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Hole-saw Toys

Updated on October 23, 2014
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Neil grew up in Smithfield, Utah, on a hobby farm and learned gardening from his father and other area farmers that he worked with.

Hole saw and the blank, the inspiration of these projects.
Hole saw and the blank, the inspiration of these projects.
Figure 1.  The center hole will already be drilled.  Drill the other two holes and run the string through these holes.
Figure 1. The center hole will already be drilled. Drill the other two holes and run the string through these holes.
Figure 2.  The side view of a yo-yo
Figure 2. The side view of a yo-yo
Figure 3.  The side view of a simple top.
Figure 3. The side view of a simple top.

When the typical hole-saw saws a hole, the resulting ring is a scrap of material that kids of any age will find intriguing. I’ve spent hours playing with these rings and imagining the possibilities. The tools required for the following toys can be counted on one tiny fist, a simple drill. Use the drill first to drill the hole with the hole-saw, and then to drill an additional hole or two if needed.

Button spinner: This traditional toy was originally made by taking a button and running a string through two of the holes and then tying the two ends of the string together. To play with the toy, hold one end of the loop in each hand, and slide the button to the center. Spin the button to twist the string then pull the two ends making the string taunt and causing the button spin. By releasing the tension just as the button is done unwinding allows the momentum of the button to wind the string back up. With a little bit of practice one can play with this toy for hours.
Buttons are small, and momentum is best kept by larger objects. Simply drill two small holes on either side of the center hole (see figure 1) of the hole-saw ring and you have a very large button spinner, that will put even the biggest button to shame for ease of use and endless play.

Yo-yo: Look closely at a yo-yo (see figure 2). It is two discs attached in the center by a dowel. Two hole-saw rings pushed onto a single dowel with a small space left between them makes a very basic, but functional yo-yo. Just make sure both discs are sanded and finished to a very smooth finish and that the rings are glued securely to the dowel, then add a yo-yo string and explore. Playing with a yo-yo requires a bit of practice as well.

Top: Equally simple to make, this top is no more than a dowel with a semi-pointed end, pushed through a hole-saw ring (again, glued securely, see figure 3). This makes a perfectly functional top with no additional items needed, but like these other toys a bit of practice will make spinning the top easier.

Here are three traditional and perhaps forgotten toys out of what in many shops would be scrap, left over from a hole-saw.


Other uses for hole saw blanks

Toy wheels
Display stands (take the tip off of the top pattern and use a longer dowel.)
Solar (eclipse) projector. (Hold the blank so that there is a dot of light in the middle of the shadow. This is an image of the sun. If there is an eclipse, you will see the image of the eclipse.)


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