How to make wooden balls with the lathe

How to make wooden balls

The truth is that I never needed to make wooden balls for any project, but one day I looked at some machines to make wooden spheres and beads. These machines are similar to the union of a drill press and a lathe, so I decided to put aside the column drill table and put my drill lathe under the chuck.

Now I only needed a hole saw for wood and a good piece of wood.

Then, the lathe needs to be adjusted under the holesaw so that the centering bit inside the holesaw is aligned with the rotation axis of the workpiece. And after I set the alignment, I have to remove the centering bit from the inside of the holesaw.


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

And now the idea is quite simple. The lathe rotates the wood, and by spinning the holesaw with the drill press, and lowering it against that wood, the holesaw carves a wood ball.

Wooden ball already loose

In the video you can see the full process. And although the surface of the wooden ball that I get is not very good, I am sure that with a better quality lathe I would get a better surface. Although I should still have to sand it.

Wooden ball ready for sanding

You could sand the ball a bit before removing it from the lathe. Although if I don't cut it completely before sanding, I won't get an absolutely perfect wooden ball.

Still, I'm sure that I can leave about half a centimetre uncut on each side of the wooden ball so I can sand the wood ball while it's still on the lathe. And then I should have to remove the ball by cutting that half centimeter with a saw, since if I use the holesaw again, I could ruin the surface I have just sand.

Half-turned wooden ball to make a dice

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

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


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