Two months after receiving my first spining top handmade by Uncle Souzhai, it’s all water under the bridge. By dint of searches on Baidu, the Chinese search engine, I ended up finding tops Chinese manufacturers. Just needed to use the right search term ; in this case the word «tuoluo» which means chinese gyro (in Chinese), rather than the translation proposed by the translators online when entering “top” or “spinning top” (in English).
In short, once found the shop, needed to select the product, with the help of a translation tool, and place the order (with the help of my wife). A somewhat complicated operation because Chinese online shops do not allow to pay directly with a credit card (espcially when it is a Visa or Mastercard). You should either go pay at the Bank, or have a Chinese credit card and a token which will provide an identification code. Failing to have a token, we opted for the first solution and a week later, I was recieving two new 12cm diameter tops, Jujube wood, that I rushed to go test and show the tops players in the Park. The specialist has pointed to the head of the gyro and made me understand that it wasn’t good quality, and that within a year or two I should replace top.
Fixed or bearing head ?
At the time, I did not understand much. But fater doing research in specialized stores, I realized that there were different types of heads: those (like mine) composed of a simple steel ball, entered force in a hole provided to this effect, and those, more sophisticated, composed of a small steel cylinder, including the ball and ball (bearings) system. The latter being removable, you can replace the head of the gyro in case of wear.
Despite the criticism, at use, these new tops appeared to be better than Uncle Souzhai one because better balanced, and after a few practice sessions, I found one that suited me the better, the heavier one that weighed not far from 2 kg.
But already, after a month away from daily practice, I started to look on the model above: a big 14 cm diameter gyro! It’s time that the uncle Souzhai choose to call us. He had found, God knows where, a beautiful piece of wood and was already, no doubt, in front the wood lathe of the plant. He called for the sizes of the gyro n ° 2. Using a tape measure, I check the dimensions of one of the tops that I had purchased and my wife passed its to the uncle.
The gyro n ° 2
The next day, Souzhai called us back to announce that the new gyro was ready. He even proposed to come in the evening at our apartment. Proposal that we have politely declined and we have decided to see him the following Sunday, after dinner.
The new gyro is banana yellow, it is, apparently, jackfruit wood, a tree that produces huge fruits which are sold sliced in some old districts of Zhanjiang. It is equipped with a removable head and Souzhai gave me some spare heads, as well as the tool which allows to replace them. It seems well balanced, neither too high, nor too large; but to confirm this impression, I must naturally try it.
On the following day, I return to the park with my new gyro, and then disappointment; the gyro n ° 2 seems difficult to launch. It has the ‘ass’ too heavy and rounded and wants only to lie; in addition, its head, too small, doesn’t grab well the ground. Me, who planed to call back the same evening uncle to tell him that his new top was perfect, I delay my verdict to later. Indeed, each spining top has its peculiarities and I am not yet quite expert to judge the quality in three lashes.
I did well because the day after, the tests are much more conclusive; It is a matter of technique and balance between the right arm that launches the gyro and the left that pulls the whip to give the spining movement. In short, after a few launches more or less successful, the gyro starts, perfectly stable. Tonight, I therefore call the uncle Souzhai.