204 – The 10-Minute Spinning Top

HD |  SD |  Subscribe (iTunes/RSS)

A few weeks back, I visited professional turner and instructor Matt Monaco’s shop in Phoenix, AZ. I was there to film a segment for a recent Guild project but Matt also offered to show us how he turns a spinning top in under ten minutes! He does it all with a roughing gouge and a skew chisel.

During the little interview section at the end, Matt mentions a turning tool company that he really believes in. Here’s the link in case you want to check them out: Thompson Tools

Categories: On the Road, Projects


  1. Peter Durand June 21, 2013

    Great video. It renewed my interest in turning. Thanks…

  2. Bob Waxler June 21, 2013

    +1 to Peter.

  3. Dave June 21, 2013

    What brand of chuck does he use?

    • GregF June 22, 2013

      It looks like a Super Nova 2 Chuck.

  4. Andrew June 22, 2013

    Video doesn’t work for me, I tried ie and firefox. Both say server not found, usually I have no trouble with Marc’s videos.

  5. GregF June 22, 2013

    I wish I could use my skew chisel with Matt’s confidence. He is clearly well practiced.

  6. Jay June 22, 2013

    What wood species was that?

  7. Nice video. Excellent use of skew chisel.

    A couple tips for top turners. After turning the bottom, if you use the cone shaped dead center , it helps a lot to hold the wood and reduces the chance of breaking the stem.

    Making a base for the tops makes a great place to hold, spin and show off your top on your desk.

    For choice of woods, the colored plywood from woodcraft, known as Spectrawood makes eye catching and popular tops.

    A lower center of gravity and you can get tops that spin for 1 to 2 minutes.

    A nice finish is EEE polish with Mylands turners finish. Makes them sparkle.


  8. TylerW June 24, 2013

    Thanks for the video. I happened to find a killer deal on a Jet mini-lathe this weekend and this was my first project to get to know the tool.
    Turning was a lot of fun, but the BEST part was seeing my wife (who has shown absolutely no interest in woodworking up to this point) get interested and try making a top!
    For the record, her top makes mine look like a spinning piece of poo. She loves it and has already started making herself a purpleheart crochet hook. (Yes, I’m a woodworker and she’s a knitter…it’s a mixed marriage!)

  9. ben johnson June 25, 2013

    Top of the morning to ya, Hey Mark is there a certain type of lathe you would recommend for someone like me just getting started in wood turning. I have been looking online at the delta 46-460. Which looks a bit bigger than a mini lathe out there.


      I honestly don’t keep up with the various lathe models. But I’d say get the best used lathe you can find. You’ll get more bang for the buck that way and fortunately, lathes don’t have a whole lot of complicated parts. So it should be easy to inspect prior to purchase. You can probable get yourself a nice full-sized unit and save a ton of dough.

  10. Don June 25, 2013

    I have been lucky enough to view videos on a smart TV. I thought you should know. Hands down your videos are still the best around. The quality of the videos are as great as your woodworker skills that you are able to share. Keep up the great work. Can’t wait to read your book.

  11. Matt S June 25, 2013

    Awesome video Marc!!!

  12. Josh Connolly August 30, 2013

    Tease, at first glance I thought it was a top that would spin for 10 minutes ;)

  13. Ben in Texas November 5, 2013

    What was that sitting on the lathe headstock? Home made speed control? If so, can he share the details? Looking to do the same. Great video. As one one said, your quality is tops!

  14. Brianna BB December 11, 2014


Leave a reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Image Map