Makin' toys with scraps (spinning tops)

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Rick M

New User
Rick
Made from odd bits of scrap walnut and dowel. The discs are around an inch or so in diameter, 2 are finished with mineral oil and 2 with BLO. Tricky working on stuff this small even with midi size tools but it’s good practice. 3 of 4 spin nicely. The 4th (frontmost in top pic) broke off the lathe. I remounted and tried to save it but it just wobbles and falls over.

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Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Hey Rick - nice work. I have done a few of these and never been happy with them. Do you mind detailing your work sequence for me?
Did you wet sand any of these?

Henry
 

aplpickr

New User
Bill
Pretty, but anything meant for kids needs to be over 1 1/4" in diameter. It is a choking hazard if smaller! Let smaller scraps just be wood stove kindling or laminate to something larger.
 

ScottM

Scott
Staff member
Corporate Member
Pretty, but anything meant for kids needs to be over 1 1/4" in diameter. It is a choking hazard if smaller! Let smaller scraps just be wood stove kindling or laminate to something larger.
A simple test to try is drop it through a cardboard tube like what toilet paper or paper towels comes on. If the piece falls through the tube it is to small for young children.
 

Rick M

New User
Rick
These won't be given to small children.



Hey Rick - nice work. I have done a few of these and never been happy with them. Do you mind detailing your work sequence for me?
Did you wet sand any of these?

Henry

Got the idea from the December 2007 Popular Woodworking, issue 166, Finger Tops by Judy Ditmer. I didn't actually read the article just glanced at the pictures so her method might be a little different.

*I drew circles on scrap wood and drilled a 3/8" hole through the center.
*Cut them roughly circular with a bandsaw and also ripped them in half to make 2 discs, each about 3/8 to 7/16" thick. (Next time I will rip in half before cutting to a circle so I have more to hang on to)
*Cut a piece of dowel about 2.5" long and glue through the center, they don't need to be centered.
*Mounted them in my Nova with pin jaws, a live center in tailstock to keep it steady. (My Nova wants to spit these out if I don't use the tailstock) In the article she used a drill chuck, I might try that next time.
* Turn. I made the finger side to the left (headstock) and point on the tailstock side. I just looked at the article again and she did them the other way, so I'll try that next time.
*I didn't sand much, just to 320 then cranked the speed up and burnished with a handful of shavings. I did not wet sand these but that Klingspor sandpaper does hold up better to wet sanding. It still loads up but doesn't fall apart like the 3M and Norton.

These were pretty fun actually.
 
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awldune

Sam
User
I also have a lot of scraps (half cookies) from walnut bowl blanks. This might be a way to use some of that.
 

Rick M

New User
Rick
Two more, much bigger, those are 1/2" dowels and the discs are 2.5" & 2.75"; and they spin forever. I haven't timed them but I'd guess they spin for at least a minute.

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edit; I tried both ways... point toward headstock and point toward tailstock and like point toward tailstock better because the point is more important to get right than the tippy top.
 

Flootsie

New User
Milissa
Hey, Rick. These are cool.

There was a guy--last name of Nall--who had some little tops at the Hickory show. Gave me one & Berta got one, too (it's good to be a girl!). He had inverted the base so that you can spin the little thing on your finger tip.

PRETTY COOL and strangely addictive. We have ours on the coffee table and everyone messes with it during slow parts in movies. Need to make five of them: the wager is who can spin one per finger of a hand.

I can put a pic up if you wish.
 

Rick M

New User
Rick
Re: yes, pic please

Different style and this time I embedded a piece of brass rod in the tip. It does spin a little smoother but if the table/counter is not perfectly level it will gradually spin to the edge. Also made a quickie handle so I can spin it with a piece of string.


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Along the way I discovered a defect/crack in the wood. I stopped turning, sealed it with CA glue and sanded.

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Rick M

New User
Rick
Inverted Top

My version of the inverted top in maple. It's too big to spin on a finger so I allowed the point to protrude a tiny bit. When spun by hand (rather than with a stick & string) you have to be very precise so as not to catch the sides but when it goes this is probably my longest spinning top to date, it's very cool to watch. I'll post a short clip later, maybe tomorrow. Next time I would make it as two pieces.

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Phil S

Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Re: yes, pic please

Great tops. They are making me think - We are beginning to talk about getting together to make gifts for the children at Duke hospital. These might be a great fit.
How long does it take you to turn one? I will be visiting the Duke hospital admins next week and will be showing some examples. Could I borrow a couple of these to show them ??
 

Flootsie

New User
Milissa
Re: yes, pic please

These are cool, Rick, and I like seeing the different ones as they "appear".

I bought some malachite and lapis lazuli to fill cracks when I am in a wabi sabi frame of mind...

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Rick M

New User
Rick
Re: yes, pic please

Great tops. They are making me think - We are beginning to talk about getting together to make gifts for the children at Duke hospital. These might be a great fit.
How long does it take you to turn one? I will be visiting the Duke hospital admins next week and will be showing some examples. Could I borrow a couple of these to show them ??

They are very quick especially the first ones I made that are just a dowel and circle. I'm happy to lend some to show off to Duke, just let me know a convenient time we can get together.
 
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