Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lightsaber Display Shelf

Anyone who knows me and has been to my house should be familiar with my collection of Lightsabers.  A long time ago in a galaxy far, far way (New York), I expertly bought a number of Force FX lightsabers off of ebay for very, very cheap.  7 in all.  I then built a rack for holding and displaying them.  No matter where I lived I made sure to prominently display my lightsabers.  

This is how it looks now.

My last project involved painting and weathering some existing toy lightsaber hilts.

These hilts look very cool now and I would like to display them along side with my Force FX lightsabers.

So I designed a display case that can hold both kinds of lightsabers.  This case would have 5 Force FX sabers showing on the front and 2 showing on the sides.

It also has spaces in between each FX saber with shelves to display all the hilts I have.

This case will actually be less-wide than my current rack, and yet able to hold so much more.

It will require a lot of wood though - 21 pieces of 1x4x4' wood, and one piece of 1x10x4' wood.

First step - Measure & Mark!

Then I cut the pieces for the front/back/sides on the miter saw.

The front/back/sides require 19 of the boards.

Unfortunately I didn't have enough pocket screws to attach all these pieces of wood together, so I opted to attach them with glue and brad nails.

First I made the 4 'channels' that make up the back and sides.

Then I connected the channels with a board, which will make up the front.

Below all 4 channels are connected with 3 front boards.

Then I made 2 "L" shapes using the last of the initial 19 boards.

These 2 "L" pieces get connected to both ends, completing the front/sides.

Next I cut the pieces that will make up the shelves.

These will be inserted in each channel, but I'll be doing that later.

So far the front/back/sides are together, but not very strong.  So I cut the large piece of wood into 2 pieces to make the top and bottom of the display shelf.

Then I cut down the 2 pieces to size with the miter saw.

Then these were glued and nailed to the rest of the shelf.

Next I cut 2 remaining pieces that will make the decorative top and bottom.

Each end of these 2 pieces will be cut at a 45 degree angle.

Then I drilled pocket holes...

...and screwed these pieces to the top and bottom.

Looking good so far!

Using a T-square, I drew out guides for the small shelves.

I then glued each one in place, and nailed them from the back.

On the bottom there was a bit of a gap showing.

So I decided to cover it up by cutting a few small pieces of 1/4" plywood.

I then glued and nailed these pieces to each end covering any gaps.

Now it's time to sand this thing.  I started off with some coarse 60-grit sandpaper.

Once everything was level I used a roundover bit in my router and gave the whole shelf a decorative edge.

Then I sanded again, this time with medium grit 120.

Next I added wood filler to the many spots that needed it.  These were mostly nail holes.

While the filler was drying I drilled 4 holes in each corner.  These are how I will mount the whole display to the wall.

When the filler dried I sanded once more.

After careful thought I decided that the whole thing needed further reinforcement.  I wasn't satisfied that glue and nails alone would keep this heavy shelf together for years to come.  So I drilled some holes and screwed in many screws to ensure thing thing stays together.  Then I sanded the whole thing one more time with some 220 very fine sandpaper.

Next I removed the old saber rack and took off the plastic mounts that held each lightsaber.

I then reattached the plastic mounts onto the new shelf.

Then I attached the whole thing to the wall.  This took quite some time to do.  It's a heavy shelf.

But once it was up and level I began attaching the Force FX lightsabers...

...and then all my hilts on the small shelves.

I can fit 8 hilts on the top and bottom shelves.  The middle shelves are too small for hilts but I imaging I will fill those shelves with other Star Wars related trinkets.

The Ashoka hilt doesn't have a flat end to stand on and the Dooku hilt is too large, so these I put on the top shelf.

With the shelf a success, I removed it from the wall to finish it up.  As for the wall itself, I screwed in four plastic wall anchors into the wall, each of which are rated to hold up 65 lbs (that's 260 lbs).  This shelf won't go anywhere!

Next I cleaned it up and prepped for staining!

I decided to go with a stain that closely matches the color of the other wood furniture in my office.  Applying the stain on this thing was easy, but removing excess stain from all the corners in the channels was a bit time consuming.  But once done it looked great.

At the time I made this it is January and a bit on the cool side for polyurethane.  So I opted to use some glossy clear coat spray instead.

I let the clear coat dry overnight and the next day I sanded the whole thing with a very fine sanding sponge.

Then I cleaned it up and mounted it to the wall.

Next I reattached the plastic mounts.

Then I put my stuff on it and I'm done!

This thing turned out better than I thought it would.  All the lightsabers and hilts fit nicely.

The middle shelves hold some extra stuff well.  These I just threw on there for the time being.  I'm sure I'll have something nicer there soon.

And when dark the lightsabers still show off nicely.

The stain matches my other furniture well!

I'm happy I made this.  I know it's kind of a dorky thing to have so many lightsabers, but who cares.  I love them more now thanks to my nifty display case.

Thanks for reading!


  1. An inspiring craft that was well thought out, cleanly constructed and a pleasure to see. Thank you for sharing it!