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Thread: tips on the skew,,

  1. #1
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    tips on the skew,,

    I have been watching you tube videos on the skew and I have been practicing using it,,most of what I have heard about the skew everyone says to stay away from the oval one,,,is there a reason,,,it seems like it would glide much easier on the tool rest giving you more control and maybe less forgiven on getting a catch,,any comments would be appreciated,,

  2. #2
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    Congratulations on tackling the skew. I have wondered the same thing that you posted regarding the mystery of why some people don't like the oval skew.

    I have a question of my own for others to opine on. Since it is important to always cut with the lower half or third of the skew, would there be a benefit to dull the upper half of the skew ? The purpose of during the upper portion would be so that if a person accidentally wasn't paying attention and the upper part touched the wood that it wouldn't dig in and/or cut. Yes, I know that this might be a "crutch" but I was wondering if it would work and if anyone else had tried it?

  3. #3
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    I've used an oval one for a long time. I haven't seen the videos so I don't know why "everyone" doesn't like them. I find it easier to get to the angles I want than with the flat one since it presents a "flat" surface tot the toolrest where with my flat skews I'm up on a corner and less well supported. It doesn't make a huge amount of difference, I use the flat one if it's sharper at the moment, but if I buy a new one it will also be oval.

    Not sure about always cutting with the lower half-- is "lower" the long point or the short point? I think I use the whole length of the blade at various times for various cuts.

  4. #4
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    I've used both, and found I had a lot more control using the flat ones. For me it was always easier to orient it to the workpiece knowing I had the angle flat to the tool rest when I started, since a good portion of the items I made had me traveling at right angles to the rest. The oval tool was always slightly tricker in that regard. Not hard to get used to, but easier with the flat variety.

  5. #5
    While I've never tried an oval skew myself, I have read where others have claimed it's a little trickier to sharpen.

  6. #6
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    I tried an oval once and went back to my flat. It was not that the oval did not work it just seemed flimsy compared to the full thickness of stock. To me it is just as easy to go with a smaller flat if it is small work (my go to is 1" for almost everything).
    With the edged rounded I think the flat slides just as easy; once it off flat the radius seems not not matter to me whether it is a full radius on the short point side or a 2mm radius on the long point side.
    I would leave the long point sharp. Used for V grooves, starting pommels, paring endgrain, and others. Not having the long point would make the cut harder to see in some cases IMHO.
    I just hone mine and only go back to the grinder when I want to deepen the hollow grind (after lots of honing).
    I also tried a curved edge (per Alan Lacer) but went back to straight. Just a lot easier to hone and I did not find any real advantage to the radius edge.
    I am not sure which youtube videos you have watched but here are some that mainly addresses the problems of catches and run-backs (spirals)
    Alan Lacer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP89N-gKcmU
    Richard Raffan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOvF5f1phhY
    Brendan Stemp (2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMIwqFDMIhA
    Alan Batty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfeLAHQSbqk#t=15
    "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity." - Edgar Allan Poe

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff oldham View Post
    I have been watching you tube videos on the skew and I have been practicing using it,,most of what I have heard about the skew everyone says to stay away from the oval one,,,is there a reason,,,it seems like it would glide much easier on the tool rest giving you more control and maybe less forgiven on getting a catch,,any comments would be appreciated,,
    Jeff,

    I have two oval skews and use them. They are more difficult to sharpen since you can't lay one flat against the tool platform at the grinder. I keep mine with a somewhat smaller included angle than the other skews. I can't see any difference in use between the oval and traditional skew. After a little experience with the skew you should not get catches, regardless of the type of skew.

    A skew with one edge round or at least any sharp corners softened so they glide on the top of the tool rest instead of digging in or catching on minor tool rest defects. (those should be fixed immediately anyway, by filing, sanding, or with epoxy (such as JB Weld) for castings with porosity.) Tool rests with hardened steel rod at the top, such as the Robust, are great since putting a dent or groove in one would be difficult. I like the 1/2 circle edge that Doug Thompson puts on his skew chisels.

