Go back to the tip and turn the point with a skew, again using light cuts. Turning the tip last ensures that it's centered on the top for a balanced, long-lasting spin. (See photo, above left.)
Finally, part the top off the lathe at the shaft end, and drill a ^/^-in. hole through the shaft for the pull string. (See drawing, previous page.)
It's not necessary, but I like to turn the launcher on the lathe. A simpler approach is to bandsaw and carvc the launcher by hand. Below I'll describe how it's done on the lathe.
Start with a blank that's in. thick by 13/g in. wide and about 7 in. long. Before turning, I bore two intersecting, perpendicular holes in the stock. (See drawing.) I get the cleanest holes using a Forstner bit on my drill press.
After drilling the holes, mount the stock on the lathe between centers. Use a gouge or a skew to soften the corners on the end where you've bored the holes, taking light cuts to avoid tearing out. Then turn the remainder down to a round handle. (See middle photo, above.)
Once you're satisfied with the shape, sand and color the launcher on the lathe. Part off the hcadstock end of the launcher, removing the center drive marks. I usually leave the drive marks on the tailstock end, since I use a live center and the circular marks it leaves complement the overall design.
Turning the fighting disks is fast and fun. First, I saw a piece of 8/4, 5-in.-long stock into an octagon, tilting the table on my bandsaw to roughly 45" and slicing off each of the four corners. Then I mount the stock in my four-jaw chuck and turn it round.
Next, I bore a V^-in. hole into the end grain of the cylinder, about 3 in. deep. I use a V^-in. twist bit in a three-jaw chuck fitted in my tailstock for this drilling operation, but you can just as easily bore the hole with a gouge.
Once I've drilled the hole, I use a gouge to turn the end slightly convex. (See drawing.) At this point you can part off the disk, but I like to add some textural decoration with chatterwork. To cut these chisel-like patterns into the end grain, I use a Sorby Chattertool, available from Craft Supplies USA (800-551-8876). For more information on chatterwork, sec AW #45. Once I've chattered the end, I decorate it further with markers.
Finally, use a parting tool to undercut the back side of the disk, following the convex curve on the end of the cylinder. (See drawing.) Aim for a disk thickness of in. to -V](y in. I make the final cut into the bored hole with the tip of the skew, parting off the disk cleanly. After a quick sanding by hand to the back of the disk, you're all done. I like to make four disks—in different color patterns—so that everyone can join in the fun.
As a finishing touch for the set, I turn a handle between centers for the pull string. (See drawing.) Use a gouge to cut the cove, then shave each end with a skew. Before parting the ends, don't forget to decorate them with markers to match the set. Finish up by drilling a hole in the handle, then tie on some nylon string and get ready to launch!
To use this devilish dueler, place the base on a level surface. Insert the top s shaft into the smaller hole in the launcher, and poke the free end of the pull string into the hole in the shaft. Wind the string by spinning the top by hand.
Place the tip of the top lightly in the hollow at the center of the base, and pull the string hard to spin the top. Now take a disk and set it on edge in the outer groove, at the same time leaning it against the spinning rim of the top. Keep adding disks until all players are represented. The disks will race around the base, jostling and bumping one another as they go. Now place your bets! A
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Have you ever wanted to begin woodworking at home? Woodworking can be a fun, yet dangerous experience if not performed properly. In The Art of Woodworking Beginners Guide, we will show you how to choose everything from saws to hand tools and how to use them properly to avoid ending up in the ER.