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The Skew (Read 1,609 times)
 
Ed Weber
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The Skew
Nov 10th, 2017 at 10:18am
 
This topic was somewhat started in another recent thread. I had some thoughts on it and decided to give it it's own.

IMO
Thousands of years ago, the skew was the very first woodturning chisel made. A simple flat chisel plunged into spinning wood and woodturning was born.
Soon after it's invention (the next day) they started to improve upon it and have been trying ever since. This tool has remained pretty much unchanged for thousands of years. and as a result hasn't gotten any better in all that time. So why do people still try to convince me it's great?  I know some people can use it with skill and ease but it's simply not my forte. Stop trying to convince me that I need learn to "learn the skew", no I don't, let it go.

There are no cuts that can be made with a skew that I can't reproduce with other turning tools that I'm more comfortable using. I don't ever find myself saying "I wish I was better at the skew" it doesn't happen. I don't own any skews, just a unusually high number of NRS's  Lips Sealed

Final Thoughts,
The skew isn't some underdog that needs to be championed, it's a relic. Give it it's proper place in history and celebrate it, (preferably at a museum in a glass covered display case)
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Re: The Skew
Reply #1 - Nov 10th, 2017 at 10:51am
 
In that other thread, the idea of using it as a door jamb has alot of merit!! Smiley Smiley
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Re: The Skew
Reply #2 - Nov 10th, 2017 at 12:46pm
 
I've heard it referred to as the Devils can opener. I'm sure one day I will learn to use it properly.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #3 - Nov 10th, 2017 at 1:03pm
 
Smiley

I look forward to your video on turning a pommel with a NRS.

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Ed Weber
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Re: The Skew
Reply #4 - Nov 10th, 2017 at 3:39pm
 
Ralph Fahringer wrote on Nov 10th, 2017 at 10:51am:
In that other thread, the idea of using it as a door jamb has alot of merit!! Smiley Smiley


Agreed
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Re: The Skew
Reply #5 - Nov 10th, 2017 at 3:42pm
 
Mike Mills wrote on Nov 10th, 2017 at 1:03pm:
I look forward to your video on turning a pommel with a NRS.


I use spindle gouges & detail gouges, I find them much easier to control and I'm happy with my results.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #6 - Nov 10th, 2017 at 4:05pm
 
I still use it for making V;s or cleaning up beads other things in vases and other work like that.  I used it for a few years to master it and felt at the end even when I was good with it I did not need to use it what the intent was for.

It still cleans up in straight cuts for spindle turning but that is all I use it for.  I teach the vets how it was used but mostly how it can be used to enhance other cuts to clean up beads or other things like that.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #7 - Nov 10th, 2017 at 5:08pm
 
Arlin Eastman wrote on Nov 10th, 2017 at 4:05pm:
I teach the vets how it was used but mostly how it can be used to enhance other cuts to clean up beads or other things like that.

Or it can be used as a door stop, or coat hook or...  Grin


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Re: The Skew
Reply #8 - Nov 10th, 2017 at 5:20pm
 
I like it with a convex grind...much easier to use, IMHO.  Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register

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Re: The Skew
Reply #9 - Nov 10th, 2017 at 6:20pm
 
Jeff Vanden Boogart wrote on Nov 10th, 2017 at 5:20pm:
I like it with a convex grind...much easier to use, IMHO.


They are much less "grabby" that way, less of a tendency to lift the grain and splinter.
JMO as well
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Re: The Skew
Reply #10 - Nov 10th, 2017 at 10:10pm
 
Like other contemporary beginners, I began turning with carbides and admittedly felt somewhat 'less than' because I didn't use traditional tools...let alone the dreaded skew.  Speaking specifically to the skew, I had precious little reason to learn it as I don't do spindle work and therefore had no purpose.  Eventually I began the slow migration from carbide to traditional tools still eschewing the skew (see what I did there?).

Then someone shared with me a video of the first turner I saw making small Christmas trees and thought to myself, now I finally have a reason to learn the skew.  First I tried all of those other tools I already felt comfortable with and noted the difficulty I had with achieving a clean finish.  Enter the skew.

