and mark each ball. I first tried using a band saw, but it was much more hassle than the radial arm.
View attachment 578341

Then I used a 3" belt sander to remove any burrs and try to level out each half. This was by far the most time consuming part.
View attachment 578342


Next it was on the the drill press. I used a 9/32 bit to match some metal rod I had laying around the shop. I messed up the first few balls because my spindle speed was way too low. Once I adjusted the belts to a faster speed, the process went much smoother. Again, eye protection and a mask are essential here.


View attachment 578343

Then I threaded the rod through to check and make sure everything was looking good. (Up until this point, everything has been eye-balled)


View attachment 578344
Then I had some fun tearing apart an old pallet for the "bones" of the project.

View attachment 578345

I wanted the frame to keep the overall feel of an old coca-cola crate I have hanging on the wall of my man cave. Not sure I will use pallet wood if I do this project again. Frame was stuck together with wood glue and wire nails.

View attachment 578346

You can maybe finally get an idea of where this is going :)

View attachment 578347

And the holes for the rod drilled, and the whole thing assembled. Now just to decide how I want to secure the metal rods. Then it is a good once over with the sander and a decision on the finish. I may let my 16 year old paint and distress it, or I may opt for a simple stain job. Any suggestions?

View attachment 578348

Overall, I am pretty happy with the results considering, considering I flew through it in about 4 hours and I pretty much eyeballed everything. I think it will look good on the wall below my dart board. :) If I do another one of these, I will take more time on the cuts, and probably not use pallet wood. I would love some feedback/ ideas to make this project better.

Tools used: Radial arm saw, Floor mount drill press, 3" belt sander, hammer, nails, random metal rod, old pallet, pry bar, various vises and clamps, scrap wood
Awesome job! I would have reversed the balls and had the 1-ball on the far left, but it doesn’t really matter.
 

Geosnookery

Active member
Great project.

Thanks for the steps along the way. I have about an extra dozen sets of balls. I can never resist buying them at the thrift store for a couple dollars each.

Now when my wife asks why?...I can come up with another reason.

re using old pallets. I find it easier to use a reciprocating saw or similar and cut the cross boards from the frame. Or...at a thrift store find some picture frame with depth, spoon rack, display case or whatever that can be dismantled easily.
 
Last edited:

jimmyco

NRA4Life
Gold Member
Silver Member
Looks good.

As to securing the rod:
Cross drill and pin (cotter or hair).
Thread ends for wing nuts.
Internal tooth lock washers.
Cap nuts, like used on patio furniture or toy axles.
Rubber hose, interference fit, either on the inside or outside of the frame.

All available at any hardware store.
 

jokrswylde

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Awesome job! I would have reversed the balls and had the 1-ball on the far left, but it doesn’t really matter.
Any particular reason? I just assumed if you win a game, you slide the "1" to the right and so on. It isn't secured, so I can change it if it is bass ackwards.

Also, I think I am going to put the fast eddie quote " money won is twice as sweet as money earned" along the top board.:)
 

fiftyyardline

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Here are a couple photos of the scoring balls that I attached to my Diamond light. Got a set of 1” balls, drilled a hole through the center, and used 1/16” wire cable and a turnbuckle plus hardware to attach.
D3D5CAA9-F89C-4C7D-B76F-0A40A0AAC4C4.jpeg
826FED90-66C2-485F-BFE8-53766205171F.jpeg
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I love going up to JOB Billiards in Nashville. I love the history of the place, the '70's vibe, seeing the pictures of Fats, Miz, Massey, and all the other greats that have played there. One of the things that caught my eye were old the pool ball scorers hanging on the wall.

Today was the last day before Christmas break, so I had no students, nothing to do, and an entire shop to myself. Instead of using whole balls, like at JOB's, I decided I wanted to try a different idea and cut the balls in half. First thing I had to do was create a jig to hold the balls securely in a vise. Then I clamped the jig in a vise and used a radial arm saw to cut each ball in half.

**Side note about cutting pool balls, it is a nasty messy business, and the dust smells and tastes toxic! After the second ball, I had to get a fresh air mask. Also, I was eyeballing these, as I didn't have the time to properly measure and mark each ball. I first tried using a band saw, but it was much more hassle than the radial arm.
View attachment 578341

Then I used a 3" belt sander to remove any burrs and try to level out each half. This was by far the most time consuming part.
View attachment 578342


Next it was on the the drill press. I used a 9/32 bit to match some metal rod I had laying around the shop. I messed up the first few balls because my spindle speed was way too low. Once I adjusted the belts to a faster speed, the process went much smoother. Again, eye protection and a mask are essential here.


View attachment 578343

Then I threaded the rod through to check and make sure everything was looking good. (Up until this point, everything has been eye-balled)


View attachment 578344
Then I had some fun tearing apart an old pallet for the "bones" of the project.

View attachment 578345

I wanted the frame to keep the overall feel of an old coca-cola crate I have hanging on the wall of my man cave. Not sure I will use pallet wood if I do this project again. Frame was stuck together with wood glue and wire nails.

