Spinning tops are near-perfectly balanced toys that spin on a single point about an axis. The player twists the top with his finger on a string, and the weight of the top perpetuates a rotational motion. Most spinning tops have at least three distinct parts: a thin handle that you hold to spin the top; a wide, disclike middle that offers most of the weight of the toy; and a conical or cylindrical head upon which the top actually spins. Spinning tops are simple to make as long as you have the right tools.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Lathe or mini-lathe
- 1/4 inch wide dowel
- 2 inch wide dowel
- Hand saw or circular saw
- Power drill with 1/4 inch drill bit
- Spray glue
- Spray varnish
- 600 grit sandpaper
Cut your 1/4 inch thick dowel so that it is a few inches longer than the height you want for your spinning top.
Cut your 2 inch thick dowel so that you have a section about 1 inch tall.
Drill a hole all the way through the centre of the 2 inch thick segment with your power drill and the 1/4 inch bit. Insert the 1/4 inch dowel segment through the hole. The friction between the two dowels should keep them together, but spray on a bit of glue to ensure an attachment if the connection feels loose.
Put the 1/4 inch dowel with its larger segment attached into your lathe and turn the lathe on.
Use your gouges to strip away the spinning wood of the 2 inch thick segment until you're happy with the shape of the spinning top's middle section. Disc and bell shapes are common.
Sand the surface of the middle section with your sandpaper while the lathe is still rotating to get an even, smooth finish.
Hold a marker against the surface of the middle section to add a decoration in a circle shape to your spinning top if you want your toy to have some colour. Spray on the varnish to seal in the colour.
Turn off your lathe and play with your new spinning top.
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