Wooden Battle Tops




Introduction: Wooden Battle Tops

My kids have recently become fascinated with spintops, so I thought I would make them a set of "battle tops".  This instructable will cover general instructions for making the arena and the tops.  I am going to assume you already know how to use a lathe.

Items/tools need:
  • 8" Square piece of pine 1"x8"
  • Wooden Dowel 1 5/8"
  • Wood Stain
  • Poly Urethane
  • Sand paper
  • Lathe with tools

Step 1: Create the Battle Arena

In this step, cut your 1x8 into a perfect square.  Then on the back side of the wood, draw an "X" from corner to corner.  This will give you the dead center of the piece.  Before mounting to your lathe, cut off all four corners to make an octagon.  Now, use the center mark to mount to your lathe.

With the lathe on low speed, hold your pencil to the area you want the indention to begin.  This will draw a perfect circle on  your work.

Using your Spindle gouge begin to "scoop" out the middle. everything from the pencil mark to the center.  Make the indention gradually get steeper until the center of the arena is the deepest point.  This way both tops will try to get to that lowest point and cause them to battle.  Otherwise, they will spin in their own area and possibly never collide.  What fun would that be?  :)

Sand your piece down and put it aside.

Step 2: Turn the Tops

Cut a 7" length of the dowel and mount to your lathe.  After truing up the piece, add pencil marks where the whorl will be and where the top of the stem will be.  You can draw these lines perfectly by holding the pencil to the spinning work.

Use the parting tool to cut down the stem to the diameter that you want.  Use the spindle gouge and chisel to cut the point and round over the whorl.

Once it's done, part it off and set aside.

Step 3: Drill Holes to Store the Tops

In this step, drill out four holes just large enough to fit the stems.  You don't want the fit to be too tight because when you add stain, they may no longer fit.

Step 4: Stain and Enjoy

Follow the directions on your wood stain and finish up the project.  I used three coats of stain on the arena and only one coat on the tops.  I also added one coat of poly urethane when done.  

Be sure to stain your two teams of tops different colors so it's easy to tell whose top is whose.

Cabot Woodcare Contest

Participated in the
Cabot Woodcare Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Mason Jar Speed Challenge

      Mason Jar Speed Challenge
    • Bikes Challenge

      Bikes Challenge
    • Remix Contest

      Remix Contest

    6 Discussions


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Each person spins a top in the arena and the last man standing wins!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Try drawing a line (circle) where you want the indention to begin. You can get a perfect circle by turning on the lathe and holding the pencil still against the area you want the circle to be drawn. The using a spindle gouge, begin from that line, moving toward the center of the work. Apply slight more pressure as you get closer to the center, with the most pressure being applied at the very center. This should make a nice even concave with the deepest part being at the center of the work. Good luck!