Spherical Slide


Image courtesy Carter Products

A Spherical Slide is used to make a controlled, curved surface. It is a modified Cross Slide, and is very different from a Curvilinear Slide / Apparatus.

With a spherical slide, the cutting frame (or Drill Spindle) is rotated around a vertical "line" which is parallel to the Y axis.

Lathe Axes

Fundamentally, a spherical slide works the same way a sphere-cutting jig does. (The picture to the right shows the Perfect Sphere from Carter Products.)

Conversely, on a curvilinear slide, the cutting frame (or Drill Spindle) is moved in an out (in the direction of the X axis) whilst moving along the Z axis.

Additional pictures of this device

The spherical slide rest shown in the pictures below was designed by Al Collins (the "A" in the MADE Ornamental Rose Engine), and it shows a very fine example of one for a rose engine lathe.

Comments from Al are:

My spherical sliderest operates with a simple worm and wheel set up. It has a removable center of rotation indicator to help in set up. Also, to that end, I've made indicator lines on the bottom slide.
The top tee slot is as wide as the slide block for full adjustment of the quick change tool holder.
Also notice the timing wheel on the screw. This allows a connection to a worm drive slow motion drive via a timing belt. The drive coming from a variable speed motor on the overhead.

Pictures courtesy Al Collins

Examples of work produced with this device

Examples of this device in use

  • This YouTube video was given by Peter Gerstel at the 2018 Ornamental Turners International Symposium. It shows his approach which was used to make a dome shape to the end of an object.
  • This YouTube video was given by Jon Magill at the 2018 Ornamental Turners International Symposium. It shows his approach to making organic curves with ornamental turning. But, what is most intriguing about his approach is the overlay used to allow the ornamental turner to see what the cut will be.

Usage Notes

How it works

Notes on making one

More Information

Published Articles

Books and Papers

Web Sites



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Disclaimer: eMail comments to me at OTBookOfKnowledge @ Gmail.com. The process of woodturning involves the use of tools, machinery and materials which could cause injury or be a health hazard unless proper precautions are taken, including the wearing of appropriate protective equipment.