Cómo hacer una peonza de madera

How to make a spinning top

Lluis shows us how he made this elegant spinning top out of walnut wood:

Hi everyone! This week I want to share with you my first project on my new lathe. I’m very pleased with it, but no, I’ve no experience in wood turning, so I decided to make a quick and easy project for those who like me are newbies at this discipline. I must admit that I have a remarkable interest in Christopher Nolan’s films. And that’s how I came with the idea to make the spinning top that Cobb uses like a Totem (after Mal did) in “Inception” film. Below I explain the whole process of creating this object.

To make this wooden spinning top I started with a scrap piece of walnut about 30mm thick, and I needed to cut a square stick suitable for turning. For doing so I used my scroll saw with a skip-tooth blade which worked so good for this job.

Scrap piece of walnut woodCutting the wooden piece in the scroll saw

Previously I marked the maximum diameter of the section and locate its centre to helping me when I attached to the lathe. Then I drill a pilot hole to allow a better grip in between the piece of wood and the driving centre.

Mark the maximum diameter available in the wooden pieceFind and mark the centre of the workpiece

How to make the spinning top in the latheOnce the piece is locked on place I started turning the piece into a cylinder using the roughing gouge. After that I marked schematically with a pencil the proportions of the spinning top. Then, I started shaping with the spindle gouge.

Before the piece could broke, I change my shaping tool into a 80 grit sandpaper and continued modelling the piece. Because I don’t own a chuck yet, I can’t finish the whole shaping process on the lathe, so before removing it from the machine, I decided to sand it and finish the region that didn’t need more shaping work. So after sanding progressively with 120, 320 grit and 0000 steel wool I applied a cyanoacrylate finish and once it dried I rub it with leather to get a brighter finish.

Shaping with 80 grit sandpaperApplying the finish

How to finish the spinning topThen I used a handsaw with the lathe turned on to remove the piece, so I could finish the shaping work with the file and sandpaper. Once I did that, I applied CA glue in all the unfinished zones and then I buffed out with a nail polisher.

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