02-06-2011 12:53 PM
This is my second attempt, I did the first one from a green log of what I thought was poplar but it has a light yellow hue to it so I have no idea what it really is but it split pretty bad a day after turning it; still spins good though. I got the idea from the "Treewright", a "Bodger" who works on a pole lathe in the UK. He's very talented and I enjoy his videos. Anyway, this is the second attempt from scrap poplar I had lying around and glued up for practice, it's a lot of fun, the boys already have it all dented up and even still play with the first green wood top to see who can keep them spinning the longest. Better than video games for 4 days straight.
02-07-2011 08:46 PM
Very interesting and the wood definitely looks like poplar which can range from yellow to tan to green to gray all in the same board.
I need to ask what is the thing with a hole through it and what appears to be a handle? I would think that it might need moe of a point on the end -- either turned or a metal point like the throwing tops that I played with when I ws a kid..
02-08-2011 03:35 PM
The top is the bottom piece in the picture, the point could definitely be more defined, I don't have a chuck and these pieces are turned from one solid piece so I have to saw them apart and havent gotten good at sharpening the tip yet, it still spins for about two minutes with that dull tip. The hole in the part with the handle are where the shaft of the top goes through and there is a string that winds around the top and through the handle so you can pull the string and the top drops out and spins. The top shown is poplar, I turned one previously that was from green wood from a small tree I cut in my yard; (it is not pictured above). I turned the green wood because the guy I learned the technique from turned his green, wasn't sure what it would do and it split pretty bad. If you don't want to watch the whole video you can click this link and skip to the end but it is fun to watch, the guy is pretty good.
03-25-2011 10:29 AM
Design of tops should focus on two factors, that the center of rotational weight be as low tothe contact point as possible, and that the point be as sharp a point as practical for the material being used. The broader the contact, the more drag it shall encounter and shorten the spin time. If the point is irregular than the spin axis changes with contact and the top will wiggle and wander.
I design my pull type tops with a series of lamination patterns to add color and contrast to the toy as it spins along. These are of a traditional shape from the late 1800's, where the weight is higher than those made for competitive spin times.
03-30-2011 08:49 AM - edited 03-30-2011 08:52 AM
Thank you ever one posting & for the pictures,,,,,,I really liked watching the video, and to see what came forth from his mind, hands, & a legs I might add. A person purchasing one of these, would have to see it made to fully appreciate what he bought.
Question; Would their be a down side adventually of using any green lumber for all of his efforts & creativity.
03-30-2011 04:45 PM
John, an experienced turner could make it work, I used some green wood from a tree I cut down in my backyard, sat in the back for maybe 3 months, it cracked like crazy while it was on the lathe. I thought it might but it was my first one and it was all practice, a lot of fun too. The one pictured was my second attempt and it was out of poplar I glued up. I just use what I have on hand, once my turning improves, I'll buy larger stock, but these come out pretty good and the kids love them so I've made 3 I think so far. turning green as far as my limited experience goes, takes some planning and knowledge to keep the piece from cracking. I won't be trying it again until I research or get a lesson.
It really is a neat video, I'm glad you enjoyed it, I have viewed it several times.
04-01-2011 01:55 PM
It seem so to me, but then all that makes sense, doesn't necessary make it so.
04-06-2011 09:20 PM - edited 04-06-2011 09:32 PM
Very nice and I'm sure your children appreciate the toy top and are having fun with it. The launching handle makes it almost foolproof to launch. I've made quite a few tops over the years. I made 20 one time for Toys for Tots. I've made some for my wife to use in school and each of my grandchildren get a top. My launching handle is different but works the same way. My tops are designed after the old pitching tops of the 40's and 50's. I use sticks of maple, cherry or walnut glued up to give them some design. I turn the point to about 1/16 inch, drill a small hole where the tail center was located and drive in a brass round headed nail. So my tops don''t have a sharp point but ride on a rounded nail head. My first top won 2nd place in a top contest held by the Coulee Region Woodturners Club quite a few years ago. The nails make the top last longer and the brass rounded head doesn't mar the wood floor or kitchen counter. I like your top!
I do use a chuck when turning my tops but could achieve the same thing by capturing the wood between centers. I glue up the stock for the top body, drill a 1/2 inch diameter hole in the center of the body blank and glue in a 1/2 inch oak dowel (use oak 'cause you need the strength during turning). I then turn the whole thing as a unit, turning the 1/2 inch dowel down to 3/8 inch. When I'm done, the stem is balanced with the body and the top turns without any vibrations or wobble. I capture the end of the stem in the chuck but I can't see why you couldn't put the thing between centers too. In fact.......I might try that myself. :-)