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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Wooden Shells for Multiplying Billiard Balls (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Bill Hegbli
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Fort Wayne, Indiana
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I found some nice 2" hardwood balls at the local wood working shop. I would like to make a shell to go with the set.

Does anyone know what size wooden ball the shell should be made out of to fit nicely. I know it is not 2" because I have tried that, wasted a lot of time for nothing.
Stanyon
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Landrum, S.C. by way of Chicago
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Bill -

Doing some comparison measurements, between Fakini's and some others I have, it looks like you would need a ball that is at least 1/8 inch large to be able to turn the shell. I don't think that you can turn an existing ball for the shell. The shell would have to be done from scratch.

I'm sure an expert will appear shortly.

Cheers! Smile
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
Michael Baker
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Well, if you think about it, the inside diameter of the shell must be larger than 2" in order to fit over the ball, including a minimal amount of free space, so it doesn't jam. This means the outside diameter must logically be larger than that.

I'd imagine that you'd need to start with at least a 2 1/4" ball. This will give you 1/8" on opposing sides for both the shell wall and the slack space.

Many wooden shells are actually turned, not into true hemispheres, but slightly elongated. From the front they will be perfectly round, let's assume the dimension is "X".

From the profile view (assume dimesion "Y"), they will be more than than half the width of the front view (Y > 1/2X).

This allows the shell to wrap more fully around the sides of the ball, while maintaining a thicker center area of the ball. This is simply for strength, so the shell does not crush easily. Wooden shells are not as close tolerance as say metal or plastic. The edges are very thin, but the walls gradually thicken toward the center.

You did not mention how you are hollowing out the shell.

Ideally, you would need to turn the shells from a solid piece of wood that you can chuck. Draw your plans showing the profile view of the ball fitting within the shell. From these, make templates for both the inside and outside profiles of the shell, so you can check your turning as you go.

If you have a method for chucking a solid ball, or even a half ball, that will put you ahead of the curve, but I don't have the means to do that, nor do I know if it can effectively be done.

Papasmurf or angeloturn should chime in here and give their advice for turning. The technique for ball vases should be very similar to this.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Bill Hegbli
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Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Thanks guys, you will not believe this but I actually dig out the shell with a Dremel tool, I have successfully done this previously and it works for a one time shot. I see that I can get 2-1/4" ball or half balls on the net. Being the shell must be elongated, then I will have to saw the ball beyond the mid point and start there.

Your point about the side thickness put me on a better path.
Michael Baker
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Sounds like a real task you're undertaking! Good luck!
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Bill Hegbli
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No it only takes 2 hours or so with Dremel round ball end bit. Careful study and thinking in 3D.

I don't plan on makeing a lot of them only 2 for a hand made set of wood balls. I want to try the suggestion of dipping in 2 different types of paint as suggested by Ganson, Buckingham, or McMillian. I have to dig out that book again. To see if it really does give a tacky finish.
Rob Pond
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Scott, OH
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Bill,
I just looked at the wooden set I got at Stoners, and it appears you can use the 2" ball, the trick seems to be not cutting the ball exactly in half for the shell. It appears that you want a shell made from about 5/8 of the whole ball. This makes the shell not sit quit as nice as a Fakini, but it also makes the edge almost invisible.
Michael Baker
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Still won't work. Check your wood balls and shell with an inside and outside caliper and it will become clear.

A shell must have an outside diameter and an inside diameter. Without using the cup gag of the inside being larger than the outside, the opposite must be true. Further, the INSIDE diameter of the shell MUST be larger than the outside diameter of the solid ball or it won't fit.

Using 5/8 of a ball the same size would actually make the problem worse. Once you go past the halfway point, the diameter of what will become the opening begins to decrease. This would create an undercut, making it impossible for the solid ball to fit within the shell. The key is to begin with a piece (solid ball, half ball or hunk of wood) that is larger than the ball, hollow the inside of that piece to accept the solid ball, and, assuming you are tooled to do it, then bring down the outside to as close a tolerance as the material can handle.

The dimensions are close in order to get as nice a fit as you want, but they are not identical.
~michael baker
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Bill Hegbli
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I already tried to make a multiplying egg set with the Nielsen wooden eggs. They were the same size. Mr. Baker is correct, after I had hollowed the inside of the to fit the whole egg, I could not go any further inside the shell or the shell would start to become narrower in size.

So making of the shell does require a larger ball or egg to get deeper inside without making the shell narrower.

Mr. Baker's point of have enough wood on the side to start to surround the whole ball requires the 1/4" increase, because we are dealing with each side of the ball or the circumference. Then this will still have enough wood on the outer shell to thin down to gradually blend with the whole ball.

