Balls of Fun!!!

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Project by scrappy posted 01-29-2013 06:34 AM 3459 views 3 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Fun with new shapes!

I have turned a ball shape on a christmas ornament. That was easy compared to these. With the posts for the upper and lower finials you have something to hold onto. Turning a ball, without having any tool marks where you held it ( i don’t have a vacuum chuck) Is difficult, to say the least.

Start out with it between centers or in a chuck. A longer piece should be used. Turn to a ball shape with the mount marks in the “extra” pieces at the ends of the longer blank,Cut blank down as much as possible to shape.

Now, Remove from lathe and turn 90deg and remount! DO NOT USE THE TOOLS TO HOLD THE WOOD!!!!
You must first devise a clamping system to hold the ball without touching the all ready turned areas.

I used a wood cup mounted in the chuck and another piece mounted on the tail stock.

Once mounted, Turn the wood again to the desired size.This will clean off any excess left on the shape.
Repeat the procces for each step of sanding and finishing.

By turning the wood 3 or 4 times before going to the next grade of sandpaper you will get a more uniform roundness to it.

The first ball is only 2 and 3/8 inch Diam, But it is within 1/64inch of being truly round Only .015 from being a true sphere.
Claro Walnut, with Turquoise inlay.

Second ball is Jarra Burl, 2 and 3/4 diam within 1/64inch of being truly round.

-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

16 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118333 posts in 5069 days

#1 posted 01-29-2013 06:44 AM

View oldnovice's profile


7791 posts in 4860 days

#2 posted 01-29-2013 06:44 AM

Some of these could pass as planets.

Have you thought about making a model solar system? What wood could you use for the sun?

I like the crevasses in some of them it makes the look very organic as opposed to monolithic!

That is quite some technique you developed for making these!

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24932 posts in 5168 days

#3 posted 01-29-2013 06:56 AM

Nice work! Maybe a set of pool balls instead of planets? ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 3857 days

#4 posted 01-29-2013 12:36 PM

Great job. I like the turquoise inlay. I have been wanting to try some of the inlaying. Where do you get the turquoise?

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

View cosmicturner's profile


403 posts in 4887 days

#5 posted 01-29-2013 01:30 PM

Very nice and you are right, it is very hard to make something completely round…strange when you think about it, it should be easy but it is not

-- Cosmicturner

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5892 days

#6 posted 01-29-2013 01:55 PM

Great job Scrappy. Do we meet at the bowling Alley at 3.

-- 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 RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 4182 days

#7 posted 01-29-2013 02:26 PM

Those are really nice! Great ingenuity for developing the chucking system.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 4405 days

#8 posted 01-29-2013 03:27 PM

Wow! Scrappy!!! what work you have done here!
You are becoming a master of the lathe aren’t you?
I like them both but I love that walnut one!
I guess next you’ll be making bowling balls lol!
Great job keep it up!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3668 days

#9 posted 01-29-2013 05:34 PM

Awesome balls! Great technique and control turning them. Like the walnut with turquoise inlay. Great and unique decorative piece.


View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3680 days

#10 posted 01-29-2013 07:28 PM

Cool ! Thanks for the outline of how you did it.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4359 days

#11 posted 01-29-2013 07:38 PM

Scrappy those are nice pieces and I like them a lots. I also would like to add that they are very skillfully done. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4922 days

#12 posted 01-30-2013 03:43 AM

Thanks for all the great comments everyone. These were a lot of fun and a challenge to make.

oldnovice, I could do a set of planets, sound interesting. The sun could be OSAGE ORANGE. It has a great yellow/orange color to it. I think the earth would be the biggest challenge. hat wood for BLUE and GREEN?

Idl, They sell turquise around here in Arizona in several places. I got mine from a yard sale of another wood worker. (he had to retire after a stroke). Check on line and craft stores.

Karson, A bit small for bowling, and my lathe is only a JET 12×20. Would tax it for a bowling ball. haha

I do plan on making several more of these. They will look great in a turned wood bowl on the TV stand. Have to keep trying different wood for a more full range of colors and sizes.

Thanks again for the comments.

-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View bbrewer's profile


43 posts in 3467 days

#13 posted 01-30-2013 04:19 AM

Scrappy, those look really cool and incredibly difficult.

I’ve no turning experience, but my class just received a lathe from another school. I’ve been asked by the local civil war re-enactors to turn some cannon balls and another shell used by the local battery, not to fire, just for discusion and exposition. If you could give me some resources that would provide some guidance it would be greatly appreciated. Never having turned, I think I understand, but could use WAY more explanation. If you would prefer to pm that would be fine. Hoping this may get my students not only interested in the project, but working with the history.

Thanks, Tom

-- Tom southern MI

View peteg's profile


4438 posts in 4315 days

#14 posted 01-30-2013 11:07 PM

Definately up to your usual high standard :)
Nice job

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27800 posts in 4597 days

#15 posted 01-31-2013 02:56 AM

Very neat and a clever holding method!!...............Jim

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

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