How to make a wooden spinning top

How to make a wooden spinning top

Lluis shows us how to make this elegant wooden spinning top: Greetings to all! This week I want to share with you my first project with my new wood lathe. I am delighted with it, and because I lack experience in that field, I decided to make a simple and quick project for those like me who are just starting in this discipline. I must admit my interest and admiration for Christopher Nolan’s filmography, so I had the idea of replicating the wood spinning top that in the movie “Inception” is used as Totem (first by Mal and later by Cobb). I will now explain the whole process of creating this object.

To make this wooden spinning top, I started with a 30mm thick piece of leftover walnut from which I needed to obtain a square section strip. In the absence of a band saw in my workshop, I used my electric scroll saw, which worked wonders for the occasion.

I had previously marked the maximum circumference as well as the center on both sides of the piece to serve as a reference when joining it to the ends of the lathe.

How to make a spinning top on the lathe

Once the wood piece is fixed to the lathe, the objective is to obtain a cylinder from it, using a roughing gouge. Then, with the help of a pencil, I marked the proportions of the spinning top based on images obtained from the Internet. Then I started the modeling with a profiling gouge.

Before breaking the wooden piece due to the thinness of its ends, I switched to 80 grit sandpaper to finish the modeling. Because I lack a lathe chuck, I am unable to complete the modeling process on the lathe. I decided to finish the areas that already have the correct shape before taking it off the lathe. So after sanding with progressively finer sandpaper (120, 320 and finally 0000 steel wool), I applied cyanoacrylate glue, which once dried I polished with a piece of leather.

How to finish making the wooden spinning top from Inception film

Next, I removed the spinning top from the lathe with the help of a hand saw, aided by the rotational movement of the lathe in operation. After that, I continued to apply the desired shape with the file and sandpaper. Once I finished, I filled in the unfinished gaps with cyanoacrylate glue, which I finally polished with a nail buffer.

Scroll to Top