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Build This Brain-Teasing Golf Ball in a Block of Wood


When we published the Tooth and Nail brain teaser here on Make: back in February, it got a large and enthusiastic response. Apparently, others love this kind of wooden head-scratcher as much as I do.

So, here’s another easy-to-make brain teaser, the Golf Ball in a Block of Wood. It uses the same hot water deforming technique as was used to create the Tooth and Nail.

Since this build, detailed on the Woodlogger site, only involves rudimentary cutter and drilling, it makes a great beginner woodworking project. It would also make a fun and easy project to do with your kids and they’d have something cool to show off when you’re done.


All you need to create this teaser is a chunk of softwood (e.g. Basswood) that is 1-3/4″ x 1-3/4″ x 5″, a 1 1/4″ Forstner bit, a drill, and a golf ball. And a pot of hot, near-boiling water.


Once you’ve drilled the elongated ovals through the block, all you have to do is immerse the wood in a pot of very hot (but not boiling) water. You want to let it soak for about 4-5 minutes.


When the wood fibers are well saturated, you gently press the ball into one side of the block. The side rails of the block are fairly thin, so you’ll need to be careful.

As the project is documented on Woodlogger, it is not finished. I think, as a conversation/display piece, it would look so much nicer with a simple stain or other finish. As Woodlogger mentions, if you do stain it, you’ll want to tape up the golf ball so that it stays nice and clean.

2 thoughts on “Build This Brain-Teasing Golf Ball in a Block of Wood

  1. Why don’t you link to the content creators?
    That’s the least you can do after just copying their content and shorten the text a bit.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn