How to make wooden balls with the lathe

How to make wooden balls

The truth is that I never needed to make wooden beads for any project, but one day I discovered some machines to make wooden balls and beads. Those machines are similar to a combinaion of a drill press and a lathe, so I decided to move the drill press table aside and put my drill powered lathe under the drill chuck.

All I needed was a hole saw for wood and a good piece of wood.

Then, the lathe must be adjusted under the hole saw so that the centering bit, which is inside the hole saw, is aligned with the axis of rotation of the lathe. And after setting the alignment I have to remove that centering bit and leave only the hole saw.

If I forget to remove the centering bit, I cannot turn the wood ball.

And now the idea is simple. The lathe turns the wood, and by turning the hole saw and lowering it against the wood, the wood ball is carved.

Wooden ball already loose

In the video you can see how the process works. And although the surface of the wood ball I get is not very good, I am sure that with a better quality lathe I would get a better surface. Although it would still have to be sanded.

Wooden ball ready for sanding

I could sand the ball a little before removing it from the lathe. Although if I don’t cut it completely before sanding it, I won’t get a perfect wood sphere.

Still, I’m sure I can leave about half a centimeter uncut on each side so I can sand the wood ball while it’s still on the lathe. And then I would have to remove the ball by cutting that half centimeter with a hand saw, because if I use the hole saw again it would ruin the sanding.

Half-turned wooden ball for making a dice

The truth is that I don’t know what to use these simple wooden balls for, but it occurs to me that they can be used for a simple bowling game. Or maybe we can use them as petanque balls, although they have little weight. Or you could also make them much smaller for beadings.

Another option is to leave the process halfway through and make a solid wood die. Perhaps in another project.

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