Ball Cutting Jig for a Nova Galaxi Lathe

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Project by Bob A in NJ posted 07-04-2019 01:50 AM 654 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Having fun the last 2 days making a ball/sphere cutting jig. Turners use these as making a “perfectly round ball”, with regular gouges, is no easy task. After researching designs of jigs on Youtube, I found none of them inserted directly into the tool rest.

They all had to be attached directly to the ways one way or another. It’s very important for the bottom of the jig be able to be directly under the ball.

Luckily my lathe tool rest fits directly under the proposed ball if I turned the tool rest towards the back. I still have a bit of tweaking to do but this is going to work well.

A bowl full of various sized and colored wood spheres in a homemade bowl is a terrific centerpiece.

This jig is made of brass and aluminum.

Bob A in NJ July 3, 2019

-- Bob A in NJ

12 comments so far

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Bob A in NJ

1251 posts in 4447 days

#1 posted 07-04-2019 01:52 AM For the Video on Youtube!

-- Bob A in NJ

View Karson's profile


35194 posts in 4848 days

#2 posted 07-04-2019 02:13 AM

Very good Bob.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View lew's profile


12821 posts in 4203 days

#3 posted 07-04-2019 02:39 AM

That’s really neat.

I thought about building something like that but don’t have any metal working skills or tools. I used David Reed Smith’s idea of a shadow jig-

Here’s how he made his-

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View jeffswildwood's profile


3974 posts in 2425 days

#4 posted 07-04-2019 11:23 AM

This is amazing! I do some lathe work but have never considered a ball, just out of my skill level. This would do the trick!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

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matt garcia

1910 posts in 4120 days

#5 posted 07-04-2019 11:43 AM

Amazing!! When you consider how hard it would be to hand turn a perfect sphere. I like both ideas!! You guys are smart!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View Underdog's profile


1375 posts in 2483 days

#6 posted 07-04-2019 01:42 PM

That’s cool. I really like your idea of putting it on the tool rest banjo.

I do wonder about the tremendous amount of tearout you’re getting, though. How do you get rid of it? Or are you (like me) disguising any defects with a burning tool? (Heavy branding patterns cover a multitude of sins! HEH!)
With this jig and with a spindle duplicating jig, I wonder if the tool angles be adjusted to minimize tearout?

Even though it’s more difficult, a gouge makes a much cleaner cut on these projects. It’s just that you have to place it between a couple of jam chucks and move it around enough to get a (mostly) spherical shape. My first ones came out a bit oblong…

The upside of this jig is that it’s much quicker and easier than using a gouge…. If you can tell me how to solve the tearout problem, I’m really interested to know about it.

Neat jig. Thanks for sharing!

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

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6363 posts in 2713 days

#7 posted 07-04-2019 04:34 PM

That is one outstanding idea. Well done there!

View ralbuck's profile


6094 posts in 2714 days

#8 posted 07-04-2019 08:02 PM

A well designed unit!

I bet there are going to be more innovations made form your excellent idea.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

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Jim Jakosh

22995 posts in 3553 days

#9 posted 07-05-2019 01:04 PM

Nice jig, Bob, do you mount the ball on cup centers to finish the ends not reached by your cutter/
I have that same lathe and i love it except for the switches and the indexing method.
You must also have a metal shop. I do ,too, and it sure helps to make your own tools like this.

I made a sphere jig and copied some of Carter’s ideas and even stopped their video of the Perfect Sphere Jig to measure the angle of the cutter which is 13 degrees.

I have been watching the videos for a sphere jig for my metal lathe and wondering if I really needed it!!

Cheers,, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Lazyman's profile


3661 posts in 1835 days

#10 posted 07-06-2019 05:47 PM

Nice, What is the biggest sphere you think you can make with your jig? I’ve been turning a bunch of spheres by eye and they are never quite perfectly round but for decorative pieces they look close enough. Largest ones I have made so far are about 6-7 inches in diameter.

Thanks Lew for the David Reed Smith link. I should have known that he had a great idea for making it easier to get them round.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View becikeja's profile


1004 posts in 3261 days

#11 posted 07-09-2019 10:55 AM

Really nice jig. Never thought about this before.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Bluepine38's profile


3386 posts in 3533 days

#12 posted 07-12-2019 07:15 PM

I have made a jig using David Springett pattern from his books “Woodturning Wizardry” and “Woodturning
full Circle” the books really made me stretch my mind and exceeded my ability. Your approach is definitely
different and might be adapted to other lathes, but I do not think I can adapt it to my 1950s era Delta
lathe. It will give me new challenge and it I can do it, I will blog it. Thank you for sharing and keeping
us thinking.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

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