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STEFANG'S CHINESE BALL QUEST #10: Started the new ball today with some changes

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Blog entry by stefang posted 883 days ago 3816 reads 2 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Having a Ball (or at least making one) Part 10 of STEFANG'S CHINESE BALL QUEST series no next part

Here is what I’m trying to make.

I drilled the small holes in the ball today and turned the first large one.

The small holes are different this time
I decided to not do the little collar around the holes until after I’m finished with all the other turning. I don’t know how well this will work out, but it’s worth a try. Previously the collars got messed up by the tool holders while turning the inner layers of the large hole, doing a lot of damage. This new procedure is to prevent that from happening. Here’s a photo of it.

What would we do without tape
Before turning the large hole, I decided to put some masking tape over the the small holes, again to prevent damage. I figure this would also protect in between the holes and prevent some scraping/compression problems I had in that area before. Here it is all taped up.This worked very well and I experienced no damage at all this time.

I finally made a plug that fit properly
I was going to use Yuri’s method with a stepped plug and wax seal. After thinking it over a bit, the thought occurred to me that Yuri is probably using different sized drills to make his large holes with. That means the hole walls are straight (90degrees), while my holes are made with a tapered cutter the the hole edges are also tapered. That makes a tapered plug a better fit.

If you recall I was having a lot of problems making a plug that would actually fit the hole. After checking some old plugs closely, I found that for starters the plugs were too short. In addtition to that, I used the bottom diameter suggested in the book, but I found that the actual hole diameters were a bit larger. So now I will make each plug from actual hole measurements (duh) and use the plug turning procedure I showed before. Here it is again in case you didn’t see it.

Getting the plug in is easy, but getting it out again requires rocket surgery
As you can see from the photo I did get a good fit, and all the way to the bottom this time. The plug has good contact with every layer now and hopefully will hold everything in place while I turn the other Holes. After plugging the hole, a small hole is drilled in the center of the plug to accept a small screw which acts as a handle for removal purposes. I just put it in for the pic, but I won’t be using it until completely finished with the ball.

Chinese ball turning requires a wide flat tool rest
The toolrest has to be flat and wide to support the special turning tools at exactly the right height (cutter tip perfectly centered) and therefore requires a special toolrest.

I didn’t want to make a whole new toolrest so I adapted the one I have. The pictures below tell the story pretty well. I did have to drill a couple of mounting holes in my stock toolrest. The rest is just a piece of wood with a thin slice from a counter top. I had to cut a bevel on the wood mount to get the counter top piece level. The counter top bit is held on with carpet tape for easy change out. I do plan to make a new one soon that is wider, but this one works well as long as I remember not to push down on the handle of the turning tool while cutting.

That’s all the minutia I have for today. I hope I get a chance to continue tomorrow, so if I do I will let you know how it’s going. Thanks for reading. Here are the links to the series.

http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/27858 #1
http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/27938 #2
http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/28079 #3
http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/28240 #4
http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/28512 #5
http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/28536 #6
http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/28866 #7
http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/28905 #8
http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/28944 #9

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.



17 comments so far

View patron's profile

patron

13000 posts in 1965 days


#1 posted 883 days ago

back in the saddle again

paul had mentioned something before
in an earlier post
about the holes and plugs
that i keep thinking about

since you made the cutters for the various levels of hollowing out
why can’t you make a set for drilling the stepped or tapered holes
that chucks into the tail stock
with a matching one for the plugs
with a stop on the tail stock rail
to keep them all the same in depth
and centered precisely

not being a turner
i don’t know if this would work or not
but in my razor dull (after many shaves) brain
it seems like it might help
to keep all the holes consistent

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View stefang's profile

stefang

12860 posts in 1958 days


#2 posted 883 days ago

Hi David. Your suggestion is good and I’m sure you and Paul probably are right, but to be honest my metal working experience is almost non-existent, and what you are proposing would probably be beyond my modest skills.Besides, I am not fond of sawing metal. The tapered holes are actually more accurate than the impression I might have given. This latest plug worked great. It’s stuck in there like it’s glued, but it’s not, and I didn’t even use tape on it. So I will stick with this method until it proves wrong (That may take a day or two).

Thank you for trying to help me out. I may have to resort to that idea at a later date!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dave's profile

Dave

11149 posts in 1464 days


#3 posted 883 days ago

A different approach and new jigs. I think you are on solid ground Mike. Keep us posted.
Have you seen my chisels? I cant find them;)

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View stefang's profile

stefang

12860 posts in 1958 days


#4 posted 883 days ago

Yes Dave, solid ground. The best place to be as the ship sinks. You are paranoid! I’m still here in Norway and you are already hiding your chisels (I don’t blame you).

