A wooden globe of the planet Earth

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Forum topic by JimArnoldChess posted 05-12-2010 06:26 PM 6772 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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210 posts in 3907 days

05-12-2010 06:26 PM

I received a request to make a globe of the Earth for a university library and they want it out of wood about 2’ in diameter.

I don’t have a clue…you folks have any suggestions?




15 replies so far

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 4698 days

#1 posted 05-12-2010 06:29 PM

Now thats going to be quite the project very good luck on it.
But I havent a clue how to help on this one.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4918 days

#2 posted 05-12-2010 06:29 PM

I think i recall one in a lumberjocks projects. Quick search would probably find it.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 3868 days

#3 posted 05-12-2010 06:57 PM

Now that sounds like a fun project, and probably a large commission.

How to do it … I can think of three ways:

  1. turn a big ball, and then carve/inlay … obviously, you would need a good sized lathe to do this.
  2. make a big polygon kind of like a geodesic dome. the smaller the pieces, the rounder it will be. you might be able to start with a blow up ball/balloon to give your globe the right shape.
  3. the lego approach … make small “bricks” out of different species of wood (or dye some maple different colors). glue them together in a sphere with different colors of wood to form continents and possibly countries. again, you could use a ball of some sort as a form, or you could cut a layout curve from a piece of plywood and use that as your template.
View miserybob's profile


88 posts in 3957 days

#4 posted 05-12-2010 07:14 PM

A fellow LJ did something similar recently… flat, not spherical, but maybe she has advice…

View JasonIndy's profile


189 posts in 4348 days

#5 posted 05-12-2010 07:26 PM

Not sure how much effort you’re willing to put in, but my parents have a globe and each country on the globe is represented by a small piece of semi-precious stone native to that particular country. It would be neat to do something like that with wood.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


19815 posts in 4589 days

#6 posted 05-12-2010 07:28 PM

Do it like this :-))

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

View araldite's profile


188 posts in 4317 days

#7 posted 05-12-2010 08:44 PM

I’ve seen hollow spheres made using segmented turning techniques. In simple terms, it’s two matching bowels that becomes a sphere when glued together and trimmed up. It takes experience and I’ve never seen one 2 feet.

Getting the continents on there I guess is theoretically possible using segments but probably very difficult in practice. Painting them on or decoupaging might work.

That’s my best guess. Good luck.

-- Failure is the road to success if you learn to learn from your mistakes - Vince, Greenville, SC

View Clarence's profile


125 posts in 4019 days

#8 posted 05-12-2010 08:54 PM

It would seem that the way to do this project will depend on how it’s supposed to look when it’s done. If it’s supposed to look like Marco’s, then you’d probably need to do it the way Marco did it (however in hell that was). If it’s supposed to just be a big wooden ball with lines and blobs and colors, etc., then maybe we need to figure out how to build a big wooden ball.

A week or so ago someone here posted a fascinating video of a guy who was transforming wooden cubes into wooden spheres. The guy had a router bit mounted dead center and perpendicular beneath a hole in a board or table, just barely penetrating the bottom plane of the hole. The hole was smaller than any dimension of the cube–maybe half as wide. (There may be some math there that I’m missing). By holding the cube in the hole and turning it in all directions, the router bit removed everything that wasn’t round. Voila!! Le ball!

Perhaps that technique could be used: glue up a two-foot cube (room for a lot of imagination here), and rotate it over a router bit beneath a six or eight inch hole in a board. Don’t have any other plans for a couple of hours. Much of the center mass could be hogged out before or during glue-up to reduce weight, and the corners hogged off with a Lancelot. Crude, but it should work.

-- Getting old is a good thing, but being old kinda stinks.

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 4698 days

#9 posted 05-12-2010 09:54 PM

Topamax- I believe you have the correct answer there. After thinking about it, maybe a glue up of thin pieces like making plywood but using a form then cutting them like it shows in the artical on how he made the sphere.
That is going to be one heck of a cool project.
Again good luck

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View JimArnoldChess's profile


210 posts in 3907 days

#10 posted 05-12-2010 09:58 PM

Thanks for your help everybody!!!

The globe made by Marco Aurelio R. Guimaraes, pointed out above by TopamaxSurvivor is truly remarkable.


Thanks Again Everyone,



View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


19815 posts in 4589 days

#11 posted 05-12-2010 11:15 PM

That is truly remarkable!! I would like to make one someday, but it won’t be in that league; maybe little league ;-))

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

View MDeSchepper's profile


37 posts in 3985 days

#12 posted 05-12-2010 11:35 PM

I don’t know if it’s ever been attempted but my first thought was not on the lathe, but rather create a modified “Potter’s Wheel” that would maybe allow you to turn it in a vertical axis, that way you aren’t fighting the weight of it if you decide to turn a solid piece. If you decide to create by segmenting as mentioned by “araldite” you could still turn on the “Potter’s Wheel due to the large diameter of the piece. Anyways, just a thought, not necessarily a good one.

-- Mark DeSchepper -- The things I make may be for gifts for others, but making them is a gift to myself.

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

419 posts in 3995 days

#13 posted 05-12-2010 11:48 PM

Remember that the inside is not seen, so it does not need to be completely hollow. You can have supports inside to help hold the whole thing together.

Sounds like a fun project.

-- Steve

View Charles Wilson's profile

Charles Wilson

18 posts in 4684 days

#14 posted 05-13-2010 05:18 AM


Back in Jan/Feb of 79 in issue 14 on page 61 of Fine Woodworking there is a setup to do just what your looking for.


View rance's profile


4274 posts in 4073 days

#15 posted 08-13-2011 06:07 PM

So how did this turn out? Sam would also be a good person to ask(I know, this was over a year ago).

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

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