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Tops for Christmas

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Project by wcp posted 12-18-2017 01:54 AM 304 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Turned a few Christmas gifts recently. Each top is different and were all made from beautiful walnut. They also each have different spinning characteristics. The 2 single tops pictured are the best spinners of the lot. I am also turning yoyo’s but have not got them finished yet, I will update this post once they are finished this week.

12/20 As promised I’ve added a couple pictures of the yoyo’s I’ve been working on. The wood used on the these are walnut and ash the other (green one) is alder and walnut strips. The other picture is of 2 more not yet doweled together.





9 comments so far

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NotaJock

105 posts in 969 days


#1 posted 12-18-2017 02:16 AM

If that’s a 4” tile then your tops are 2 1/2” – 3 ”?
They look nice.

-- Mike in SoCal

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wcp

51 posts in 469 days


#2 posted 12-18-2017 03:20 AM

I didn’t measure them but that’s about right. I plan on trying some string tops like you have made. What did you use for the metal tip on your tops? Looks like a duplex nail with the head cut off and sharpened. I remember playing with tops like that. Here is a link of a guy turning a string top on a homemade lathe, he can turn a top out fairly quick. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5Uobt-f2YY

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NotaJock

105 posts in 969 days


#3 posted 12-18-2017 05:56 PM

Yes, I used 2 headed nails, the main objection was that the 2nd heads were irregular making several of the nails unusable. Next time I’ll do a little more shopping around for nails. I put 3/4” of the nail glued into a barely undersized hole in the top. I made 1 top with the nail all the way through which throws off the balance and I’ve spent hours throwing that top but have yet to get it to spin. Can’t get it to hit on the spindle.
Taking measurements of the top pictures I could find on the web I made mine 3:5::width: height and they spin pretty good. After making all those tops I found one from my childhood in the back of a drawer, it’s closer to 4:5::width:height and so far has hit on the point every time.
Unless I went for one color spray paint I found it took much longer to paint stripes on these things than it did to turn them.
I chucked one end of the stock so I could put the other end in a steady rest to center drill true for the nail.
All the best to you & yours this season.

-- Mike in SoCal

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wcp

51 posts in 469 days


#4 posted 12-19-2017 01:57 AM

Mike
Thanks for the reply. That’s good info, I’ll try a string top but I have to get Christmas over with first. It’s fun making the grand kids toys from the past. Next year our operation Christmas child shoe boxes will have a number of shop made toys. I finished turning 6 yoyo’s this afternoon and sprayed a coat of finish on them.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

wcp

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NotaJock

105 posts in 969 days


#5 posted 12-20-2017 12:20 AM

Hi Mike, Yo-yos are on my todo list but I’ve not tried it yet.
How do you go about it?
Carve one half out of a log on the lathe, part it off then make the other half?
Don’t need pictures or a movie, just an idea of where to start.

Holiday season makes you grin doesn’t it?
Cheers,
Mike

-- Mike in SoCal

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wcp

51 posts in 469 days


#6 posted 12-20-2017 03:02 PM

Easier than that. I use normal 1x material. Start with a piece of material 1×1 3/4 inch, cut 8 pieces at 45 degrees. Glue 4 pieces together to make a square. On the bandsaw cut a circle from the square. With a #13 drill put a hole in the center (not all the way thru). Mount the half on a shop made screw chuck and turn the half to final size and shape. Apply finish while mounted on screw chuck. To finish drill out the mount hole to 3/8 for a dowel to mount the halves together, slip a string over the dowel before completing.

Something I discovered during this process, you need to use yo-yo strings for your toys to work correctly. I ordered strings from Amazon and got pack of 80 different colored strings. If you would like to try some strings, send me a message with your address and I will gladly send you some strings.

wcp

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NotaJock

105 posts in 969 days


#7 posted 12-29-2017 12:02 AM

Now that Christmas is out of the way I went back and got accurate measurements of that old top and drew it up.

I do hope that helps. If anyone else reading this has an old top from their childhood I’d be curious of the dimensions.

I’d love to see a sample of the yo-yo string if I can figure out how to get it to you.
My memory of what happened over 50 years ago is admittedly ;unreliable but says that when the original yoyo string we took a doubled length of kite string to make a walker out of it.

Hope your Christmas went well.

-- Mike in SoCal

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wcp

51 posts in 469 days


#8 posted 12-29-2017 03:50 AM

Mike
That’s a nice drawing, thanks for posting that. The string you described is what I got off Amazon. The strings are doubled twisted with a loop at the end for a walker type yo-yo. I removed a top picture so I could post a pic of the string.

Our Christmas was great. The turned tops and yoyo’s were a huge hit. Our 7 year old grandson hardly puts his yo-yo down.

Can’t wait to get some more shop time to try one of your tops.

wcp

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NotaJock

105 posts in 969 days


#9 posted 12-31-2017 05:30 AM

Went out and bought another box of duplex nails, same story,the lower head is mis-shapen and of a smaller diameter than I/we need. I’m exploring #8 washers under the head to act as the shoulder the string needs to butt against.
I thought I should mention though that on the Christmas run I made a bottom groove just above the nail head to limit.the string on many of the tops.
When I get the top strings from you I should get your mailing addfress so will send several yards of the top string I have.
When I was young, when the spindle fell out of the top we would replace it with a round head screw and call it a ‘Sally Walker’ becauuse it won’t stand still as it spins.

Happy New year.

-- Mike in SoCal

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