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SuburbanDon's profile

SuburbanDon

482 posts in 1618 days


#5 posted 883 days ago

Crazy. That is all I can say.

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

View mafe's profile

mafe

9475 posts in 1713 days


#6 posted 883 days ago

You are wonderful Mike!
Love your ‘never give up’ spirit.
(Thank you for that wonderful mail, I’m still smiling and thinking).
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View stefang's profile

stefang

12860 posts in 1958 days


#7 posted 882 days ago

Thanks Mads, please let my wife know. I wish I could lay claim to being a ‘never say die’ type of guy, but I am actually enjoying this experience even with all the problems and mishaps along the way, or maybe even because of them. I will be in the shop today finishing up the other holes. If all goes well (it rarely does for me) I will have a finished ball at the end of the day. So my hopes are high, but my expectations are low. How you look at life is all about expectations.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile

Roger

14311 posts in 1428 days


#8 posted 882 days ago

“git-er-done” Mike, “git-er-done”

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View stefang's profile

stefang

12860 posts in 1958 days


#9 posted 882 days ago

Thanks for the encouragement Roger. I did get it done today, but not in quite the way you mean. I had turned 6 holes finished and plugged and WHAM!!! The ball went out of balance on the 7th hole and got destroyed. This was my own fault. This project has really changed me. I’m not even upset about it. Of course I’m not elated either.

The inner rim of the collar on my ball chuck has some small pieces of sandpaper double taped around the circumference to keep the ball from slipping out of balance. When the collar is tightened around the ball this sandpaper tends to creep outwards. I didn’t notice that several of them had slipped all the way out from the previous hole when I tightened the collar. That’s all it took.

This doesn’t discourage me. I have now solved the plug problem and that part went great, in fact everything went great and I would have succeeded this time if I had just paid closer attention. It was fun to feel in control for once, at least until I wasn’t in control! Now I need to get some new wood, I hope tomorrow.down before I finish this.

This kind of thing has happened to me before. I get so caught up with the thought of reaching the finish line that I lose focus and something goes wrong. I wonder if others do that?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dave's profile

Dave

11149 posts in 1464 days


#10 posted 882 days ago

Yep all the time Mike. The one that gets me the most is when the construction is over and the finishing starts. They say at that time you are only 50% complete on the project. You can rush good finish.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View stefang's profile

stefang

12860 posts in 1958 days


#11 posted 882 days ago

So true Dave. I wish I was better at finishes, but I just don’t like working with them, and that is probably sure sign that I don’t know much about the subject.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4896 posts in 1422 days


#12 posted 882 days ago

You got this Mike. Nothing like a little failure to hone the skills. Failure after all is nothing more than a necessary step to success…... for the intrepid anyway.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View stefang's profile

stefang

12860 posts in 1958 days


#13 posted 881 days ago

Not too sure about ‘intrepid’ Paul, but I am hanging in there. Yesterday was unfortunate because all went well up to the 7th hole. Sounds almost like golf, and at least as frustrating. One big thing that I was very pleased with was the plugs. I’m relieved about that problem being solved. I found that I can accurately measure the diameter of the holes at the various levels using the shaft of different sized drill bits. Quick and easy.

I cut the destroyed ball in half on the band saw just to see how it looked inside. Everything was good. Today I went to my local woodworking store and got some maple to make more balls with. I now feel that the next ball will be successful since I can’t think of any more ‘learning points’ needed.

I would have been further along if I hadn’t had the problems with the first two unsuccessful ball chucks. I feel, with this project, that I am operating in the world of quantum physics. Kind of like a bull in a china shop.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View mafe's profile

mafe

9475 posts in 1713 days


#14 posted 777 days ago

Laughed when I saw this one.

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View stefang's profile

stefang

12860 posts in 1958 days


#15 posted 776 days ago

Hi Mads. It looks great and only costs $1,000,000 to get the job done!

BTW I haven’t given up on my Chinese ball project. I have to make new cutting tools. The book suggested using cheap chisels. I tried that, but it was too hard for me to work. I could of course anneal the steel, work it and re-harden it, but I need to get a bigger blow torch for that. I could just buy the tools ready made, but I don’t like that option.

I hope you are still having fun with your Japanese woodworking.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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