First the old small skews that came with the cheap Craftsman set I purchased.  Yikes...catches galore as those small blades caught edge after edge.  Enter the Alan Lacer Skew.  I readily admit, I felt a tinge of glee once I figured out the optimal geometry of blade height and the angle with which to present the tool.  Better and better I became until I was able to resurrect the small Craftsman for more precision work.

But what's the point of all this relative to Ed's post?  Not much really.  I think I allowed myself to feel less of a turner initially as I saw others be critical of carbides and gloat that real turners use gouges and skews.  In the end, however, neither the wood or my customers care what tool I used.  Am I glad I learned to use the skew?  Yes...but for different reasons.  At first, I took up the challenge out of stubbornness.  Now, however, I simply enjoy the skew as a different type of turning from my bowl work.

Finally...for what it's worth, I find the semi-rounded edge less prone to catching.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #11 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 7:24am
 
I own 7 different skews and use them all ranging in size from 1/4" to 1-1/2". The only tool I use more is a bowl gouge which I sometimes use like a skew when I cut on its side edge.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #12 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 8:42am
 
Ron Sardo wrote on Nov 11th, 2017 at 7:24am:
I own 7 different skews and use them all ranging in size from 1/4" to 1-1/2". The only tool I use more is a bowl gouge which I sometimes use like a skew when I cut on its side edge.


As once famously said Ron...'this one is strong with the force'.

Seriously though...question for context, what type of work do you do?
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Re: The Skew
Reply #13 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 10:43am
 
Even if you gave up trying to use a skew, they work well as a negative rake scraper and for m the dovetail on a chuck mortise well
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Re: The Skew
Reply #14 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 12:11pm
 
Al Wasser wrote on Nov 11th, 2017 at 10:43am:
Even if you gave up trying to use a skew, they work well as a negative rake scraper and for m the dovetail on a chuck mortise well


Isn't that what they were designed for  Roll Eyes

When I was teaching myself to turn, I tried the skew with limited success. I had a BB rectangular shaft skew and a cast iron tool rest. With the constant dig in's into the tool rest I was unable to smoothly operate the tool. Between the learning curve of catches and having to dress my toolrest regularly to repair the dents, I quickly came to the conclusion that there must be a better way for me to go about this. I started using spindle gouges and had an immediate improvement, once I settled on a grind I liked, there was even more.
Every once in a great while I'll pull out a skew, excuse me NRS, and try a few cuts. Even if/when I get the results I'm after, I still don't yet have the comfort level I do using gouges, so back in the drawer it goes. I'm sure someday I' get to that comfort level but it may take a long while, since I only use it for 15 minutes every two years.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #15 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 12:39pm
 
I find that the only thing I can use the 1/2 skew for is that the 1/2 inch one I have is at the perfect angle for putting a dove-tail recess on the back of something to fit my chuck jaws. Just lay it flat and plunge at an angle and clean out the center. Works great but anything else is just catchs and they look dangerous. Geo.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #16 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 4:29pm
 
Skew is a 4 letter word.... I am getting the feel for it, well better than I used to. I do find them handy for peeling cuts, which can be for sizing, and for a finish cut on spindles. I never had much luck with a good finish cut with a skew on spindles, until I got a 600 and 1000 grit CBN wheel, and had better luck when I took those grinds to my Tormek honing wheel. I must have been doing hand honing wrong forever.

The convex grind works better for curved shapes rather than a straight line cut, and the standard skew works better for straight cuts and V cuts. Well, for me. I do prefer gouges for coves and beads though.

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Re: The Skew
Reply #17 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 6:30pm
 
Definitely a learning curve, but I don't know how I would get as flat a cut along a flat section of spindle with any other tool than my 1" skew.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #18 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 6:40pm
 
John Grace wrote on Nov 11th, 2017 at 8:42am:
As once famously said Ron...'this one is strong with the force'.

Seriously though...question for context, what type of work do you do?


Check my website, it's in my signature.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #19 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 7:50pm
 
Ron...wonderful work, very refined and elegant.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #20 - Nov 12th, 2017 at 10:59am
 
Thank you
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Re: The Skew
Reply #21 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 9:32am
 
Oh Ed,
Just joined and scrolling the pages and read this. Shocked, the Skew is the best tool by a million miles for a spindle turner and no tool can match it for speed, finish and it can do things a spindle gouge can’t. Don’t write it off just because you’re not comfortable with it.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #22 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 9:50am
 
I've always wanted to learn the Skew... of course I've always wanted to be 6'-2". (I'm 5'-8" by the way Cheesy)
I've never used a tool more possessed by evil Angry

I've tried several times.. really!! Gotten somewhat comfortable... then BAM.. it takes control and  Cry

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Re: The Skew
Reply #23 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 10:28am
 
Welcome Steve, please don't think I'm jumping on you with your first post.
You should post something in the introductions 

I do want to clarify for those who misunderstand my position.

