Walnut Football
A turned version of the classic pigskin.

SHOP OWNER: Aurčle Delaurier
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

    You may have seen my 2003 submission entitled "Are You Ready for Some Football", Shop Shot #469. With the Canadian Football League’s 2008 season well underway and the NFL’s start right around the corner, I thought it was time for some more football.
Walnut Football
    Like the other, this too is a replica of the CFL’s official football, except that it is 9/16-scale. Its construction was much simpler too, requiring fewer pieces to glue up. With the chop saw, I cut my 4” x 4” block of walnut into three pieces measuring 2-1/4”, 3-3/8”, and 1-3/8” long respectively. The leftmost piece in the photo (2-1/4” long) was made longer to accommodate the faceplate’s mounting screws. Sandwiched among the walnut pieces were two 1/2“ thick pieces of maple for the stripes. The assembled block measured 4” x 4” x 8” long.
Walnut Football
    Starting in the centre and working toward the ends, I divided the ball into 1/4“ steps. Actually, the center step measures 3/8” since the middle piece of walnut is 3-3/8” wide.
Walnut Football
    Each maple stripe, being 1/2“ wide, has two 1/4” steps; there are also several steps beyond these stripes. I mounted a full-size drawing on the wall above the lathe showing the diameter of each step. With my outside calipers, I measure the step in question on the drawing and then use that measurement until that diameter is achieved on that step of the football.
Walnut Football
    The inside corner of each step should now be an exact point on the ellipse of the ball. Once all these steps were made, I removed the excess portion until all traces of the steps are gone. I’m almost there in this photo.
Walnut Football
    With all the steps removed, the ball was sanded smooth. The 1/4“ ebony valve stem was actually glued in before the block was mounted on the lathe. I suppose that it could have been drilled and glued at this stage, but it is easier to do this on the drill press when the block is still square. After cutting it away and hand sanding the ends, I brought the football to a local trophy store to laser engrave the logo. The artwork was the 2007 Grey Cup logo, which is likely best seen in the first photo.
Walnut Football
    Here’s the finished product shown in an acrylic display case. Four dowels with hemispherical rubber bumpers keep the football from sliding around.
Walnut Football
    This photo provides a better sense of the scale. The finished ball measured about 6-1/4” long and 3-3/8” in diameter. The four seams of the ball were delineated and hand cut using a triangular file. Next, I glued on the maple laces, which took several hours themselves to make. Finally, after four coats of semi-gloss polyurethane, the football was finished. It didn’t stay in our home very long, as my wife and I gave it away as first prize at our 2007 Grey Cup Party.
. . . Aurčle Delaurier


This is the place to share views of your shop, woodworking tips and methods,
mug shots, special tools or machines, finished work--you name it!
    We prefer digital images via e-mail, but prints or transparencies will do. Include your name, address, phone number and a paragraph or two explaining the photo(s). Not every entry will be used, we reserve the right to edit for length and clarity, and we will not return photos.

P.O. Box 493
Springtown, PA 18081