Master yoyo modder and wood turner Eric Wolff recently got the idea to make a wooden spin top…out of colored pencils. The results are absolutely amazing! Check out his full explanation of the entire process below, from his post on the TAO Spin Top Forum.
A friend on Facebook posted this video colored pencil ring showing the use of colored pencils, laminated together, for a small turning project (a ring). the visual effect created by turning something out of a “block” of laminated colored pencils is amazing!
So in the video, he makes a ring. a man’s ring, but still only about 1 1/4 ” in diameter……
Those of you that know me know that I can get pretty wacky in pursuing unusual top and yo-yo projects….. ….I went to the local art supply store and bought 80 colored pencils (in a wide variety of colors), and 4 bottles of CA glue (medium viscosity), and a can of CA accellerator. On Saturday I laminated 69 pencils into a 5 high “block” – 6 1/2″ long x 3 1/4″ wide x 1 1/2″ thick. The amount of CA glue necessary to do this, plus all the glue you get on your hands (you can’t use gloves, the CA makes them stick to everything…instantly), makes this a pretty yucky task. At this point I’m questioning the wisdom of what I’ve gotten into…..To give you an idea of the “block”, here’s a photo of a cross section of it:
I figured that I could cut it in half, make two 3 1/4″ x 1 1/5″ round “pucks”, glue the two halves together and end up with a piece 3″ cylinder, 3″ tall. Here’s a picture of a cut off from the rounding:
On Sunday I began to turn it into a top. I had learned from the ring video that laminated pencils would be difficult to turn so I proceeded very slowly, making sure my tools were really sharp and making all my cuts gently. After about an hour, I had the shape roughed out and the top body hollowed….here’s what I had:
A number of voids manifested themselves as I turned; either as a result of the space between the pencils not being completely filled with glue, or as a result of bits of the colored “lead” coming out. So I had to add a fair amount of glue as I went…..more CA glue all over my hands….. I used a piece of cast blue Delrin for the tip section and Maurizio’s second generation tip assembly (which can convert from pure bearing to one-way bearing to fixed). As I got ready to finish the top, I encountered another problem: you can’t sand a block of colored pencils, the “lead” smears all over the piece making it dark and ugly. So I used a very sharp small skew to make as smooth a finishing cut as possible and then some gently applied lathe polish to give it a shine. Here’s the result:
The finished top is about the same size and weight as a Guilia. It was surprisingly balanced on the first throw and only required a few minutes and a small amount of putty to be perfectly balanced. Then son Noah said, “you need to make a button from the pencil cut-offs”…..so, I did:
While the total time of the project was only about 5 hours, I’m not sure if I try it again; it’s really messy…..I’m still peeling glue off of my fingers. -Eric