Woodturning is said to be the safest form of woodworking, that said it can still be dangerous and care should be taken at all times

The methods and procedures I show here are what I do at the moment and feel safe doing, I am not suggesting that you should do things the same way, that is up to you, if you don’t feel safe doing it one way find another way of doing it.

Above all take care and remember if this is your hobby it is supposed to be fun so enjoy it.

To colour the balls I have the lathe running at 500/600 rpm, any faster and it messes up the felt tips.


Now part off the top just above the mark on the shaft, your top should now look like the one below.


You can now try spinning your top to see if it will turn over, at this stage it is doubtful it will.   So we need to tune it up to get it to work properly the shape you want at the top of the shaft is a slight bevel with a level piece in the middle, as below.


To do this I put a Jacobs chuck in the headstock with a sanding pad and of course sandpaper.   I just touch the end of the shaft to the sandpaper to flatten it then hold the top at an angle while rotating it to get the bevel.   I then try it again to see if it works, it can take several spins to get it going.   The trick is to get it spinning very fast without hitting anything, give it a few goes before altering it.   If it doesn't work then sand a little bit more off of the end of the shaft and redo the bevel and try it again. It is sometimes a good idea to get someone else to try it just in case you are having a bad day and it is you rather than the top.  You can do this as often as needed to get the top working but I find that there will come a stage when it just wont work.   This doesn't happen very often but it is frustrating when it happens.


On the next page is a short movie of me spinning the top shown being made here, it is a bit shaky and out of focus but I am a wood turner not a photographer.

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