Turning Archive

humbling experience with skew

eliot feldman
I been turning for a long time now and believe that I know how to sharpen, hone and use a skew chisel -- at least for a straightforward parallel cut along a simple cylinder. I've done it a thousand times. But recently on a hard maple cylinder about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and four inches long with the grain running parallel to the lathe bed, I keep getting really bad catches. I even tried switching skews, resharpening and honing them. What happens, with everything running perfectly true, at speed about 1800 RPM, is that I begin to get tinny little ticking sounds followed by the catch. It happens cutting in either direction. I am definitely not cutting any differently from what I have always done, at least as far as I can tell; but this is driving me crazy! If I do a peeling cut, everything is fine, just fine, clean as a whistle with not vibration -- but not when rubbing the bevel parallel to the axis with the tool rest a bit high. Has anyone had a similar experience?

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