How to Whittle a Ball in a Cage


When you visit a magic shop you might find yourself looking at something that looks like a ball in a cage. This old fashioned looking toy can also be found at flea markets and any store that sells handmade toys. While you could purchase the item for yourself, you can also make one yourself at home. You need to make sure your chisel is sharp, and that you have the right type of wood, but then you’re ready to get started on creating a ball in a cage.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft wood
  • Pencil
  • Compass
  • Chisel
  • Sandpaper

Select Your Wood

  • Select a piece of wood for this project. You’ll need a soft wood that you can easily carve such as balsa wood, pine or basswood. This piece needs to be 1 inch wide, 4 inches long and 1 inch tall.

  • Use a pencil to mark your outline on the piece of wood. You need to mark where you want the ball to be by drawing a circle with a one inch diameter using a compass. Then outline where you’ll cut the area around the ball, leaving a border of one to two inches on all edges.

  • Remove the excess wood by chiseling away all of the wood between your ball outline and the lines you marked on the edges. The easiest way to do this is to start with one side and work down one to two inches before turning to another side. Eventually you’ll have only the small ball shape left in the center of your block.

  • Trim the ball down by slowly and carefully whittling away the edges of the ball until you see a more rounded shape. To get the ball to move back and forth inside the cage, carefully chisel your way through the sides and edges of the ball so it moves on its own when you turn the cage.

  • Sand down the edges of the cage so you can grasp it without hurting yourself. Then sand down the edges of the ball to make it look more like a ball and less like a piece of wood. A piece of sandpaper will easily fit inside the cage. Then you can paint or stain the piece or leave it bare and natural.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful when using sharp objects such as a chisel. One false move and you could seriously damage yourself. Never use a tool unless it’s been sharpened first. Trying to push a dull object through the wood can put too much pressure on your hand causing it to slip.

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