I'm on a Roll

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Blog entry by stefang posted 03-15-2012 06:43 PM 11447 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just a little progress update

I had to drive my wife to the eye doctor today and we went grocery shopping later so I didn’t get much time in the shop today. I did manage to slip out for awhile this evening to turn the opposite end grain hole.

Here’s a photo of the 2nd hole (ok, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all). It actually came out better than the first one. I went a little easier and did my best to keep a little distance between the ball and the tool holder this time.

On the last hole I found out that having the tool rest very close to the ball opening prevents the cutter from dipping and ruining the cut. I did still compress or remove a slight amount of surface around this 2nd hole but not even nearly as much as last time and with no big damage.

The second photo shows the first hole plugged. The plug does help strengthen the ball when it’s placed in the ball chuck. Eventually the plugs will support the loose pieces when more holes have been completed so the whole thing won’t just disintegrate due to movement during turning.

The plugs are just a conical piece of wood the same shape as the hole, however they are the devil to turn accurately and even when sized properly you still have to use carpet tape to hold them in place. That is why I am hoping to use Yuri’s paraffin/sawdust mix formed in the hole before final turning or maybe use Isopor, which I understand also works well.

Ball prognosis by Dr. woodturner
This ball will not become a beautiful completed project, though it will become completed if I’m lucky. It will be a learning ball with all that the word implies. No matter, I will be one of the happiest woodworkers in the world, at least for a day or two until reality sets in and I realize that the next one has to be much better.

My game plan now is to just make each hole in this ball better as I go and hopefully completing it as a better educated ball turner. Then I can begin to dream that one day a chinese Ivory ball maker will say to me “Amazing, I didn’t know these could be made out of wood!”

Now I am going to have a nice glass of wine with my sweetheart before dinner. Thanks for reading this. Here’s a list of all the blogs for this project to date: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

15 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3784 days

#1 posted 03-15-2012 06:57 PM

your on a good roll here mike…as the old saying goes…let her roll…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18657 posts in 4156 days

#2 posted 03-15-2012 06:58 PM

This is quite a project Mike!! Good luck.

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

View patron's profile


13650 posts in 3821 days

#3 posted 03-15-2012 07:09 PM

another great in the series

just goes to show
how little i really know

but thanks to you
i’m learning

when you get to a swiss cheese blog
i may figure out that one
at least the eating it part

enjoy wine and dinner
with your sweetie

shes a keeper

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View mafe's profile


12096 posts in 3569 days

#4 posted 03-15-2012 07:20 PM

Sounds like a good plan, especially the wine.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View a1Jim's profile


117711 posts in 4057 days

#5 posted 03-15-2012 07:32 PM

Always cool to see your post Mike your one of the smart guys out there and looks like your working your way through this very well. One question Where’s the roll ? I was hungry LOL

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3814 days

#6 posted 03-15-2012 09:23 PM

Sorry Jim, Smart is not an option for me. The roll is…...........on my stomach. It is always good to hear from you guys too Grizz, Bob, David, Mads, I guess you can see from my posts that this project is slowly driving me into insanity. That’s ok, I will fit better into society here if I’m insane.

David I guess you didn’t notice that my Chinese ball closely resembles a Swiss cheese, so there you are, bon apetit!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile


8357 posts in 3278 days

#7 posted 03-16-2012 12:25 AM

Learning something is always good and you are getting better as you loose your mind. This may turn out to be like golf where loosing your mind results a huge improvement to your game.

On a serious note, have you considered gluing the plugs in with a judicious amount of some reversible wonder glue (animal protein glue, hide glue if you wish)? They would stick like they were welded in and would release with a little moisture and some heat.

Great work Mike.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4200 days

#8 posted 03-16-2012 03:29 AM

I love watching a fellow woodworker stuggle with what it take to improve, it makes me think that I not the only one whom is nuts out there. Keep going, you know that practice makes perfect.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3814 days

#9 posted 03-16-2012 09:41 AM

Good idea Paul and thanks for the tip, but the carpet tape works ok once the plug is sized correctly. The larger problem is getting each plug sized just right. The turning holes can be slightly different in dimension and that makes it difficult to size the plugs precisely before they are parted off and you can actually try them out.

According to the book the plugs would be turned with the larger diameter end at the tailstock. My latest thought is that by reversing this with the pointed end at the tailstock, I could try the plugs out before parting them off and that would give me the option to continue turning them to the correct size.

Kenn I hope my blog here will help encourage others to not be too disappointed when things don’t always go right the first time.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


21010 posts in 3284 days

#10 posted 03-16-2012 11:52 AM

It wouldn’t be any fun if there weren’t any mistakes involved.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3814 days

#11 posted 03-16-2012 01:00 PM

So true Roger, and I have been having almost too much fun all these years!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dave's profile


11432 posts in 3320 days

#12 posted 03-16-2012 01:51 PM

We are learning with you Mike. Now go give that lovely lady some time.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3814 days

#13 posted 03-16-2012 02:01 PM

Hi Dave. We do spend a lot of time together since she doesn’t drive anymore after a botched hip operation, so I am her chauffeur. Although, since she got an iPhone for Christmas she seems a lot more interested in it than me. Something I can well understand. Now with the iPad2 prices reduced I plan to get her one of those for her birthday in June so she can read the news on a bigger screen. She is also playing Word Feud all day with various family members. In case you haven’t heard about it, it’s like scrabble, but on the net and you can play with your contacts. Otherwise she reads mystery novels and does crosswords. She should have been a detective, I can’t get away with anything around here!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View MyChipCarving's profile


646 posts in 3605 days

#14 posted 03-16-2012 03:49 PM

Your wife has her projects and you have yours! Good plan.
It seems to work that way in my home too :-)

Happy wife, happy life!

-- Marty,, 866-444-6996

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3814 days

#15 posted 03-16-2012 05:16 PM

So true Marty. I get the feeling from LJ members that many woodworkers tend to have a good home life, probably because they mostly stay home to enjoy their free time instead of just being away with their buddies.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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