How is a Custom Display Case Actually Created?



Creating a custom display case requires a ton of patience, measuring and re-measuring, operating and maintaining power equipment and a ton of desire to produce a product that not only the customer will be pleased with but you as well need to be totally pleased. Every case I build must have the quality that I personally would be proud to display in my own home. After all, when someone has something to display that has very special meaning to them, or a model builder has spent hundreds of hours building that one of a kind model, it must be protected and displayed with the same attention to detail and quality that went into their memorabilia.


To detail just how I go about building a custom display case, I’ll start with some steps I take to get all my ducks in a row.  The first thing is to take a moment to determine the overall size of the acrylic sheet I’ll need for an individual case.  Because I heat bend the acrylic to form a three sided box with no ends, I must allow some acrylic to allow for the bend and still maintain the dimension the customer wants their case to be.  Once I’ve determined the size I need, I use a very special saw blade just for cutting acrylic and I cut the material allowing a little extra.  This is to allow me to run all edges over my jointer to get the smoothest edges possible to reduce the bubbling effect that appears whenever you weld acrylic.


Ron now works with the optical quality acrylic on the bending jig, creating the cover to fit the oak base.

Ron now works with the optical quality acrylic on the bending jig, creating the cover to fit the oak base.

Now that I have the acrylic cut to size, I take it back to the table saw where I score (cut a very shallow line) the acrylic where I want it to bend when heated to the right temperature.  I’ve designed and built my own bending jig which allows me to get perfect 90 degree corners for a more precise finish on all my cases.  Now that the acrylic is scored, I place it over the heat rod for a period of time, and never too much or too little as that makes a perfect bend not possible or the acrylic burned or warped if too long.  When it’s just right, I form the right angle edge and let it cool.


Next, after the two bends have been made, I cut the end pieces of acrylic and weld them onto the ends of the three sided box to form a box with one open side that will become the bottom that sits on the solid hardwood base.  This is allowed to dry for at least two days for a solid weld.


The oak base has been routed and sanded to desired finish quality, and a final coat of polyurethane clear coat is applied.

The oak base has been routed and sanded to desired finish quality, and a final coat of polyurethane clear coat is applied.

I then go to the base.  I choose the best, flattest and straightest piece of wood with a grain pattern that is pleasing to the eye and cut it to a rough size.  After I’ve jointed and planed the wood, I cut it to it’s final size based on the opening of the acrylic cover.  It is often the case when I have to glue up multiple pieces of wood to create a base wide enough to accommodate the acrylic cover which I can do easily.  Actually, with wide bases, the more pieces used to create the wide enough base, the better as that prevents warping, bending and twisting later in it’s life.

I then run the outer edges through my router to create the beautiful edges with soft curves and a raised platform for the acrylic to sit over to prevent it from moving around on the shelf when displayed.  Lastly, this is sanded and smoothed for finishing.  I stain every base to the color the customer desires, and I apply at least 2 topcoats of satin polyurethane to the finished base for a finish that’s soft to the eye and provides great protection.


To finish a custom display case, the last step is to run the acrylic cover through the router to round over the edges PICT0240where the two ends were welded on so ALL edges have a rounded over finish so there appears that the acrylic was formed rather than constructed.  It’s one extra step that I feel gives a much more professional look to the finished case.  The very last thing is to flame polish the routed edges so all surfaces are smooth and glossy.


PICT0206So, you can see, building a custom display case is a work of art in itself, and I personally take it very seriously.  Every case leaving here is created by me personally.  I’m a one man company who believes every customer deserves the best possible work and it’s my job to guarantee they will get just that.  If I wouldn’t place it in my home, I would never send it out to your home, period.  Please contact me with any questions about my work, service and quality anytime at  I’d love to hear from you and work for you in the very near future.

custom display cases

An antique pocket watch needed special care and protection. The customer was very pleased with the result.



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Memorial Flag Display Case

Grandpa’s Cabinets has been known primarily for building custom display cases for models of all varieties including ships, cars, planes, diorama’s, dolls, soccer gloves and just about anything you might think of.  Well, besides these, I also build furniture and anything related to wood.  One of the things I offer and custom build is the Memorial Flag Display Case.  I offer either red oak or cherry solid hardwoods and I finish with any stain color a customer might desire.  The flag size I make these to house is the 5 x 9 foot size that’s normally draped over the coffin of a deceased veteran.  This one shown here I made for my father who was a WWII vet who served from D-Day, Omaha Beach right on through to the end of the war in Germany.

Dads overall image


I also offer brass plaques with personalizations to suit any customer’s requirements or desires.  I mounted one memorializing my dad as shown below.

dads with plaque


Recently a customer asked for a flag case for their relative who recently passed but they wanted a different twist in the base.  They wanted to be able to display a plaque on the front face of the base so it could be seen from afar.  We determined they needed an area on the front of the base of 2″ to mount a plaque that was 1 1/2″ high.  I designed this alteration to my usual case, which wasn’t an issue since I build everything custom to any customer’s specs, to include a base with some additional moldings.  It gives the customer a place to mount their plaque and also gives the flag a more prominent display wherever they might choose to place it.  Grandpa’s Cabinets offers these cases and the cost for the standard case is $89.00 plus shipping and applicable taxes and for the case with the larger base, $119.00.  These are hand made, custom, and if interested, contact Ron Baluch at and please visit my site, for information on everything I offer.

