Turning Archive 2005


John Lucas
>John K Jordan along with a few others branched off into the skew direction while talking about spindle turning. I thought I would start another thread about the skew to see what we can learn.

I have skews from 1/16" to 3 1/2". Yes I did say 1/16", remember I turn a lot of miniatures. I find skews a lot of fun and occasionally unfriendly usually when I do something stupid or I'm showing off. They have a way of humbling you.

My favorite is a 1" oval skew. I've turned with a lot of different skews, but unfortunately not an Alan Lacer skew. It's hard to justify the price when my 1" does all i want. A thicker skew does vibrate less but the shoulder sometimes gets in the way when you turn coves.

I made a bunch of round skews when I turned ornaments to see if I could improve on them. The 1/4" is the best. I have 5/16" and 1/2" round skews. The 1/2" is so wide at the long point that you can't get inbetween beads as well and the shoulder of the bevel rubs when trying to turn coves. The 1/4" is a great all around tool for small turnings.

I don't find a lot of difference between flat skews and oval skews. About the biggest different is what I'll call a peeling cut. This is when you use the skew kind of like a parting tool to create tenons or waste away wood. The oval skew will rock if your not careful and you will get a catch if the long point rocks down. The flat skew is easier to keep flat. In my hands there isn't much difference in the the bottom edge, whether it's an oval skew, a rounded bottom or just has the corners knocked off. I can roll beads with any one of them. There is a little learning curve but they all work similar.

Well I'm getting long winded and could still talk some more about the skew but the reason I started this was to hear from all of you.

I will say that I always had trouble using the skew until I used the skew on a spring pole lathe. When the wood revolves this slow you can really feel when you are on the bevel and all of the sudden I was using this tool. I went home and turned the speed down on my lathe and I was able to learn the techniques better. Now I find I work better at high speed with the skew. If your having trouble try using a slower speed, even having someone rotate the wood by hand so you can watch the tool cut.

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