Ball Turning with a Small Latherom Ball Turning with a Small Latherom

What You'll Need
Small lathe
Rough out wood 4 1/2 x 5 1/2
Rough out gouge
small bowl gouge
sandpaper or vacuum sander
small handsaw
!/2" skew

Spheres or balls of wood are a decorating item made on a small lathe using skill and few small tools. They are quite the vogue item to put in bowls or just sit on tables. Here are the steps of making these balls.

Step 1 - Getting it All Ready

Using a rough cut piece of wood about 4-1/2 inches by 5-1/2 inches you will be able to make a 4 1/2 inch sphere or ball. Start out by putting the wood between the centers. using your rough out gouge, turn this wood into a spherical shape. You will have two tenons on either end made possible by the 1/2" extra on the wood. You will cut these off later.

Step 2 - Setting Up the Ball

Using your calipers measure the thickness you want the ball to be. Here it will be 4 1/2" Make two pencil marks on the globe to determine its maximum diameter. You are going to end up with waste material of about 1/2" on either side. Now use your skew like a peeler and peel off all the excess material to make it into a ball. Now use the small bowl gouge to wear off everything that doesn't look like a globe.

Step 3 - Finishing the Ball

Take the ball off the lathe and cut the tenons off with the handsaw. Now mount the ball between two cup centers. You have to rotate it 90 degrees from the way it was on the lather with the tenons attached. Start the turn on the lathe very slowly so that the ball doesn't come out from between the centers. As it turns you can see the extra material from the tenons forms a shadow. Work the shadow until it is gone. Then turn the ball 90 degrees  on the other side and continue to take away the shadow until it is gone. Make sure you are turning the lathe very slowly so as not to throw the ball of. Now it should be as round as you can make it.

To make it as beautiful as possible now you are going to sand it with sandpaper or a vacuum sander. The vacuum sander not only cleans as it sands but allows you to see the piece take shape as you work it. However, hand sanding is just as rewarding when you are finished. You can leave the wood natural or put some linseed oil on it for a deeper finish depending on the type of wood you used. And the type of finish you want.

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