One of my Balls

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Project by rance posted 04-25-2012 06:08 AM 2315 views 5 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was asked by a friend to glue up and make 30+ wooden balls from Bocote, Black Palm, Honduras Rosewood, Bloodwood, Sycamore, Mahogany, and Oak. These will be used for an art piece. They range in size from 3”(the Oak) to 9”(Sycamore). He bought the Oak ones online and I just sanded & finished those. The rest had to be milled & glued up from rough stock into suitable-sized blanks and turned.

I’ll blog more about them later but I wanted to give you a sample of a late-comer that I just finished. It is a 7.5” Bocote, glued up from 2×2 rough stock. As you might surmise, there is a bolt in the blank for fitting to the lathe in the Jacobs chuck.

They were all roughed out by hand to within 1/8” or so of final size. I then mounted my homemade ball-turner on the mini lathe and turned them down to final size. Due to the weight of these, I had to keep the tailstock in place, thus requiring the ends to be finished off by hand. The left end only left 3/4” or so, but the other end left about 3.5”. They were sanded to 400 and finished with a wipe-on Poly.

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

29 comments so far

View woodworm's profile


14141 posts in 2411 days

#1 posted 04-25-2012 06:46 AM

It’s amazing job. Can not believe my eyes they were not made out of mica or acrylic.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View deon's profile


2285 posts in 1846 days

#2 posted 04-25-2012 08:40 AM

Beautiful work!

-- Dreaming patterns

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6744 posts in 2800 days

#3 posted 04-25-2012 10:08 AM

Hi Rance;

Great job on that.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View SPalm's profile


5008 posts in 2702 days

#4 posted 04-25-2012 12:17 PM

Wow. Nice job.
I can not imagine making those.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View helluvawreck's profile


16374 posts in 1687 days

#5 posted 04-25-2012 12:30 PM

It’s very nicely done and I assume that the whole commission was a success. Nice going.


-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

12510 posts in 1926 days

#6 posted 04-25-2012 12:34 PM

Beautiful job.
Speaking of balls, at out last guild meeting we had a presentation by the creator of a 72” diameter ball that became a globe for Art Prize 2010. It was amazing to see the fixture he made to slide a router on all around this huge ball to cut it round.
I see yours and I am amazed at the accuracey at which you turned it on the lathe

It loosks perfect. did you use a radius gage?
Great project!!!

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

View ShopTinker's profile


881 posts in 1588 days

#7 posted 04-25-2012 12:39 PM

That’s a beauty. The wood grain, color, and finish are all top notch. I’d like to see that art piece when it’s completed. It’s sure to be something unique.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View Roger's profile


16078 posts in 1624 days

#8 posted 04-25-2012 01:15 PM

I was almost afraid to open this one…lol But, glad I did. Very kool. It takes a lot to make a ball. How bout a closer look at that jig for making the ball?

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View David's profile


197 posts in 1484 days

#9 posted 04-25-2012 01:18 PM

I also hesitated to open this…

I love how the grain changes around the curves on some of the larger pieces, nice job.

-- Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves possess. --Gandalf the Grey

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

8069 posts in 2872 days

#10 posted 04-25-2012 05:32 PM

Rance, Very NICE… COOL stuff!

How many Balls do you have?

Do you have a template that you use on the lathe to get that perfect circle?

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Bearpie's profile


2594 posts in 1838 days

#11 posted 04-25-2012 08:03 PM

I would like to see the set up you used on the lathe. Possible to show the whole jig? Do you use a router on the circle jig? Very cool set up, I like it!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Bertha's profile


12951 posts in 1513 days

#12 posted 04-25-2012 08:04 PM

Outstanding title. I’m still confused how you accomplished this feat. You lathe guys blow me away.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View BenjamenJohnson's profile


21 posts in 1077 days

#13 posted 04-25-2012 09:24 PM

Very cool.

-- Benjamen Johnson, Burbs of Minneapolis

View CharlieM1958's profile


15889 posts in 3038 days

#14 posted 04-26-2012 12:00 AM

Rance, that’s amazing. You need to do a blog on this ball turner of yours.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View eddie's profile


7653 posts in 1434 days

#15 posted 04-26-2012 01:05 AM

i wanted complement your balls but kept putting it in a way that could be taken the wrong way it a amazing feat to do a build like that ,those are beautiful balls

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

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