Turning wooden balls on a drill powered lathe is almost impossible. But the truth is that I have never needed to make wooden balls for any of my woodworking projects. But one day I saw a machine that makes small bead balls. The thing is that those machines are something similar to mounting a drill press vertically over a lathe. So I decided to move the drill press table to one side, and to put the lathe under the drill press chuck.
Now I just need a hole saw drill bit and a nice piece of wood.
Then, I have to set the lathe under the hole saw in such a way that the centre bit (that drill bit inside the hole saw) is perfectly aligned with the turning axis of the lathe. And after I align it I must move that centre bit away. I just need the outside part of the hole saw.
This woodworking trick won’t work if I leave the centre bit in place.
And now the idea is quite simple: If I turn the workpiece with the lathe, and I turn the drill press on and I move down the hole saw, then I “carve” the wooden ball.
You can watch the whole process in the video.
Despite the surface of the wooden ball is not very nice, I am sure I would get a better surface with a better quality lathe. But anyway, I am sure I would need to sand the wooden ball surface.
I could sand the wooden ball before I remove it. But if I don’t “carve” it until the ball falls, then I don’t get a perfect wooden sphere.
Even so, sure I can leave something like 5 mm of wood to each side of the wooden sphere so I can sand the wooden ball while it turns on the lathe. After that I could use a saw to cut the sides of the ball, because if I use the hole saw once again I would ruin the surface.
As I mentioned before, I never had to make wooden balls in my woodworking projects, but it comes to mind to make a simple bowling set. Or maybe a petanque set, but they should be more heavy. Or if we make very small balls, we can make some wooden beads.
Or we can stop turning half the way to make a wooden dice.