New overall with baseAfter the customer received the case you see here, she let me know it was to display the flag that draped a relative’s coffin.  She also sent me the following quote:

I have received the flag case today.  Absolutely astounding work Mr. Baluch.  We couldn’t be happier.    Thank you many times over for your work of excellence.  It will be an heirloom in my family for a lifetime.
God bless you with much favor and extended health.
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Creating A Custom Display Case Cabinet

Cabinet 2

Grandpa’s Cabinets gets requests often for cabinets and display cases that are not in the norm for what we do.  This isn’t a problem most times and this was no exception to that.  A very good customer commissioned me to build a custom display case in my kit format to house a very large, very old antique sail ship for his condo in southern Florida.  After learning the dimensions needed, I realized it was probably going to be the largest ever ordered.  Once we confirmed the dimensions needed, I got to work on his order and completed it in two weeks and as agreed, I even delivered it personally to St. Augustine because it was too large when packed to be shipped by UPS or any conventional means.

About two weeks later, I received a phone call stating that he needed a cabinet to place this on because he had no furniture large enough with a big enough footprint to comfortably hold the cabinet!  He even had an architect friend design a cabinet with storage to do just that and here I go with another challenge and project to fix a situation.

Cabinet rough 1

I began construction in solid oak per his request of a simple cabinet.  Here you can see the design starting to take shape.  The base has a toe kick at the very bottom with wheels mounted just inside and just high enough to allow movement but not be seen from a distance.  The sides and divider inside are of furniture grade oak plywood secured with glue and dadoes for strength and support.  The top was made to look like it is about 2″ thick by inserting plywood into the middle of a framed cover of solid oak.


Cabinet framed up without doors

Here is the cabinet completed in the rough without the doors inserted yet.  You can see the thickness of the top and the front framing of solid oak which gives this a truly furniture quality look.



Cabinet rough complete b4 finish

After mounting the doors and hardware and application of 4 topcoats of oil based polyurethane this cabinet took shape very nicely.  The finish I choose is satin in gloss for cabinets like this because I feel it looks more appealing to the eye and doesn’t show dust as fast as a gloss would.  I never choose flat because I just don’t think it brings out the grains in oak well.  Now it was on to delivery time for this piece of furniture and a look at how it will all be once assembled.  I rarely get to see completed work so this was much anticipated.



Cabinet 1

I delivered the cabinet to the customer and realized he hadn’t assembled the display kit as of yet so I got to do it all for him.  He wanted to use this as a sort of room divider in his condo and I feel it worked well for it’s intended purpose.  After moving the cabinet into position, I proceeded to assemble and clean the display kit base and acrylic panels and get the ship mounted and set.  This case and cabinet overall is about 48″ long by 29″ wide and sits about 7 feet high together just to give some idea of size.  I’m very proud of how the entire project came out and the customer was overwhelmingly pleased as well.  If you have any need for a custom display case to display your works of art or models, never hesitate to contact me.  Ron Baluch, or give a call with questions at (586)506-2222 and for a fast quote, go to the “request a quote” spot on my website.

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Circus Diorama

Circus DioramaI was asked to produce an acrylic cover to sit over a diorama of a circus train a while ago and really didn’t think much of it. The customer, Rick Liblong said he made a diorama of a circus train, The Greatest Show on Earth complete with all the animals and people shown. I made the cover to protect his work of art and after a period of time, I received some photos of his work under my display case cover.

Well, just this week I received an email regarding his diorama being featured in the magazine, “Little Circus Wagon” magazine complete with tons of photos and his editorial regarding his work on this. He was gracious enough to give me a mention regarding the display case cover which I truly depend on and really appreciate to get my name out to others needing a quality affordable custom display case for their art and collectibles.

Rick stated he was always interested in the circus but was unable to get near one as a child so he decided to bring the circus to himself. Well, not actually but looking at his work with the diorama, he pretty much achieved his goal. Even the people shown and animals are to scale and the trains are N scale with the longest car being only 8″ long and the people figures only 1/2″ high. He did all the building and painting himself. I hope you like the photos of this work of art as much as I did.

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Other Model Display Cases


Grandpa’s Cabinets has been asked to build custom display cases for a myriad of items including and not limited to model car display cases, diecast model display cases, model railroad display cases, model train display cases, antique pocket watch display cases and even remembrance cases for memorabilia of deceased loved ones.

If it needs protecting, Grandpa’s Cabinets can and will build the custom display case to accommodate your needs. The shapes of these various cases varies as with the model train or railroad display cases are long, narrow and not too high and the model car and diecast cases are short, narrow and again, not too high. The memorabilia case can be just about any shape or size depending on the items being cherished or displayed. Below are a few examples of the various types of model display cases that Grandpa’s Cabinets can build.