Steve Jones wrote on Feb 9th, 2018 at 9:32am:
Don’t write it off just because you’re not comfortable with it.


That's exactly why I write it off, because I'm not comfortable with it.

noun: comfort

    1. a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.
   
    2.  the easing or alleviation of a person's feelings of grief or distress.

Neither of these two phrases describes me when using a skew.

When performing any type of work that relies on hand tools the artist or crafts-person needs to be comfortable with there tools, We've all heard phrases like " the tool is an extension of his hand" or similar when referring to an accomplished artist or crafts-person . If you're not "comfortable" with your tools, you are less safe and too much of your attention is focused on trying to tame or control the tool rather than actually performing the craft you're supposed to be focused on.
I often remind people that knowing your tools capabilities and limitations is a key part of the equation for success but not the only part. I know what a skew can do, I've seen it done but I also know my personal capabilities and limitations.

As I mentioned in my OP which apparently needs repeating.
Ed Weber wrote on Nov 10th, 2017 at 10:18am:
There are no cuts that can be made with a skew that I can't reproduce with other turning tools that I'm more comfortable using.

and

Ed Weber wrote on Nov 10th, 2017 at 3:42pm:
I use spindle gouges & detail gouges, I find them much easier to control and I'm happy with my results.


This is just my personal opinion, I have been using hand tools of all types in numerous disciplines daily for over 35 years. I am well adept at knowing what will and what will not work well in my hands. I know when I'm comfortable
My original post was mostly "tongue-in-cheek" I really don't care what anyone uses, so long as they use it safely and it provides the results they're trying to achieve.
This applies to all tools
I think I will start a thread about tool comfort, thanks Steve
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Re: The Skew
Reply #24 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:42am
 
Appreciate your views but I find the Skew the most comfortable tool and easiest tool for most things. I’m sorry if I missed the tongue in cheek but it was such a bold statement and  I felt saddened that the most versatile and efficient tool is becoming feared,  but I suppose that’s come from the decline in professional woodturning and the massive increase in woodturning as a hobby, which is actually keeping the craft alive.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #25 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 12:29pm
 
Steve Jones wrote on Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:42am:
I felt saddened that the most versatile and efficient tool is becoming feared

Well versatile and efficient is an apt description but still your opinion.
As far a feared, I'm not afraid of the skew, I just don't like it.

In all seriousness, I have tried the skew in the past and I'm sure I will try it again in the future. As for now, I simply don't have a 'need' for the skew, I suppose that could change though I don't see how.
Everyone is different and approaches their craft or hobby in their own way. I don't consider any method to be right or wrong, just not how I do it in my shop. Cheesy
I'm sure we were both taught in different ways which has led us to where we are now. I am self taught without any formal instruction to turning tools.
This means I developed my own bad habits, not inherited someone else s  Roll Eyes
Most turning tools are second nature to me, other than the skew and scrapers, I just don't care for them and they don't have the right "feel" to me. I think of it as no different than proffering one grind over another it's all individual preference.


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Re: The Skew
Reply #26 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 12:48pm
 
I understand Ed and I agree there is no right or wrong way. I use it because it’s impossible to turn as efficiently with any other tool.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #27 - Feb 10th, 2018 at 10:44am
 
I only use one as a NRS.   35 degree grind both sides.    Remember what side the burr is on.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #28 - Feb 10th, 2018 at 12:23pm
 
I have spent 40 yrs trying to learn the skew and finally have come to see, IMHO, the issue. Skew is the first lathe tool and has evolved into gouges, etc thru time. It is the origin and a relic. And, like parting tools or bowl gouges, a specialty tool. It is the least forgiving tool on my stand. Keep all your chisels sharp and use them in the way that works for you. Thumbs Up
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Re: The Skew
Reply #29 - Feb 10th, 2018 at 6:54pm
 
This forum's Woodturning Videos section has a link to a very informative and impressive video by Steve Jones featuring, wait for it, THE SKEW.  For years I was afraid of it, but in the last couple years I've become more comfortable with it, and find it is extremely versatile.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #30 - Feb 10th, 2018 at 7:50pm
 
Don Stephan wrote on Feb 10th, 2018 at 6:54pm:
in the last couple years I've become more comfortable with it, and find it is extremely versatile.


for what?  Roll Eyes Grin
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Re: The Skew
Reply #31 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 11:00am
 
Flipping burgers?  Chipping ice off the sidewalk?  Smashing cloves of garlic?

