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Tops

When I talk to turners and ask about their first projects, most of them say that they learned to make tops. Some of them learned as children and some in high school. But where ever you learned how to make tops, you know how popular they are with kids and adults alike.

Tops are fast to make spindle turnings and there are many shapes and sizes. It's a great practice project too!!

 

 The Big TopThe Big Top by Chris Pine
In this video tutorial, Chris shows us how he makes a "huge" 2-piece top designed to be turned with two hands. These tops will be great for the kids (and adults). These tops spin in the 2 minute range so they are fun to use!!

 

 Turning a tippy-topTurning a tippy-top by John Taylor
This photo tutorial by John Taylor explains how to turn a "tippy-top". This type of top is the one that when you spin it will turn over and spin on the spindle. These are very fun for kids as most will never have seen a top flip over!

There are some special considerations to make a top flip over so carefully follow John's plans to get it right!

 

Turning a Spin Top with a Skew by Leo Makepeace
In this video, Leo shows us how to make a spin top with his skew.

This is a really good video for those you are wanting to learn more about using the skew. Leo uses peeling cuts for wood removal and end cuts for cleaning up the top and bottom and lastly he uses a planing cut for making the handle of the top smooth.

He also applies some chatter to the bottom and then colors the top. He does all this turning to make a beautiful spin top without hurry and finishes in 4 1/2 minutes! Touché!

 

Handled Spinning Top by Leo Makepeace
In this project, Leo shows us how to turn a handled spinning top. This is the type of top that has 2 parts; the handle and the top. The top stem is wrapped with a string and then inserted into the handle. The string is pulled which spins the top and making it come off the handle.

In the video, Leo uses a skew and adds notes to the video to help us understand his cuts so this is very educational in the use of the skew in addition to learning how to make a spinning top.

There are 3 videos in this series:

Video 1 - Turn the Handle
Video 2 - Turn the Top
Video 3 - Demonstrating how to use the Top with Handle

 

Turning a Top by Leo Makepeace
Leo shows us how to make a fast top using a piece of dried beech (previous table leg)... it's a good video showing clean cuts, good tool control and a quick way to turn a top!

 

 Build a Classic String TopBuild a Classic String Top by Taran Card
In this photo tutorial, Taran explains the basics of spinning tops including the naming of the top's physical regions. Then he tells us about wood selection for your top. He proceeds to turning the top, showing us pictures of each step along the way!

He concludes the tutorial with a lesson in how to spin the completed top. This is a fun project and the top is sure to be an ice breaker. And if you have older kids, a real popular item.

 

 The Fingertip Top and Spinning VesselThe Fingertip Top and Spinning Vessel by Charles Henderson
In this very clever and innovative tutorial, Charles shows us how he discovered "finger tops" which ultimately lead to his creation of "spinning vessels".

Charles' tutorial goes into significant detail on how to make both of these special tops!!

It might even be fun to make one just to see how they work!!

 

 Turned Top with a Textured SurfaceTurned Top with a Textured Surface by Wood Magazine
Special hardware and chattering give this turning a whole new spin.

Turn a classic top that spins by pulling a string. This plan also shows you how to give the surface a chattered finish for a textured look.

 

 How to make simple topsHow to make simple tops by Russ Babbitt
Turning tops is a great exercise in spindle technique. Skills learned in turning tops can be used in other spindle work. Tops can be very simple or as complex as you want. My plan is to show you how I turn a basic wooden top.

Russ shows how he makes a top and then shows pictures from his local club doing a County Fair and letting others turn tops for themselves.

This project runs close to my heart too as my local club also works with kids (and adults) at our local fairs and shows letting them turn tops themselves.

 

 Turning a chatter finger topTurning a chatter finger top by Larry Hancock
These traditional tops are turned and then embellished with a chatter tool and color. Larry's close-up pictures in this photo tutorial make it real easy to see each step of the process!

 

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