Introduction: Wood Sphere - Water Molecule

Wooden Spheres can be difficult to make from scratch. Most methods require a lathe, but this method can be done using only hand tools! I haven't done this before, and figured this Instructable would be a great opportunity to test it out!

This Instructable will aim to help guide you through the process of making a wooden model of a water molecule from wood scraps, using only hand tools. I am by no means a professional woodworker, and this is my first Instructable submission, so trust me when I say that this method is not too difficult!

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Step 1: What You Need

1. Wood

The most important ingredient for making something out of wood! I gathered up some scrap wood for this project and made everything out of:

- 6"x6" Cedar Landscaping Timber

- 7/8" Round Oak Dowel

2. Tools

This project can be done easier if you use some power tools here or there, but It can be done with only hand tools. I used:

- Wood Saw

- Hole Saw (3" and 2")

- Wood Chisel and Hammer

- Screwdriver

- Drill

3. Other Materials

- Ruler

- Wood Stain

- Wood Finish

- Sand Paper

- Wood Screws

- Hanger

- String

4. Safety Gear

Please remember safety is always your number one priority! If needed, please wear eye/ear protection breathing mask/respirator, gloves, etc.

Step 2: Preparing the Wood

Create Cubes

Measuring out the cubes as precisely as possible will greatly improve the quality of your sphere down the line.

I made 3 cubes, 2 that measured 3"x3"x3" (these will represent the Hydrogen atoms) and one that measured 5.5"x5.5"x5.5" (Oxygen atom) This was as large as I could get using the wood that I had.

Removing Material

Now all you have to do is remove all the wood that you don't need! I used saws and hammer/chisel to cut down as much of the edges that I could, without impacting the not-yet-carved sphere.

Step 3: Shaping the Sphere

Makeshift Tool

To start shaping the sphere in a more precise manner, I made a makeshift tool by attaching the hole saw to a wooden handle. I found that the best size is about 2/3rds the diameter of the sphere that you're trying to create.

Rounding out the sphere

By constantly moving the location that you are turning the hole saw, and rotating your polyhedron in its vice, the edges will slowly start to round. This is very labor intensive, and is kind of boring. Put on some music in your headphones!

Once the sphere starts to take shape, you are trying to just carve down past your flat surfaces from the original cube. As your 'atom' gets closer and closer to being a sphere, be careful not to dig down too deep with your makeshift hole-saw tool, as deep gashes are difficult to sand out.

Once you finish making the sphere, use sandpaper to smooth out the wood. I started with 80 grit and moved up to 220 grit.

Step 4: Finish the Wood

It is difficult to paint a sphere without a way to hold onto it. Since I will be connecting these 'atoms' together with a 7/8" dowel, I drilled the dowel holes, then drilled a screw in the bottom of the dowel hole to provide something to hang on to.

On the larger sphere (the Oxygen atom) you will need to cut 2 dowel holes, as both smaller spheres connect to the larger one. A water molecule as the 2 hydrogen atoms connected to the Oxygen atom at 104.45° from each other.

With string, I fastened the spheres to a hanger

Once fixed, apply the Wood Stain, and several layers of wood finish. (follow the instructions of the wood stain/finish you use)

Step 5: Assemble the Model

Cut the dowel to fit the depth of your dowel holes, and assemble the model with wood glue.


Congrats! You did it!

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