I'm using it more and more on spindle work after the spindle roughing gouge.  Getting a smoother surface, marking out beads with V cuts, the flat surfaces of fillets, tapering the ends of magic wands, bringing down the long taper of wands, and parting off wands and spurtles.  And now that I'm comfortable rolling beads with a spindle gouge, it's time to learn how to roll beads with the skew so I don't have to stop and change tools from skew to gouge and back again.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #32 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 11:14am
 
That's great Don, for now I'll stick to smashing garlic.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #33 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 7:40pm
 
I've used skews right from the very bring and don't want to imagine turning without them. I was luck enough to be shown how to use one on the very first day I learned how to turn.

Like with any tool, if you are getting catches its because one is not approaching the tool to the wood properly.

If one wants to become adapt in turning finials using a skew is a must.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #34 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 6:28am
 
I envy you Ron.  You were fortunate to have started from the beginning with a mentor by your side.
As for me, the skew scares the heck out of me.  I've watched many videos but still manage to get catches.  It goes without saying that it's me, and not the tool.

I'm moving to Virginia in about a month and there is a woodturning club that meets every month and it's less than 2 miles from my house.  I'm hoping that a member takes me under his wing and teaches me the proper way to use the skew.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #35 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 8:23am
 
Dick Bernard wrote on Feb 12th, 2018 at 6:28am:
I'm hoping that a member takes me under his wing and teaches me the proper way to use the skew.

That's is the best way to learn and would recommend that to everyone that gets a chance to find a mentor to show them.

I would add that if you keep the cutting area in the center of the skew you would get less catches. Its the heel and the tip that causes a catch during a cut.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #36 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 9:20am
 
As I posted on another site on a similar thread:

The skew is an evil tool, and all ye that use, be witches

Brent Ashcraft
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Re: The Skew
Reply #37 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 10:08am
 
[quote

The skew is an evil tool, and all ye that use, be witches

Brent Ashcraft [/quote]


DILLY-DILLY!!! Smiley Smiley
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Re: The Skew
Reply #38 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 10:14am
 
Question to Ron. Doesn't the diameter of the piece your turning effect how safe the skew is? Seems like a small diameter would be easy to use it but the outside of say a large bowl makes it hard to use the center of the skew?
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Re: The Skew
Reply #39 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 10:17am
 
George Stratton wrote on Feb 12th, 2018 at 10:14am:
Seems like a small diameter would be easy to use it but the outside of say a large bowl makes it hard to use the center of the skew?


Skews are meant for spindle turnings or things turned in spindle orientation with the grain running parallel to the ways of the lathe.
I would not suggest trying a skew on the outside of a bowl.
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George Stratton
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Re: The Skew
Reply #40 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 10:18am
 
That makes sence Ed. Thanks.
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Re: The Skew
Reply #41 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 10:57am
 
Ed is right George, skews are for spindles.

Although I have used a skew as a negative rake scraper on the outside of a bowl since the wood doesn't care what you call the tool. (The Skew Needs To Be Laid Flat On The Tool Rest)

I have 7 skews ranging from 1/4" to 1-1/4"

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This is my 1/4" skew
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« Last Edit: Feb 12th, 2018 at 11:01am by Ron Sardo »  

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Re: The Skew
Reply #42 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 11:25am
 
Ron Sardo wrote on Feb 11th, 2018 at 7:40pm:
If one wants to become adapt in turning finials using a skew is a must.


Ron, I perform the same cut as shown in the photo but I do it with a small spindle gouge.
While we can respectfully disagree on which is the "better" method, my point has always been it can be done without a skew, for those that aren't comfortable using them, for whatever the reason.
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