8" Redwood Sphere

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Project by FordMike posted 02-25-2010 08:40 AM 2087 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Recently started turning small eggs and spheres from scraps from bowl making. I would rather turn them into eggs and spheres (I refuse to call them balls because of the harassment my wife gives me when I tell here i going to go make some balls) to give away to the neighbor kids that inevitably gather when ever the shop doors are open and ask the normal questions of “whatcha doin”. So tonight I wondered How big a sphere I could turn strictly by eye. All I used was a set of calipers to get the lenght equal to the width. I chucked the 9” x 12” block of Redwood Burl into my Nova and used a shallow non penetrating tailstock. Using only a 3/4”bowl gouge (the only tool I’m fairly proficient with) sharpened with long fingernail/Ellsworth/Irish Grind. I roughed in the shape and fined with a shear scrape. Finishing the right side first I cut off the tail stock and sand the nub. I previuosly have turned a cup shaped jam chuck for the Nova Swapping ends and putting a piece of rubber shelf liner between the cup chuck and the sphere, the other end goes on the non-penetrating tailstock and gouged and sheared I power sand everything with a car polisher with velcro backed disks, 150 and 220. when complete I used a sharp chisel to remove the last nub.I chose not to finish the sphere, usually for Redwood I would use Cellulose Sanding Sealer followed by 3 to 5 coats of Lacquer, and polish with Beeswax. Hope this gives inspiration to someone to try their own. The sphere has a magical appeal that everyone that sees it has to run their hands over it. Thanks for following along Best wishes FordMike

12 comments so far

View FordMike's profile


155 posts in 4004 days

#1 posted 02-25-2010 08:44 AM

PS The bottle of wine is a great Cabernet from my friend Jim Taylor who just won a bunch of awards for his 2008 Cabernet check it out, if you like to try it, Google Zickefoose Wines

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3641 days

#2 posted 02-25-2010 10:22 AM


when i growded uppy i wanna add a lathe to my list so i can make cool stuff like this

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View sphere's profile


109 posts in 3564 days

#3 posted 02-25-2010 10:34 AM

Hmmmm. I like it. Other than a perfect cube, probably one of th ehardest things to make.

-- Spheramid Enterprises Architectural Wood Works

View Chase's profile


448 posts in 3560 days

#4 posted 02-25-2010 02:30 PM

wow, that is fantastic! now you need to make an equally impressive pedestal to sit it on. No pressure or anything.

-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.

View jayjay's profile


639 posts in 3579 days

#5 posted 02-25-2010 02:58 PM

That’s look pretty spherical.

-- ~Jason~ , Albuquerque NM

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117738 posts in 4110 days

#6 posted 02-25-2010 06:23 PM

Cool sphere

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12785 posts in 3690 days

#7 posted 02-25-2010 10:17 PM

pretty amazing work…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View Hyperhutch's profile


63 posts in 3783 days

#8 posted 02-26-2010 04:09 AM

Rather ballsie project.

Ba dump ching......


P.S. Nice work. Wish I had pieces of redwood scrap like that lying around. :)

-- I hope the volume of shavings one creates is directly related to the probablility of one's success, cuz if so I've got it made!!

View FordMike's profile


155 posts in 4004 days

#9 posted 02-26-2010 05:11 AM

thanks I’m working on a pedestal thats uses a aquarium air pump to float the ball on a cushion of air and you should be able to spin the ball and have it rotate and spin for a very long time running on bearing of air. Thats the hypothenuse anyway. I’ll post pics once it’s all finished. FordMike

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4780 days

#10 posted 02-26-2010 09:07 PM

Very cool.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Woodbutcher3's profile


461 posts in 3420 days

#11 posted 09-06-2010 02:53 AM

Great turning – hard to get right – as are the egg turnings – I know a guys by the name of Don Riggs who could turn these by eye in almost no time at all. He had buckets of them he turned out of all size of scraps. Instead of calipers, he used to check his with different size rings he kept (depending how big a ball he was turning). When you laid the ring on the ball, it was like checking the cord from one side of the circle to the other If the inside circle touched the ball at all points, the ball was almost perfect. He would rechuck it between two cup chucks (that almost makes ya sick) and finish the ball off checking with the ring again. Hope that helps with the sphere work.

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3694 days

#12 posted 09-07-2010 02:09 PM

If you were a girl, I’d call you a “shperical girl in a spherical world”. Nice job, and nice chunk of wood.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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