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Golf ball cutter

David E Lavoie <CAPTNDAVE@prodigy.net>

Little did I know how much work this would be when I started, but I am having fun and learning a lot..

I started with a PVC pipe cutter from Home Depot for under $9.
First thing I did was take a 1 1/2" drum sander and attached it to my drill press. A hand operated drill will also work. I think I used medium grit, but use what you have. Next I used the sanding drum to get the little bump off the bottom of the cutter and as shown in the photo.


I angled the drum sander so that the sides would each taper towards the center.

This allows the ball to rest in the grove and not roll out easily.

Next I used the drum sander to make a curve in the blade.This will wear out the sanding disk and may take more than one disk. Next use a bench grinder to remove the long tip on the cutting blade. Anything beyond the curved area is in the way and may cause cuts to the hand.(Note, I always wear a Kevlar glove with rubber dots after cutting myself a couple of times) Gloves are available through Smoky Mountain Woodcarvers Supply, Inc 1-800-541-5994 Item #GLV01. Need I tell you to use plenty of water while grinding with the bench grinder so you don't lose the temper?

Next you will need to use the grinder to taper the blade to the new shape, Slowly!!!! The Blade should be smooth and polished like your best knife so it cuts easier. I have found that a little silicon spray on the blade makes it cut and release better.

Don't miss the very important part of cutting new groves in the sprocket otherwise the grip will be out to the tips of your fingers and you will not have any control. Look at the picture with the pencil pointing to the groves. The blade will need to be removed for this step. That's it.

The job is not complete without a proper tool to remove the cover, which is difficult on some brands. On Top Flite, Two Piece balls, one side usually just pops off, others need to be pried off.

Take a 1/4" straight slot screw driver and bring the end to a knife point and round the sides so it looks like a straight chisel with rounded corners. Smooth this and buff it till it is shinny. Place the tip under the golf ball shell and draw it towards yourself a little at a time. SHAZAM!!!! Your done.

I used to keep a list of over 50 golf ball brands to tell which ones to cut. Don't waste your time doing that. Just bounce them on the concrete. The ones that bounce the highest are Two Piece and you cut them open. The ones that have a thud sound and bounce appreciably lower are Wound Balls. You can cut them only a little way and you will hear the rubber bands start to come apart, then put them on a tee and hit the center right out of them and be sure to pick up all the rubber bands to protect the ecology.



Background for this article

M. Paul Ward wrote:
There isn't a better or more generous carver in or out of this list than Len Dillon. One example. He devised a tool for cutting the cover off 1/2 of a golf ball. Sent me the tool to use and copy. It is an ingenious device which cuts quickly and cleanly, saving much time for those of us addicted to carving golf balls.

Len Dillon wrote:
M Paul Doesn't know the things I know I learned from others and am just happy to pass on. I was taught to share ideas with others. The Golf ball cutting idea came from Cpt. Dave LaVoie out in California. I taught him how to carve golf balls and he carves hundreds of them and to show his appreciation made me a cutter. I just pass the idea along.

CaptnDave wrote:
Paul, I agree with you about Len Dillon, as he exemplifies all the qualities of a woodcarver who believes in sharing all that he knows. After he taught me to carve golf balls I did create the special golf ball cutter and gave him one. He is not the kind of person to take credit for something that was accidentally attributed to him. He and I enjoy helping others and that is why we are on this list with all the rest of you great carvers with the same open willingness to share.