Model Car Display Cases


Hi Ron,

I’ve enclosed a photo of the last case you sent me in use. It’s for my 1/8 scale custom model Bugatti. The car (and case) will shortly be on permanent display in the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, CA, which is quite an honor for me. Your case tops it off perfectly ! – Walt

Diecast Model Display Cases

Here are a few of our favorite diecast model displays.

diecast model display case car

another diecast model display case

Benneton car

Order a display case

If you’re interested in any of our custom display cases, please submit a custom order request and we’ll respond with a quote.

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Coffee Pod Holder



Well, as with almost everything ever invented, necessity is the mother of invention and this special cabinet is no exception.

My wife and I just got a new single cup coffee maker and we found that going to the cupboard every time we needed a coffee pod was just inconvenient. So, being the furniture maker, I went about making this item to sit on the counter right near the coffee maker.

It is made from solid red oak throughout with no veneers or inferior products anywhere.

I chose to make it large enough to hold 20 pods and not too large to take up too much space on any kitchen counter or business conference room.

The overall size is 14″ wide x 11″ deep and approximately 4″ high overall. This would be the standard size I am offering, and I will finish it in either the natural finish as shown in these photos, or I can stain the oak to any color you might want or need.

The cost for this beautiful pod case is $95.00 plus $19.00 shipping to anywhere in the continental United States. If you want to be one of the first to have this beautiful hand crafted furniture quality pod case sitting near your coffee maker just click on the “Buy Now” tab below and place your order today.

Coffee Pod Holder Colors

Your coffee pod holder can be made in a variety of stains including:

Red Oak
Colonial Maple
Red Mahogany
Dark Walnut
Golden Oak


Order your Coffee Pod Holder today

$95.00 + $19 Shipping (Anywhere Continental US)


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Another Great Customer Comment

Grandpa’s Cabinets just recevied another glowing customer comment for a custom display case:

I spent much of my spare time last year working on the Revell 1/400 model of the Queen Mary 2.  My wife and I had crossed the Atlantic on the ship and it is a fond part of our shared memory.  As I neared completion I began searching for a display case on the web.   After comparing the options (construction, cost, etc.) I decided to purchase from Grandpa’s Cabinets.  It was one of the best choices I ever made in purchasing over the web.   Ronald Baluch at Grandpa’s Cabinets crafted a fine acrylic and oak case for my model (it got a strong thumbs up in terms  of construction and value from someone who works at a major display case firm).   More importantly, Ron provided extraordinary customer service — great shipping  and answers to all of my questions.  He is a proud (deservedly so) craftsman who values his customers.   I will be building another ship this summer and it will end up in another of Ron’s fine cases.

Dr. John J. Grabowski

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Model Display Kit – Top Lighting

Shown in the photo here is a display case constructed to display a large model of an aircraft carrier a customer requested. The model was ordered completed and a high quality display case was needed to display this work of art. I explained that my work was of furniture quality and could be proudly displayed in any room of any home in any setting proudly.

model display kit light

This case was determined to be too large to be built in the conventional method, which is to have a solid oak or other hardwood base and an all acrylic cover with no hardwood trim. This happens when because of the overall size, the case would be too large when packed to fit within the guidelines of UPS for size or the danger of damage during shipping because of size becomes an unavoidable problem. So, with that in mind, I suggested this model be housed in a display case kit. I used red oak as the hardwood of choice and finished it in a dark walnut stain by Cabot with two topcoats of a clear satin polyurethane.

model display kit light

My kit cases are unique in that they require no tools, glues or screws to assemble, and just fit together and the case becomes self-supporting when assembled. The kit comes with everything and can be assembled in minutes easily by one person. In this case, the customer surprised me with a unique idea. He wanted light to be shined on the model, and decided to investigate using an aquarium fixture placed on the top of the case. I discussed this idea with him, and we decided to place some spacers between the light and the top acrylic cover to prevent any heat from warping or damaging the acrylic cover.

model display kit light

model display kit light

I think this case and model really proudly shows off a modeler’s art as well as making it a piece that anyone would be proud to display in a living room or den or museum if that’s needed. Hope you agree and if you have a need for a large case and want a price on your project, contact and I’ll get right back to you


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Frank Losquardo USS Wasp

At Grandpa’s Cabinets, we get to see a lot of beautiful ships that have a lot of history.  I recently built a mirror display case for Frank Losquardo – Seaman First class on the USS WASP.  Frank received the model as a gift for his 90th birthday and honors his service to his country.

From a craftsman viewpoint, the mirror display casewas a difficult one to build but it came out great and it was exactly what the customer wanted.

This was a difficult case to build and it means a lot to the customer that it came out exactly as he wanted

USS Wasp


USS Wasp

USS Wasp

USS Wasp

USS Wasp


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David Steckel USS Missouri

The following USS Missouri model is from David Steckel.  The Missouri was ordered by the US Navy in 1940 and was commissioned on June 1944.

It looks great in our custom display case!

USS Missouri

USS Missouri by David Steckel

USS Missouri Close Up


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