Dave Plays with Wood Turning #3: Playing with a Top

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Blog entry by Dave Rutan posted 12-09-2015 01:36 AM 1261 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Honey Dipper/Potato Masher Part 3 of Dave Plays with Wood Turning series Part 4: A Better Drive Spur for my DIY Turning Contraption »

I do not own an actual lathe, but I lashed together something some months ago to play with [link]. With Christmas approaching and no idea for my nephew, it occurred to me that a top might be a good gift. I well remember and have rewatched Steve Ramsey’s video where his lathe gave him a hard time when he was trying to make a top. I decided that maybe, just maybe I could manage to make one with my improvised wood turning device.

[Below] I glued up four pieces of 3/4 in. oak to make the blank. After it dried I squared it off a bit on the table saw. Only goof I made was to not cut the corners off the piece before turning it.

[Below] I started rounding it down. I’ve got a bit of a learning curve to go with turning.

[Below] Here I’ve got the spindle pretty close to size and I’ve begun tapering the bottom. While doing this I kept imagining it would explode on me, but the worst that happened was the piece slightly popped out from my home made spur drive.

[Below] I used an open end wrench as a gauge to size the spindle. It’s a tip that I saw, read, or heard somewhere. I had removed the piece from the lathe with my parting tool(!), but I removed the stump from the spindle with a dovetail saw. The fancy ring was an improvisation. I had a ring that I couldn’t scrape out, so I made it deeper instead. It’s a feature, not a flaw!

[Below] Even though the top will work well without it, I made a handle like Steve did. It didn’t come out well and I’ll be making a new one, plus making a small adjustment to the top. The project will be posted soon.

If you’re interested, here’s the video from Steve Ramsey that inspired me to try this project on my stone knives and bear skins lathe

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

2 comments so far

View CharlieK's profile


595 posts in 4397 days

#1 posted 12-09-2015 02:54 AM

That is pretty good, Dave. I like your improvised turning device!

How well does the top work?

-- Adjustable Height Workbench Plans

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1786 posts in 2792 days

#2 posted 12-09-2015 11:17 AM

That is pretty good, Dave. I like your improvised turning device!

How well does the top work?

- CharlieK

I haven’t timed it, but it spun for a pretty long time on our kitchen floor. It looks pretty stable as well.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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