Our turning club, Silicon Valley Woodturners, has an annual Tops Night - a perfect excuse for a bunch of adults to get on the floor - and play - with tops. There are prizes for the Smallest, The Biggest, The Prettiest. Most Unusual and Spins The Longest. It's the Longest Spinning Top Contest that is the Main Event, and a few members go to great lengths to create a System for long spinning tops. Some bring polished granite slabs, with leveling legs and come up with all manner of Spin It devices. Last year, a new record was set - something like 28 minutes and 46 seconds.

Tops Night. Spinning. Hmmmm . . .

I'd recently done a couple of Winged pieces - that rotated - one using a bearing off a router bit. The idea of doing a top hadn't crossed my mind. But I didn't want to do just a plain ordinary top. Why not do a piece that spun like a top - and didn't LOOK like a top?

I'd recently turning a long Drozda-esque finial - out of oak - just to make things interesting. Oak is an open pores wood - and not particularly easy to turn THIN and DELICATE. What I ended up with was a Goya-esque oak finial - tall and thin - and boring. Oak is interesting when there's a lot of surface area. But when small and thin - not so interesting. So I broke out some TransTint dye - Aged Maple - and some jet black Shoe Dye and ended up with this (about full scale).

Nice top - for a TOP

Now I needed the body of the top. Chucked up a piece of dry poplar laying around and turned a Goya-esque Aladin Magic Bottle - this way.

The poplar was pretty bland. So I gave it a coat of white primer, followed by several coats of a pearlescent white acrylic, clear lacquer applied between coats, and then colored the resulting surface with Prisma Color felt tip pens - in three shades of yellow. Sealed everything with a couple more coats of Rattle Can clear lacquer.

Epoxied the finial to the bottle and I was almost done. Turned a pedestal for the finialed bottle, Prisma Color felt tipped it and I was done - a Goya Spinning Top - disguised as gold Aladin Magic Elixer bottle - with a finial stopper. Had I had more time, I'd have cleaned up the bottom a bit more - but I ran out of time.

CLICK HERE to see the YouTube video of this piece - in action.

If you've watched the video of this piece spinning, you notice that it's not very stabile and tends to wobble if the finial isn't somehow constrained. In part, the wobble is caused by the ball bearing not being slightly off the centerline of the piece - AND - because wood is not homogeneous.

Here's my first cut at Version 2.0 of this Goya Top Idea - an upside down turned tapered cup - with a small hole in the bottom - throug which the Goya Top's finial can be placed. In the Front View, the inside of the cut away cup can act as a nice background for the gold bottle and frame the piece. May metal foil the inside surface of this Stabilizer / Frame. I have some patinaed foil that might work it's gold and red - a nice contrasting background for the Goya Top

This Top That Doesn't Look Like A Top idea has some possibilities. Can YOU think of any?

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