How to Carve a Ball

Carving a ball is one of those woodcarving crafts that fall into the realm of whittling. Whittling a ball is one of the simplest carving methods to master. Other than a whittling knife or a sharp pocket knife and a compass no tools are needed. A square basswood block is the best wood with which to learn. Basswood is a softer wood and is easy to carve for beginners.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Compass
  • Paper
  • Carbon paper
  • Whittling or pocket knife
  • Basswood block, at least 2-by-2 inches square

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Use a pencil and compass to draw a circle on a piece of paper that will be centered on your wooden block.

Put carbon paper on one side of the block. Center the circle over the carbon paper and trace the circle onto the block. Repeat this step on all sides of the wooden block.

Begin carving by removing small amounts of wood from the corners of the block. Work on one corner at a time, until you have whittled away the wood to the circle markings.

Work each edge of the block in the same way, whittling down to the circle markings on each side.

Use the knife to carve the ball smooth. You will be able to feel any high spots by running your fingers over the ball. Remove the high spots with the knife.


  • Whittling and Woodcarving by E. J. Tangerman, Dover Publications, Inc. 1962
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