About this project
We just added Limited Edition Copper to the list! This copper design will be limited to 100 for Kickstarter backers only and won't be added to our line up after the campaign. We will have more copper options available later in the year but this design will be exclusive.
In the beginning...
The first real bit of machining my dad taught me was on the lathe and the first part I made was an aluminum top. Simple enough, I figured, but it was far more complex then I had anticipated and gave me a new level of respect for machining and the 45 years of knowledge that my dad has stored away in his mind. Needless to say my first top was terrible but it spun for 30 seconds or so and inspired me to machine a top that would beat one of my dads.
By early 2013 I was turning some respectable tops and getting some decent spin times out of them...but it just wasn't good enough. It had been suggested to me by a few customers that a ceramic tip would dramatically increase the spin times and create a more durable tip. Another learning curve for me to set that ball tip but I was ready for the challenge and after many months of trial and error (in between machining other goods) I'm proud to say that I've beat my dad's record! My actual record is 9:45 but lacking footage so I will only claim the 9:18 that you see in the video below. I'm certain with the right surface (we've found that glass is best) and enough practice one of you can break the ten minute mark!
Our true inspiration...
Long spin times and durable tips are great but what we are truly selling is the manually machined quality of our tops. We don't have anything against CNC machined tops. I'm sure they are great quality and will last forever but I'm more interested in a hands on approach. I love the fact that the dials are manually turned and details are filed and sanded by hand giving each top an individuality and human element that you just won't get from a CNC machined product. I'm obsessed with the idea of these pieces living on for generations with the story to go along with it. Naturally, your own story will build around the piece over the years, but with one of our tops there is a solid foundation for the story. A hand crafted product made with pride by father and son. It's what we strive to do on a daily basis.
We realize that our tops are a bit pricier then your standard top, which is why I was compelled to add a cool piece that is a bit more affordable. The Teetotum is a fun little top used for the old timey game of Put & Take. Carry one of our conveniently sized Teetotums with you anywhere.
Every EDC top comes with our custom leather pouch and has a ceramic ball tip. Each top starts from a solid bar of 7/8" brass or stainless steel and is manual turned.
Solid Brass | 360 brass with a ceramic ball tip and given a nice patina.
Stainless Steel | 303 stainless with a ceramic ball tip and polished by hand on the lathe.
Black Stainless | 303 stainless with a ceramic ball tip and industrial black oxide. The blackening will uniquely wear with the user giving it a really nice patina.
Why the ceramic tip? The ceramic ball we use is nonporous and has a compressive strength of 580,000 psi. They are harder then most common bearing steels and lightweight so they are the perfect fit for our spinners.
9:18.43...my best spin time on record. The polished stainless is the record breaker. My best with brass is 7:28 and my best with blackened stainless is 6:52. I believe the heating process to blacken the stainless is effecting the ceramic ball and slowing it down so if you're looking for a record breaker go with stainless. If your focus is aesthetics choose any and know that you should get at least 6 minutes out of these tops. Of course, we can't guarantee long spin times because there are variables. The surface is key and it takes practice to get a really good spin. It's not brain surgery but you do have to be persistent and patient. Check out the video below for the proof of the spin. You can obviously fast forward to the end, but I suggest waiting until the end of your day and just watch. There is something relaxing and peaceful about it.
Every Teetotum comes wrapped in a swatch of muslin with the rules screen printed, and our custom leather pouch.
Tiny Teetotum | 1/2" solid 360 brass hex 3/4" long and given a patina.
Pocket Teetotum | 5/8" solid 360 brass hex 7/8" long and given a patina.
Put and Take is one of many
forms of Teetotums, which are any gaming
spinning top. According to the Encyclopedia
Britannica article on teetotums, "the hexagonal (six-sided)
teetotum was known to the
ancient Greeks and Romans." The earliest
teetotums were used as a substitute
for dice, so the sides of the top would be numbered, usually
1 to 6. The Dreidel (a four-sided spinner with Put & Take-like
instructions on the sides) was developed in 16th century
Germany. Put & Take tops originated in America and were very
popular from the early 20th century
to about the 1940’s.The
tops were widely attributed to be developed and popularized
by the doughboys in the trenches of World War I.
They could be carried in one's
pocket and used anytime in a bar, army barracks
or other gathering place for
an impromptu gambling session. Each player
would contribute chips, coins or
currency to a pot. I have found 1921
to be the earliest use of the term "Put & Take."
