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Thread: Any top turners out there?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Ogden, Utah
    Posts
    348

    Any top turners out there?

    Man I'm tired of turning tops. My wife volunteered me to turn some tops for a fundraiser at the local 4th of July shindig here in North Ogden. It's Cherry Days because at one time our little town was predominately a cherry farming community. So they want cherry tops. I didn't get a lot of notice, just found out last tuesday. I was given a few green fruit cherry logs and since tuesday I've cut up the wood and managed to turn 48 tops. But they want at least 100 by the 4th. Does anyone have a good production method for turning tops. So far I'm using walnut dowels for the stems, cherry wood for the rest. I wouldn't mind hearing from anyone that's ever had to turn a bunch of them in a hurry.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,588
    Sorry, the only help I can give you is to bumb this thread.....

    Good luck!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    29,092
    I've turned a total of one top -- and it was a single piece of wood -- so I don't really have any experience to draw from. But, since you're using a dowel, could you turn multiple bodies out of a single chunk of wood (between centers), cut each one off with a fine-toothed handsaw or something similar, and drill them on the drill press? Then, once you've attached the dowel, chuck it up, true it up, and turn the point in the dowel.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    2,434
    Yeah, I turned a bunch of them last year as a demo for Johnsons wood expo.

    We gave them away as fast as we could make them.
    A very wise man once said.......
    "I'll take my chances with Misseurs Smith and Wesson. "

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Lake City, Florida
    Posts
    498
    Any top turners out there?

    I'm on the Bottom Turners list -- but I keep trying

    Tony, BCE '75

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
    Posts
    4,834
    Can't help you Curt. I have turned a few but not a hundred at a time. Don't you just love the way they volunteer you for things then ask after the fact?
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    1,325
    If you have the wood supply, might I suggest you turn 'em all in one piece?

    I did 50+ tops for my local ww club last year for the annual toys-4-tots at xmas time. All of mine were maple, one piece. With a friction polish, i spent probably half an hour on each one and I wasn't in a rush.

    Then a few months later, we were at the State Fair and I was turning unfinished tops real quick. I could make 'em VERY fast with just my parting tool and a little gouge to form the point.

    It goes real fast when they're a single piece, if you have a chuck. It's easiest with a chuck, for me. I just mount a 12" long 2" square chunk and just get to choppin. Make a top, part it off with the skew (skews part off cleaner than a parting tool) and begin on the next one. A foot long is about as far out as I'll go, and I'll support the tips with a hollow dowel on the tailstock for the first few.

    Hope that helps
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Ogden, Utah
    Posts
    348
    Well, I made my 100 tops. I may never turn another one as long as I live. If I had to do that for a living I'd rather live in a cardboard box and eat out of the dumpsters. The first few dozen weren't too bad but they really got monotonous after that.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    29,092
    Shame to hear your camera broke, Curt. A hundred tops. Yeah, right.

    Kidding of course...did you do them all with the two piece method?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,697
    My woodturning club has a member who does spring-pole lathe demos at a folk center here in Arkansas. He makes tops for show and sell in the gift shop. Most of what he sells are done at home on a standard lathe. He says there is much information available for serious top turners. Also says that, for best balance and performance, the Golden Mean applies to the shape. That's the rule of Fibonnaci. BTW, he uses practice points from arrows for tips or sawed off masony nails. Both work well. The nails are inexpensive, but I would think that sawing them would be something of a nusiance and wear out hacksaw blades quickly.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

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