    Lots of skew users also lubricate the tool rest bar with wax so the tools will slide easier, paste wax, candle wax, etc.

    BTW, most of my skews are conventional but I do get a lot of use from some made from 1/4" round tool steel rod. Frank Penta got me started using this - probably the easiest skew for turning a bead. Mark StLeger also uses them but for another reason: to clean up the inside radius of a box, lid, recess, etc. on small turnings. When held just right (pushed into the wood directly along the axis) the sharp edge between the bevel and the round rod will cut very cleanly and with complete control, sort of like a specialized box scraper sharpened on the side.

    Forgot to mention: There is another advantage of the 1/4" skew - it is easier to see the point and edge when cutting a v-groove, hidden behind a larger skew, especially one sharpened straight across and at a skew angle getting between 70 and 90-deg. I usually reach for the 1/4" skew when cutting v-grooves in small work, especially if cutting them on a slope.

    JKJ
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 01-12-2018 at 11:21 AM. Reason: forgot to mention

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice Rogers View Post
    I have a question of my own for others to opine on. Since it is important to always cut with the lower half or third of the skew, would there be a benefit to dull the upper half of the skew ? The purpose of during the upper portion would be so that if a person accidentally wasn't paying attention and the upper part touched the wood that it wouldn't dig in and/or cut. Yes, I know that this might be a "crutch" but I was wondering if it would work and if anyone else had tried it?

    Brice,

    Dulling the upper half would prevent using the long point (pointy end) to cut deep v-grooves. Better to just learn to learn to keep it cutting in the "safe" position. I tell students to control the exact cutting point on the skew by rotating it ever so slightly - twisting around the axis of the shaft. When planing from right to left twisting a tiny bit clockwise will move the cutting point higher, closer to the dangerous long point.

    You should never get a catch simply by cutting with the edge on the top half of the skew. I've heard people say that part of the edge is "unsupported" which doesn't make any sense. It's just as supported as the lower half - supported by the bevel. In fact I often cut on the top half - I figure by always cutting on the bottom at least half of the edge is still razor sharp when the bottom half needs to be resharpened. Cutting on the top half simply requires more care. The size of the skew relative to the diameter of the wood makes a big difference too - I'll make cuts on the top half of a 1" skew that I would not attempt with a 1/2" or smaller skew (unless the diameter of the wood is quite small).

    Disaster catches are the result of sticking the long point into the wood, usually because of inattention. Dulling the upper half would not stop that. Rounding off the long point might but there goes half the utility of the tool.

    There is one grind that seems to reduce catches for beginners - the rounded edge like Richard Raffan, Alan Lacer, and others use. The curvature, especially towards the lower half of the edge, presents a smaller part of the edge to the wood, almost like a roughing gouge, perhaps making it a little easier to maintain fine tool control and not accidentally make a cut too deep.

    Dulling part of the edge reminds me of years ago when I "invented" a catchless skew. When I posted on another forum they ridiculed and doubted either my seriousness or my honesty. But although I described how to make one either no one tried it or if they did they didn't report back. It really works. The downside is it is a bit of a gimmick - only useful for v-grooves and turning beads, not at all for planing or peeling cuts.

    JKJ
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 01-12-2018 at 1:45 PM. Reason: spelling

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    You should never get a catch simply by cutting with the edge on the top half of the skew. I've heard people say that part of the edge is "unsupported" which doesn't make any since. It's just as supported as the lower half - supported by the bevel.
    JKJ
    Not disagreeing with respect to the bevel but I think it may be a matter of semantics.
    When I have hear the "unsupported" it does not refer to the bevel (necessarily) but to the fulcrum. Cutting as most folks do with the long point up, the further you get up, the further you are from the fulcrum. This is where the tool meets the tool rest and nothing to do with the bevel.
    JMO but I think that is why an oval or round is easier for some folks because the fulcrum changes as the tool rotates.

    I'm fairly sure Brendan Stemp shows/discusses the fulcrum in his first video listed above but can not find it offhand. He does show the same using the long point down about minute 11.
    "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity." - Edgar Allan Poe

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