Tag Archives: trophy

Video Post #6: USFA Trophy Bases: Cutting the Miters and Clamping Square

I’ve made a lot of progress on the Trophy Bases this week, as you’ve seen in my recent posts. After ensuring my miter gauge was perfectly square to my blade and my blade was 45° to my table it was time to batch out the sides for the trophy bases. These are just 8” x 8” boxes with mitered corners. After laying out the pieces on the board, I numbered them to keep them in sequence and rough cut them to length with the miter saw. Then I mitered one end on the table saw using a stop block to ensure the piece didn’t slide along the miter gauge fence. When that was done I moved the stop block to the correct length, flipped the pieces around, and cut the other miter.


Here’s a tip: after you rough cut the pieces they may be different lengths. When you cut that first miter, you’ll want to use a stop block for extra precision, but you don’t want to move it for every piece. In your stack of four boards, find out which is shortest, and set the stop block for that piece. You can then cut the miter on all four pieces precisely without moving the stop block.

Clamping Square

To clamp the pieces I lay them out on my bench, inside face down, in sequence. I then use (lots) of blue painters tape to pull the edges together tightly. When the pieces are held together I stand them on edge and check the dry fit and make any adjustments. You can tell you’ve made the tape tight when they sort of snap or pop into place. After the dry fit I lay them back on bench, this time inside face up, and brush glue onto all the miters. The whole assembly then rolls up and the last joint gets taped. I check for square and twist, and while I go cut the miters on the next box, I clamp the box to a board held in my bench vise. This helped keep the assembly square while the glue set.


When the next box was ready for glue up, I removed the previous box from the clamps and stacked it on the jointer table.


Here two boxes are done and waiting for their glue to dry so they can get cleaned up.


After going through lots of blue tape, all six boxes are done.

Tight Miters

So how did they turn out? Check out the video to see a nice, tight, grain-wrapped miter, and please – leave a comment it would be great to hear from you!

USFA Trophy Bases: Brainstorming Ways to Attach Trophies to Bases

One (critical) part of building the bases for the USFA Western Washington Division will be attaching the trophy cups to the bases. With off-the-shelf trophies the cup usually has a threaded bottom for a bolt. These trophies are the real deal though, and don’t come ready-to-bolt.

Here’s a picture of the trophy cup, pretty cool huh?


So I need to figure out how to attach this to the solid walnut base. Take a look at what I’m dealing with, and notice the lip as the metal rolls under the bottom.


So here are some of the ideas I’ve though of:

  1. Take the cups to a silver smith and have a piece soldered in. I’d be too worried to try this myself because I wouldn’t want to discolor the outside.
  2. Drill holes through the sides, so that I could secure a solid block in the bottom. Not the best looking effect.
  3. Epoxy a block or threaded shaft in place. Worried about this someday coming loose.

Here’s the leading idea, building a bridge across the inside of the bottom of the cup:

  1. Cut a circle that fits in the cup tightly, I won’t be able to get it past the lip and into the bottom but that’s OK
  2. Cut the center section out of the circle, and keep it as the bridge for the next step
  3. Shorten the bridge if necessary so that it will fit in the cup
  4. Put the bridge in the cup
  5. Put the other two pieces in the cup, and push them out to the sides
  6. Secure the bridge to the pieces with glue and screws
  7. Put a threaded insert in the center of the bridge
  8. Attach the cup to the base!

trophy attachment 2

If you have an idea, please leave a comment. Thanks!

USFA Trophy Bases: Sketchup Designs

A buddy I used to work with when I was a Manager in Xbox Live is a member of a fencing club. No, not the picket or chain-link kind, more like the slice-you-to-bits in the blink of an eye kind. He works with the US Fencing Association’s Western Washington Division and they host the Leon Auriol Open every year. Leon is a fencing master who has been teaching fencing here in the Pacific NW for decades. He’s been instrumental in building the fencing community here in Seattle as well as in Portland, Oregon.

These days, the Auriol Open typically draws 200+ fencers from all over the Northwest and as far away as Alaska. It is run by the WWD organization, and takes place at Salle Auriol Seattle (the club Leon founded many years ago). The Auriol Open has been held every year since 1982, so it’s understandable that they are running out of room on their trophies to engrave the names of champions.


Typically when trophies run out of spaces for names you don’t replace them with a new trophy, you mount it to a base and continue to use the original and traditional trophy. One reason you do this is so that new champions can look back through the years to see all the names of the past champions. Take a look at one of the most famous trophies of all time: The Stanley Cup. While they don’t add a wooden base, they keep adding rings at the bottom, and it’s been going that way since 1893.

That’s where I come in.

I am currently working on a design for the US Fencing Association’s Western Washington Division to build the solid walnut bases for the six trophies they award each year at the Auriol Open. To ensure these look just right, I’ve been sending designs back and forth with Dan. Thanks to the Google 3D Warehouse, it was easy to find a similar trophy scale it to the right size, and place it on the base. The follow-me feature in Sketchup made routing the edges a snap.

Here’s the current design, please let me know what you think before I begin the build.