View attachment 578346

You can maybe finally get an idea of where this is going :)

View attachment 578347

And the holes for the rod drilled, and the whole thing assembled. Now just to decide how I want to secure the metal rods. Then it is a good once over with the sander and a decision on the finish. I may let my 16 year old paint and distress it, or I may opt for a simple stain job. Any suggestions?

View attachment 578348

Overall, I am pretty happy with the results considering, considering I flew through it in about 4 hours and I pretty much eyeballed everything. I think it will look good on the wall below my dart board. :) If I do another one of these, I will take more time on the cuts, and probably not use pallet wood. I would love some feedback/ ideas to make this project better.

Tools used: Radial arm saw, Floor mount drill press, 3" belt sander, hammer, nails, random metal rod, old pallet, pry bar, various vises and clamps, scrap wood
Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiice
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I love going up to JOB Billiards in Nashville. I love the history of the place, the '70's vibe, seeing the pictures of Fats, Miz, Massey, and all the other greats that have played there. One of the things that caught my eye were old the pool ball scorers hanging on the wall.

Today was the last day before Christmas break, so I had no students, nothing to do, and an entire shop to myself. Instead of using whole balls, like at JOB's, I decided I wanted to try a different idea and cut the balls in half. First thing I had to do was create a jig to hold the balls securely in a vise. Then I clamped the jig in a vise and used a radial arm saw to cut each ball in half.

**Side note about cutting pool balls, it is a nasty messy business, and the dust smells and tastes toxic! After the second ball, I had to get a fresh air mask. Also, I was eyeballing these, as I didn't have the time to properly measure and mark each ball. I first tried using a band saw, but it was much more hassle than the radial arm.
View attachment 578341

Then I used a 3" belt sander to remove any burrs and try to level out each half. This was by far the most time consuming part.
View attachment 578342


Next it was on the the drill press. I used a 9/32 bit to match some metal rod I had laying around the shop. I messed up the first few balls because my spindle speed was way too low. Once I adjusted the belts to a faster speed, the process went much smoother. Again, eye protection and a mask are essential here.


View attachment 578343

Then I threaded the rod through to check and make sure everything was looking good. (Up until this point, everything has been eye-balled)


View attachment 578344
Then I had some fun tearing apart an old pallet for the "bones" of the project.

View attachment 578345

I wanted the frame to keep the overall feel of an old coca-cola crate I have hanging on the wall of my man cave. Not sure I will use pallet wood if I do this project again. Frame was stuck together with wood glue and wire nails.

View attachment 578346

You can maybe finally get an idea of where this is going :)

View attachment 578347

And the holes for the rod drilled, and the whole thing assembled. Now just to decide how I want to secure the metal rods. Then it is a good once over with the sander and a decision on the finish. I may let my 16 year old paint and distress it, or I may opt for a simple stain job. Any suggestions?

View attachment 578348

Overall, I am pretty happy with the results considering, considering I flew through it in about 4 hours and I pretty much eyeballed everything. I think it will look good on the wall below my dart board. :) If I do another one of these, I will take more time on the cuts, and probably not use pallet wood. I would love some feedback/ ideas to make this project better.

Tools used: Radial arm saw, Floor mount drill press, 3" belt sander, hammer, nails, random metal rod, old pallet, pry bar, various vises and clamps, scrap wood
Some old barnwood wood be cool too.
 

Dead Money

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
This is a pretty neat project. There are a lot of different ways to do this but I like what you did.
 

JessEm

AzB Goldmember
Silver Member
- Drilling a pilot hole with a smaller bit first, like 3/32", would help. The larger bit would then erase any "deflection" or runout blemishes.

- Nice to see a radial arm saw still serving a purpose.

- How did you keep the ball stationary while cutting in half? Squeezing together wood blocks would pinch the blade... I'm missing something here.
 
Last edited:

jokrswylde

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
- Drilling a pilot hole with a smaller bit first, like 3/32", would help. The larger bit would then erase any "deflection" or runout blemishes.

- Nice to see a radial arm saw still serving a purpose.

- How did you keep the ball stationary while cutting in half? Squeezing together wood blocks would pinch the blade... I'm missing something here.
Pilot hole is a great idea. I will definitely do that next time

The way the jig contacted and applied pressure to the ball, I was able to cut halfway through each ball, rotate it and finish the cut. I wasn't terribly worried about clean precision cuts since I knew I was going to clean everything up with the belt sander.

Thanks for the suggestions!
 

RacerX750

Registered
The main problem with the holes was my initial spindle speed. The slower speed allowed the bit to slide down the ball a ways before it dug in. It was much smoother once I upped the rpm's.. My original thought was that by putting the holes slightly above the numbers, it would help them hang more vertically

You cant tell it from the pic, but the balls do rest up against to prevent tilting, but I agree there are a couple the hang off line from the others.

Any suggestions on how to secure the rods? My best idea right now is to drill a hole and insert a cotter pin.
"The main problem with the holes was my initial spindle speed. The slower speed allowed the bit to slide down the ball a ways before it dug in."

Start the hole with a center drill first.

Center Drill.jpg
 
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