Spinning Top Challenge

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Project by Jim Jakosh posted 09-25-2019 01:02 AM 1263 views 3 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Our turners guild has put up a challenge for October for the longest spinning top so I thought I get started early.
This was made out of a couple pieces of wood I found in the wood room and I’m not sure if it was rosewood or not. I used a respirator for the whole process just in case.

The top is 3 1/2” in diameter and 3 1/2” high. It has a stainless steel pin in the bottom for a bearing.The launcher is 1 3/8” in diameter and 7 1/2” long. They are finished with EEE and Shellawax.

I originally had a 3/8 shaft but it broke while I was turning the stainless I glued in a 1/2” shaft and finished it.

I spins for 5 min 15 seconds on my old workbench.

cheers, Jim
Today, I made a couple more tops our of mesquite and concentrated the weight on the perimeter. The one on the left is the original, the one on the right is one I made with out of cherry with the first one and it did not run more than a minute. The two in the center are the mesquite one and they ran 4 minutes and 3+ minutes. the one show running in the second from the left and runs 4 minutes.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

37 comments so far

View lew's profile


13353 posts in 4837 days

#1 posted 09-25-2019 02:08 AM

Nice! I wonder if it would spin longer if the “wings” were thinner.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Cliff 's profile


1909 posts in 2805 days

#2 posted 09-25-2019 03:39 AM

Jim….Very nicely finished. Yes you were wise to take care that it may be Rosewood…

I am quite amazed how long the top spins for. 5 minutes and 15 seconds is a long time. Any kid would be absolutely enthralled watching it spin ( big kids like me would also enjoy watching it spin )

“TOP” Project Jim.


-- Cliff Australia : Snoring is good. It blows away all the Sawdust.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5133 days

#3 posted 09-25-2019 04:24 AM

Very COOL!

You have my ‘top’ spinning… I’m getting dizzy…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Woodknack's profile


13557 posts in 3461 days

#4 posted 09-25-2019 05:47 AM

I went through a phase of making tops and figured out some designs spin longer than others but have already forgotten what I learned, lol, but I think part of it was having a low and wide center of gravity. I experimented with steel nail heads vs wood for the point, and steel (as expected) was lower friction. At 5+ minutes you are killing it.

-- Rick M,

View therealSteveN's profile


7678 posts in 1655 days

#5 posted 09-25-2019 05:52 AM

Fun pursuits. Tops tend to bring out the playful child in us all.

-- Think safe, be safe

View ZAGREB's profile


1276 posts in 2731 days

#6 posted 09-25-2019 07:15 AM

as older as younger
great spinning top.Jim
Greetings from rainy Croatia

-- bambi

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile (online now)

woodshaver Tony C

8039 posts in 4434 days

#7 posted 09-25-2019 09:34 AM

Nice looking top and 5 + minutes that’s a long time!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View kdc68's profile


3009 posts in 3358 days

#8 posted 09-25-2019 10:24 AM

Good looking turning and fun project!

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View BobWemm's profile


2969 posts in 3007 days

#9 posted 09-25-2019 10:55 AM

Yeah, I wondered about the friction on the wing.???

5 min is still very good.
Great job mate.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View doubleDD's profile


10361 posts in 3124 days

#10 posted 09-25-2019 12:22 PM

Nice job with the top Jim. Wow, 5 plus minutes, I’d be worried it would start drilling hole in the surface it’s on. LOL. Good luck with the challenge. Let us know what the longest time ends up to be. I don’t see that being beat.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26193 posts in 4187 days

#11 posted 09-25-2019 01:52 PM

Thanks for the nice comments! I had made a cherry one too and it would only go 2 minutes. It was out of balance right from the start and I don’t have a good way to balance one of these tops. I’ll try mesquite or some other real dense heavy wood.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8411 posts in 1794 days

#12 posted 09-25-2019 02:09 PM

wow over 5 minites thats impressive plus it is very nice looking GREAT JOB :<)))) GRATZ TOP 3

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View socrbent's profile


1042 posts in 3351 days

#13 posted 09-25-2019 02:30 PM

Well done Jim. I think have a large mass balanced low and wide is key. Look at flywheels used on old hit an miss engines and steam engines.

-- socrbent Ohio

View peterford's profile


115 posts in 3689 days

#14 posted 09-25-2019 02:47 PM

very impressive!

-- marshall peterson, north carolina

View Jerry's profile


3488 posts in 2729 days

#15 posted 09-25-2019 03:44 PM

Wow Jim, that is an heirloom quality toy. VERY Impressive.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

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