Turning Archive 2005

tops for tots *PIC*

John K Jordan
>Some tops here! Perhaps not as exciting as big bowls, but still a lot of fun.

Some woods I used: walnut, maple, eastern red cedar, black cherry, cocobolo, rosewood, ebony, macacauba, brazialian cherry, zebrawood, bloodwood, pink ivory, purple heart, and others I can't identify. (Sometimes people save little pieces for me) These are a great use for small pieces since you can even make a useful top from a 3/4" board scrap!

I generally start with a square 6 to 10 inches long, support it in a chuck, then turn a series of tops from the same piece. Standard procedure: turn the tip, the "fat" end, then finish the end before cutting the shaft. Most require a touch of 400 paper, but some (like those from cocobolo) I may only touch with 600. I generally use Myland's friction polish, but sometimes just beeswax wax (on the cedar to let the scent through), sometimes oil and wax, and sometimes Shalacwax. I try to make a few of these every evening.

I make these to give to kids, both small and large, but mostly I send batches with missionaries from my chruch. This batch of 50 is going this week to an orphanage in Romania. A friend of mine does fabulous children's shows/meetings and uses the tops for prizes/incentives. He tells from on past trips that the kids go wild over these. There is much poverty and these children have almost nothing - some don't even have socks. (Someone else is sending socks!)

These tops are wildly popular around here, as well. I have executive friends who want them for their desks, people want them for presents for kids/grandkids, etc. I work with both kindergarteners and special needs kids and use them as presents, incentives, and in various activities. They are great for building hand dexterity!

BTW, for scale the the bowl is 8-1/2" in diameter and made from Lyptus - some pretty hard stuff if you haven't tried it.

JKJ in East TN

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