on Friday, June 28th, 2013 | 4 Comments
|One project during a week long woodturning class a few years ago was a wood ball using a jamb chuck. I failed miserably to get the ball smooth. It ended up very rough and out of round. With this failure, I feared being able to make a good ball.
Since then, I’ve looked for a jig or a process to turn a perfect ball or sphere. I doubted I could do it myself. I looked at commercial jigs – expensive and plans for DIY jigs – difficult to make and potentially inaccurate.
More recently, I watch Dale Larson and Alan Lacer both turn perfect balls using only simple faceplates. Now I can do this.
Here’s the process I used:
- Make two faceplates with small cup centers. I’ll make another video to describe these.
- Turn a cylinder between centers a little longer than the target diameter of the ball.
- Measure the cylinder diameter and transfer this to the side of the cylinder.
- Mark the mid line of the cylinder.
- Part down outside the end lines leaving only a small tenon on each side of the ball.
- Round over the cylinder corners into an approximate ball shape.
- Saw off the two end tenons.
- Mount the two faceplates to the headstock and tailstock
- Mount the ball between the two faceplates with the axis rotated 90 degrees. The mid line now runs across the ball from one faceplate to the other.
- Carefully cut and/or scrape the ball to eliminate the ghost image on the back side of the ball as it rotates, making sure to leave the pencil line running from side to side.
- Draw a new mid line.
- Rotate the ball so that the new mid line runs from faceplate to faceplate.
- Repeat step 10.
- If I’ve cut too deeply, repeat steps 10 thru 12 until the ball is perfectly round.
- Sand repeating steps 10 thru 12 using sandpaper instead of a cutting tool for each grit
- Apply finish (I used beeswax and mineral oil) repeating steps 10 thru 12 using finish.
After a couple of balls, I could make another ball in very little time.
Success – my ball turning phobia is gone.
My next video will describe the faceplates for turning wood balls.
Another video will take the process to a new extreme.