One of my Balls

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Project by rance posted 724 days ago 2127 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


14124 posts in 2091 days

#1 posted 724 days ago

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


2008 posts in 1527 days

#2 posted 724 days ago

Beautiful work!

-- Dreaming patterns

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6642 posts in 2480 days

#3 posted 724 days ago

Hi Rance;

Great job on that.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View SPalm's profile


4617 posts in 2383 days

#4 posted 724 days ago

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


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


14591 posts in 1368 days

#5 posted 724 days ago

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

10245 posts in 1606 days

#6 posted 724 days ago

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!!

View ShopTinker's profile


870 posts in 1269 days

#7 posted 724 days ago

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


13062 posts in 1305 days

#8 posted 724 days ago

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


193 posts in 1164 days

#9 posted 724 days ago

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

7447 posts in 2553 days

#10 posted 723 days ago

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


2575 posts in 1519 days

#11 posted 723 days ago

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


12942 posts in 1194 days

#12 posted 723 days ago

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 758 days

#13 posted 723 days ago

Very cool.

-- Benjamen Johnson, Burbs of Minneapolis

View CharlieM1958's profile


15544 posts in 2719 days

#14 posted 723 days ago

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


6288 posts in 1115 days

#15 posted 723 days ago

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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