I have bought several set of the German wood balls from Stoner's over the years. They are just to slippery as everyone else can attest to on the Café and in person. I did not want to buy a set and spend the time with paint remover, just to then try the method of painting printed in books.

I was thinking of just painting the solid balls, but I have decided to attempt to make my own shells as well.
Michael Baker
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The German wood balls have a lesser quality paint finish on them now than they did many years ago. The newer ones ARE slippery.
~michael baker
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Rob Pond
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I worked with the german wood balls for a couple of years before I went to Fakinis, and I never had any problem with them as long as I keep the balls warm. For the balls that were not body load that would get cold before I would be performing, I would wipe with a tack cloth (available at any paint or hardware store) and then rub off most of the tack. This would give the wood just enough grip to work for me.

Michael,
I got my billiards out and had my grandfather (he used to work at a tap and die factory so he has the fancy precision measurements devices) measure them and the shell is the same diameter as the regular ball. It all has to do with how it is placed onto the ball. the shell doesn't go to the middle of the ball and this allows it to be the same size. With the shell also being bigger than half it hides the seam even better than Fakini.
Michael Baker
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If the edge of the shell doesn't go to the center line of the solid ball, that would work, but it's the only way it would.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On 2009-08-20 18:53, Michael Baker wrote:
The German wood balls have a lesser quality paint finish on them now than they did many years ago. The newer ones ARE slippery.


I bought my 1st set around 1960 and they were the same then as they are today. Glossy finish, and very slippery.
Michael Baker
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Quote:
On 2009-08-21 00:07, wmhegbli wrote:
Quote:
On 2009-08-20 18:53, Michael Baker wrote:
The German wood balls have a lesser quality paint finish on them now than they did many years ago. The newer ones ARE slippery.


I bought my 1st set around 1960 and they were the same then as they are today. Glossy finish, and very slippery.


Interesting... I got my first set in the late 1960's, and the paint finish is thicker and has a better cling to it. I got some more sets about 10 years later and they were good, too. Then, I bought some more sometime in the late 80's - early 90's and the paint was so thin you could see the wood grain through the paint. They didn't have the same cling. I had to use a rosin bag so I wouldn't drop them.

On sets that I made for myself, I used spray enamel with clear coats on top. All together, each ball had up to 20+ coats. They work well.

I'm curious about using a shellac finish, as was mentioned here on another thread. I've never tried it, but would like to test the cling.

In the past few years as I get older, my hands are drier, so I've taken the easier route, and mostly use Fakini.
~michael baker
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angeloturn
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Mike Baker,

You are 100% correct. I use templates for turning both the inside and outside of the shells. For the pillboxes I switched to store bought 2" solid balls. I allow 1/32" clearance on the inside and turn the shells to 1/16" thckness so the outside diameter is 2" plus 1/16" plus 1/16" plus 1/32" gives an minimum outside diameter of 2 5/32". I taper the edge toward the center

The probelm with store bought solid balls is that they are rarely perfectly round. Many manufacturers turn them slightly green so when they dry the go slightly oval. So that with such tight tolerances they can jam in the shell. Turn them 90 degrees and the fit you want is there

I've just turned a set of billiard balls for a fellow here on the Café' . I turned all of the solid balls and the shell since the diameter of the solid ball requested is 2 1/8"

I'll try to post a picture

A
Leave no wood unturned.....A
angeloturn
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Here is a pic of the 6 billard Balls

A

Click here to view attached image.
Leave no wood unturned.....A
angeloturn
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Here is a pic to expose the shell

A

Click here to view attached image.
Leave no wood unturned.....A
angeloturn
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Mike Baker,

You are 100% correct. I use templates for turning both the inside and outside of the shells. For the pillboxes I switched to store bought 2" solid balls. I allow 1/32" clearance on the inside and turn the shells to 1/16" thckness so the outside diameter is 2" plus 1/16" plus 1/16" plus 1/32" gives an minimum outside diameter of 2 5/32". I taper the edge toward the center

The probelm with store bought solid balls is that they are rarely perfectly round. Many manufacturers turn them slightly green so when they dry the go slightly oval. So that with such tight tolerances they can jam in the shell. Turn them 90 degrees and the fit you want is there

I've just turned a set of billiard balls for a fellow here on the Café' . I turned all of the solid balls and the shell since the diameter of the solid ball requested is 2 1/8"

I'll try to post a picture

A
Leave no wood unturned.....A
Michael Baker
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Angelo,

I'd love to see them. Judging from your other work, I bet they are as good or better than anything that has even been on the market.

~michael
~michael baker
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Conus
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Try fiberglass or Bondo... you would need to build up the surface of a sample ball and apply the material over that. Allow to harden & then remove the shell. Trim and sand as needed before painting.

Good luck!
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