Simple Wood Faceplates For Perfect Balls Or Spheres

Faceplates for Turning Wood BallsIn my last video I turned a couple of wood balls to overcome a long running phobia – a concern that I could ever turn a perfect wood sphere. But I did it.

One requirement was to have a process that I described in that video. However, part of the process required a set of wood faceplates. In this video, I show making one of these simple faceplates that are threaded to fit the tailstock live center and have a tenon with which to mount it to the headstock spindle. Either faceplate can go on either end of the lathe. This makes them interchangeable.

My faceplates are made from poplar and left unfinished.

These faceplates made ball turning simple.

The last video in this series will take the process to an extreme.

4 Responses to “Simple Wood Faceplates For Perfect Balls Or Spheres”

  1. Jon Murphy says:

    Hi Alan,

    I do have a question. What have you found to be a practical size range for the “socket” on the faceplates in relation to the size of the ball in order to grip it well and yet not leave too much to round off when you re-orient it. For instance, I was working with some small scrap tonight and came up with a 1 3/4″ ball, but my smallest face plate socket is 3/4″ – that is 43% of the ball, far too big.

    I could experiment to find the practical ranges, but if you already have done so there is no sense in re-inventing the wheel. My guess is that about 15% of the diameter of the ball would be a minimum to grip it, and about 30% a maximum so as not to have too much to round off. The object is to make a few face plates that cover a range of balls – I tend to grab whatever scrap I have. Best, Jon

    • Alan says:

      The beauty of using wood faceplates is that if the faceplate is too big, you can easily turn it a little bit smaller. If you need one that is bigger, then take a break and make a bigger one. If one gets too small, glue on some more wood and make it bigger.
      In the end you’ll probably end up with 2-3 that cover your range. So far, I have 2 sets.
      I hesitate to say a % of diameter since it matters less and less as the diameter increases.

  2. I would like to know where I canpurchase wood face pltes already made. or buy

    Thank You

    Harold Roseno I am just trying teach my self how to d wood lathe work. I deo some wood working.

    • Alan says:

      No one sells them that I know of.
      They’re too easy to make for yourself to the size you want.
      All you need to purchase is the tap sized for your lathe.
      Good Turning
      Alan Stratton