Routers are just like any other power tools, they are dangerous if mishandled. Therefore, before we delve deep into how to make wooden balls with a router, let us first acquaint ourselves with router usage basics:
- Read through all the safety instructions that came with the router
- Wear protective gear such as ear protection, no matter how short you plan to route since the high pitched sound from the router will leave your ears ringing for a long time.
- Never try to do an operation which you are not familiar with. You need to be confident when operating a router. Try to do little by little and practice then with time you will be able to handle tasks that were challenging before.
- Ensure you are familiar with the collet and router bit safety procedures so as to avoid any damages or injuries.
- Ensure you comprehend how to work with templates and guide bushes. Furthermore, adhere to all general machine usage guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
Why Make Wooden Balls?
You may be wondering whether it is really necessary to make wooden balls and how useful they really are. Well, wooden balls have diverse uses. They may be used by some people for a variety of purposes such as decorations in wicker baskets and with some paint and ribbon they may be converted to holiday ornaments. They are also used by others for outdoor games such as croquet or nine pins. You even get some rounded wooden craft balls in dolls or statues acting as heads. They also act as centers in custom-made baseballs.
Notwithstanding your reason for making the wooden ball, you need to be very patient. This type of project requires special tools and some extra skills unlike other routing projects. Take proper care and be cautious during the process and you will get a well-rounded wooden ball in return for all the effort.
- The wood router
- Wooden block
- Sanding paper
- Face mask
- Eye protection eg goggles
- Chisel ideally the angle-nose chisel
- Select a wooden block which should be preferably twice as large as the final wooden ball you need. If for instance, you need a 4-inch ball, choose an 8-inch wooden square block. Using blocks that are twice as wide and thrice as long will also deliver the best results. In this case the wooden block will be 8 inches wide and 12 inches long.
- Put on the protective gear, that is, the face mask and the goggles. Balance the wooden block on one edge such that the other edge sits parallel with the running blade of the jigsaw. Saw off the parallel edge until you get a flat surface. Do this several times until you get a final octagonal column from the block.
- The next step is to saw away the edges of the flat ends of the block so that you get a three-dimensional polygon from the octagonal column. This will result in an 18 faced-polygon.
- Place one end of the polygon at the center of the router brace and screw the other side of the brace fast to the end of the wood. Start the router and hold the chisel in a flat position against the wood end. While pressing gently, move the chisel from the wood end to its center in a half-circle movement. Do this continuously until you get a perfectly smooth texture on that side of the wood.
- Repeat step 4 on the remaining half of the wood block. Once both sides of the wood block are perfectly smooth, take some few steps backwards and look at the ball. If it does not look perfectly circular, probably, flat at the middle, or may be more oval than circular, saw off some more wood on both sides. Push harder until you create a deeper angle.
- You can now begin sanding the wooden ball. Sand the ball’s body using coarse sandpaper and finish it off with fine sandpaper.
- Stop the router and remove your ball. Using the jigsaw cut off the wood stubs on both ends of the wooden ball and smoothen them with sandpaper. Your wooden ball is now ready.
With these simple steps in mind you now know how to make wooden balls with a router. There are so many things that can be done with a router. This highly versatile tool is popular with many woodworkers, professionals and amateurs alike. If you are a beginner there is plenty to look forward to when you acquire your first router. Just ensure you buy the router that will suit your projects and future plans.
In a nut-shell, there are various types of wood routers in the market currently:
- Laminate trimmers
- Low-powered or light-weight routers (7/8 to 1- 1/2 HP )
- Medium-powered routers (1-3/4 to 2-1/4 HP)
- High powered routers (3 to 4HP)
Each of these routers has its unique uses. For instance, with the laminate trimmers you can use them for trimming and other light tasks such as making hinge mortises. These types of trimmers are easy to use and use small router bits. With the 7/8 to 1-1/2 HP routers you can spin router bits of up to ½ inch radius. For the highly powered routers, they are ideal for plunging large bits deeper into wood especially hardwood when making mortises and other tasks.
Take home tips:
- Use at all times router tips that are made of high quality carbide tips. They can be re-sharpened so many times and never burn up easily.
- If you are to buy one woodrouter choose the 2-1/4 HP router since it is light enough and hence ideal for most bench-top tasks. You can also use it in a router table.
- Ensure the router’s handles are comfortable enough since you will be hanging onto the router when working on it.
- Buy a router with a soft start-up. This is a safety consideration for stationary as well as hand-held wood routers.