Need help with spherical turned elements *PIC*

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
I occasionally have a need for some furniture part that has a spherical element. The current case is bun feet for a chest of drawers. My spherical elements never look just right.

Several years ago I faced the need for bun feet while Alan Batty was giving a class nearby. What I was making just didn't look right. I took the foot on the right to him. He chucked it up in a lathe, removed what seemed to be a whisker from just off center from each side and it was perfect. Look closely and you can see the dull band at the equator from my tool and the shiny surface from where Alan removed material toward the poles.

I was astonished at what a small difference made in appearance. I should be able to do that with his model I thought. Indeed, the ones I made at that time did look ok, but not as good as the one Alan tidied up. But, not now.

I have made 8, need 4, and none look as good as the foot on the right. I have this same problem with any part that contains a spherical element. Does anyone know of any aids to getting spherical turned elements to turn out spherically attractive?

Another puzzle. At the time, I turned bun feet in pairs. I cut the pair in two and brought just one foot to Alan. Because I had cut it I lost the center on one end. Didn't matter a bit to Alan. He chucked it approximately in the lathe. While spinning he pounded on it with a mallet(? I think a mallet). Somehow it magically centered itself. I was so in awe I forgot to ask details about what he did, and how. Does anyone know how to center a "centerless" spindle in the lathe by this means?

© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.