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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!!

 

Tippy TopsTippy Tops
By: Eugen Schlaak
In this photo tutorial, professional wood turner, Eugen Schlaak shows us how he makes his tippy tops in production mode. He shows all the materials needed and then each step in the process.

 

Turning a spinning topTurning a spinning top
By: Peg Schmid
In this short photo tutorial, Peg shows us how she makes a two-part hollow top. Peg starts by hollowing the center of the top like a bowl and then shapes the outside. She also uses a peg for the spinning surface and indicates that you can use wood or metal. The resulting top looks really good and should spin for a long time.

 

Turned Pull-String TopTurned Pull-String Top
By: Wood Magazine
This is a great looking top that is activated by pulling on the string. You get to turn the two-piece top and then the handle for the top making this a 3-piece project worthy of a great gift!

 

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.

 

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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