How to Make Wooden Balls on a Wood Turning Lathe

What You'll Need
Wooden block (approximately twice as large as the wooden ball that you'll end up with)
Protective eye wear and face mask
Wood lathe
Chisel with an angle nose
Sandpaper of various grits

A wood turning lathe has a wide range of uses in any garage shop. If you're interested in shaping wood into different designs for use around the home or in other projects, there are many different types of attachments that you can purchase for the lathe in order to customize your work. One of the most popular projects to work on is the creation of a wooden ball. Balls can be used for a variety of functions, including as knobs for dressers, cabinets and other drawers, on stair posts and other areas throughout the home, and more. Read on for a brief guide on how to turn a wooden ball using a wood lathe.

Step 1 -- Use the Jigsaw

Begin by standing your block upright. If one end is longer than the others, that end should be vertical so that the block is as tall as possible. Put on your protective eye wear and face mask and set up the jigsaw. Carefully saw off one corner of the wooden block with the jigsaw, ensuring that you don't cut into the area in which the ball will be formed. Repeat this for the other corners so that you end up with a column that has an octagonal appearance when viewed from above.

Step 2 -- Repeat For the Other Sides

Turn the wooden block onto its side and repeat the process from step 1 for the other sides of the jigsaw. You should end up with a smaller wooden block that has an octagonal face on either main side, as well as on the shorter sides as well. Be sure to discard any wood scraps in the appropriate places as you work.

Step 3 -- Lathe the Wood

Brace the wood in the lathe so that one of the main faces is facing the lathe itself. Brace the other end as necessary. Hold the chisel against the face closest to the lathe and begin to operate the lathe. As you do, move the chisel gently from the end of the face into the center in a circular motion. This will result in a rounded side for that portion of the block.

Step 4 -- Repeat For the Other Side

Repeat step 3 for the opposite side as well. Once you've completed that, look back at the block of wood and determine how your progress is so far. If the ball appears to be more oblong than it should be, go back to the side with extra wood and shave off a bit more using the lathe. With practice, you'll become better at creating a perfectly round ball on the first try.

Step 5 -- Finish the Ball

Finally, treat the ball with sandpaper to smooth out any remaining rough patches or to help level off the roundness of the ball.