Turning Archive 2004
William Duffield on the Cohansey
>I turned this top yesterday, as a gift for the son of my next door neighbor.
The design is roughly based on one my great grandfather made from walnut, that I played with as a boy. I forgot to take photos and measurements of that one when I was at my brother's house this spring, so this one could not be considered a reproduction. IIRC, someone posted pictures of another one here a couple of months ago.
The spinner is turned from red mulberry, 2 5/16” dia. x 3 5/8” long, from a tree removed from the fence row behind another neighbor's house. This is my first opportunity to use my new Talon chuck.
The handle is turned from Honduras mahogany, 1" square x 8 1/2" long. I drilled the holes for the mechanism before I turned it. The upper axle bearing is 3/8" diameter, the lower axle bearing is 3/4" diameter, and the two 5/8" diameter overlapping through holes spaced on 1/2" centers and cleaned up with chisel and file, make up the string winding ports.
The pull is turned from black walnut, 1" dia. x 4 1/4" long.
Finish for all parts is Loxahatchee Tool Works Frog Polish.
There is a 5/64" diameter hole drilled through the narrowest point of the axle of the top. The pull has a 3/16" diameter hole half way through for a stopper knot, and a 5/64" diameter hole the rest of the way through. The string is seine twine, with one end "whipped" with superglue.
For those not familiar with this traditional toy, you put the axle through the "bird cage" with the axle down, insert the end of the string in the hole drilled through the axle, wind it up by hand, grasp the top and handle in one hand and the pull in the other, turn it over, setting the point of the top lightly on the floor, and pull the string. It spins for an incredibly long time on wooden or tile floors.
The recipient is only three, so it may take him a while to master it. In the meantime, I think his parents will have fun with it.
I already have orders for two more. I will try to use only locally collected woods for all the components of the next ones. Maybe these will be heirlooms, too, some day.