The spread and popularity of Put & Takes was a true "craze," a term applied to Put & Takes even then.The Put & Take craze enveloped the world in the early 1920's and 30's, as seen everywhere in games, newspaper stories, songs, plays, movies, punchboards, and reform movements to outlaw the spinners and games. The heyday was especially seen in 1921 and 22. There is the 1921 silent movie "Put & Take", a 1921 "Put & Take" Broadway show and song, at least five American patents regarding Put and Take taken out between 1920 and 1940, and even a 1929 "Put & Take" Jazz swing composition.
My dad has been grinding tools since before I was born (not much before but before nevertheless). He's started to teach me, but it truly is a challenging trade in itself. Each tool is ground for the shape or cut that we need and sharpened once dulled.
The quantities are limited for each pledge simply because of the time and labor involved in making the tops. I don't want to promise more than I can deliver on schedule.
Floyd Lawson (pops) has over 45 years of manual machining experience and has been passing on his vast knowledge to me for the last few years. This whole thing started with a stainless steel ring that he made for me years ago. In June of 2011 I asked my dad if he would be interested in making some rings for me and possibly start teaching me the process. A few rings turned into bottle openers and for the holiday of 2012 we decided to add a few tops to see how they sold. That was the real beginning for me because we were truly making pieces that we knew would be passed on for generations to come.
To date we have successfully produced prototypes of our EDC tops. The biggest challenge was setting the ceramic ball tips and we've worked out all of the kinks and ready for production. We have two delivery dates, one for early backers and one for the rest. You will see that the quantity available for all levels is limited strictly because of the amount of time that is required for manual machining of the goods. I've been machining tops for a couple of years now so there is no doubt that the goods can be produced and we will meet our deadlines.
Our schedule will be as follows:
June - Material is ordered for production of all tops and manual machining begins. A deposit will be handed over to both our leather manufacturer and screen printers for production of leather bags and screened Put & Take rules cloth. Art for the custom stamps will be submitted. By the end of June the majority of the early backer tops should be finished.
July - Daily manual machining of tops continues while production of leather pouches and screen printing is completed. Custom stamps take four weeks so will be in house beginning of July and machined Teetotums will be stamped, given a patina and tumbled. By the third week of July Early Backer tops will be bagged and getting ready to ship before the last week of July.
August - Machining, machining, machining...while I'm machining away, finished tops will be bagged and ready to ship.
September - More machining and bagging until late in the month when the final tops will be shipped.
Your contribution will help pay for:
Customs stamps for the Teetotums | We will have custom stamps made that will use our company font and have both characters on one stamp so it will cut the stamping time in half and keep the side by side letters consistent and in line with each other.
Leather bags | I've been wanting to offer these for awhile with all of our EDC tops but hasn't been in the budget to have them manufactured. We will be using a small local leather shop so we know the quality meets our standards.
Put & Take rules | We will have the rules to Put & Take screen printed on muslin, cut and sewn. A convenient way to keep the rules with you and add a little more protection to your Teetotum.
A new tumbler | Our tumbler was cheap to begin with and ready to retire.
Greg Postma | For going above and beyond in shooting/editing our movie. Check out his site to see what he does by day.
Charles Wyatt of Charles Atlas | For the kind permission to use their song Photosphere.
Mike Major | For our amazing new logo that we are proud to share. MajorDesign
Lisa | For being so supportive and a constant inspiration.
Robert Eisenstadt | For his extensive knowledge on Teetotums and the game of Put & Take.
Risks and challenges
There are a couple of main challenges that we are prepared to tackle. The first being manually machining every piece. While this is time consuming it's what we do so we are prepared to deal with the labor. The second would be the manufacturing of leather pouches and screened rules list for the Teetotums. It seems like handing over the manufacturing of something would be the easy part but if you've ever tried to have anything manufactured you will know what a nightmare it can be. I know there are quite a few campaigns that have faced this challenge and it's the main reason we try to keep everything in house. That said, I have confidence in both of our manufacturers that we have lined up so there shouldn't be any major issues.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I ship everything Priority Mail and not First class. I simply don't trust first class international mail as I've had numerous international packages gone missing and have had packages take up to 6 weeks or more to arrive. The majority of my existing international customers prefer to pay a little extra to ensure faster shipping times and that it will arrive. Priority shipping is actually $25 ($20 to Canada) but I'm covering $5 of it just to make the shipping less of a hit. I understand that I'm going to lose some international support but I really don't see the small savings in shipping first class mail as being worth it. I make everything by hand (manually machined) so it stings when a package is lost.
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