Welcome to my humble woodturning site dedicated to helping beginner and intermediate woodworkers get involved with turning wooden spinning tops. I want people to bring their wood lathes out of the back of the garage and into their shop to enjoy. I hope to be able to share my knowledge of inexpensive tools that can be bought and used on the average lathe. This is also where I can display my projects as well as share tips, tricks, techniques and the myriad resources I've discovered that may help you. Please feel free to add comments, upload your own work, ask questions and together we can hopefully create a community dedicated to this wonderful hobby.
Please keep in mind the following:
This site is part of my hobby and as such I seek no work, nor any monetary profit for anything posted here. Because I seek community involvement, I take no responsibility for content uploaded.
Power tools are inherently dangerous! Please read and follow the directions from the manufacturer for any tool or piece of eqiupment! I take no responsibility for the way the content of this site is used or interpreted. BE SAFE and BE RESPONSIBLE! Wear safety glasses and breathing masks at all times!
I will do my best to make sure that anything posted here is freely available for public use. If you are the owner of an article or picture and want it removed, just ask. I'm not looking to profit from any idea here and no money will ever be directly involved with this site aside from links to unrelated vendors to acquire tools or books.
I really believe that woodturners will always have wood to work with.
I call myself a scrap wood turner. Any and all scraps are fair game.
Fill the voids with super glue and glitter and beautiful things happen.
Turn with a light touch after making sure the voids are totally filled with glue.
Your imagination is all that limits you.
Thos. Moser design made of Maple with a Cocobolo accent built 20 years ago.
Many thanks to Degoose for the design ideas. Again, I sell nothing.
I couldn’t wrap my head around Degoose’s jig so I tried Ampeater’s jig with a router.
My tired old PC 690’s didn’t like the workout but survived.
After using the router jig, the bandsaw jig was a snap.
I now have Degoose’s jig working with the scallops.
Just waiting for my muse to kick in on wood species.
Plus, I’m hoping to figure out the accent strips used by Degoose.
If they work like segmented accent strips then the whole project will enlarge.
Will I then need to drill a larger hole for a dowel or maybe an all seeing eye?
Any thoughts on the accent strips, please.
One problem is the family can’t seem to bring themselves to use it as a chopping block.
So, it’s a serving tray, not a chopping block and not a lazy Susan..ha ha
So much fun.
This is the latest book I know of on making tops. It is a good read and has some great plans and tips for beginners to advanced turners. Most are turned between centers and will require you to practice your parting off techniques. A few of the tops will require a holding chuck which is a good investment and not all that expensive today. Some of the tops may make it down the years to become an heirloom in your family. Better yet you could become a real legend to all the children in your family. What fun that is.
Another book written by D.W. Gould in 1973 has an amazing number of tops and possible shapes to consider. For those wanting to sell tops, most of the shapes have already been written about. The title of his book is” The Top” Universal Toy Enduring Pastime. It has over 120 black and white illustrations.
Found an article on making a Classic Mallet in Wood Magazine June/July 2004. As you can see the measurements are up to you. Center shaft is 1 5/8″ x 1 5/8″ x 12″ in the article. Sides are 7/8″ x 2 1/2″ x 7″. The five piece mallets are easy to make. Make sure the handle and center pieces are the same thickness and the grain is oriented the same direction as the outside pieces because wood moves. The round mallet head is 3″ diameter x 6″ long with a 14″ long handle. The tenon is 1″ so the handle needs to be a little larger. After that, dimensions are up to you, have fun.
Peg tops can be made the same way using scrap wood. The general dimensions are from an article in Today’s Woodworker September October 1990. General dimensions are 3 1/2″ long x 2 1/2″ Diameter x 1 1/2″ top diameter x 1/2″ diameter x 3/8″ long point. Make sure you allow for mounting the top between centers and extra waste material all around.
I’ve started to use 1/4″ brass solid rod for the points of peg top. Cut off about 1 1/2″ and mount it in the 1/4″ collet and turn a rounded point with a round nose turning tool. Brass is easy to turn on a wood lathe at slow to medium speed. Drill a centered hole in your blank on a drill press, scuff sand the shaft and glue it in with 5 minute epoxy. Mount it in the 1/4″ collet and bring the tail center up to stabilize the blank and turn to shape. Good thing about the brass point is that you can re-mount the top, fix dents, and re-sand.
The finish on this top is a wiping varnish called Zinsser Quick 15. Dries in 15 minutes and can be coated again in an hour. You can put 3 to 6 coats on in a day at 70+ degrees. It is a hard finish that’s quite durable. If you are looking to buy this finish go to their web site and enter your zip. Not everyone carries this product.
I started making these finger tops about 1993 from an article written by Nick Cook in The Woodworkers Journal issue May/June 1992. Buying the collets back then was interesting. I had to call and talk to a salesman at MSC/Enco tools. Now it’s easy to buy them. The Article gives a body dimension of 5/16″ thick by 2″ Diameter. I use a 3/8″ maple dowel anywhere from 3 3/8″ to 4″ long. Use any wood glue to assemble. A block of wood with 1/2″ holes of varying depths to hammer the dowel through giving different lengths of wood to make the point. Actually there are so many different styles of tops that the thickness of the wood and the length of the dowel is really up to you. Play, experiment, enjoy.
Warning: these small tops are not good for young children that are not supervised. Sharp points and small diameters fit in the mouth and could puncture the skin.