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Skew Size

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Chris Edwards, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. Chris Edwards

    Chris Edwards

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    Apologies, my spell check changed the title without me noticing it, and I can't see how I can change it.

    It should read Skew Size

    So I'm practicing, or trying to, using my skew.

    It came in a set of 5, Robert Sorby chisels that my parents bought me 35 years ago.

    The skew is 3/4" wide.

    Trying to plane cut, on a spindle rounded down to about 1.25" diameter, it appears the arc of the wood is too shallow to allow just lower third of the skew to cut without the heal contacting.

    I think I need a wider skew.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    The size of the skew is not your problem. A 3/4” skew will work well on a a spindle that size.

    Maybe your tool rest is way too low. I like to be on top of the spindle a little when using the skew so I have the tool rest set a little above center. Easier for me.

    a 1/4” skew will cut well on a 1.5” diameter piece. I do a lot of work on 1.25” blanks and use a 1/2 and 1/4” skew.
    Larger skews will work well too.
     
  3. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    You probably have other problems you need to address that are more important, but life is easier with a bigger skew. The sweet spot on a 3/4" skew is small (I can't even imagine using a 1/4" one, I just don't have the chops!), going to 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 gives you a lot more latitude with regard to catches and will do everything a smaller skew will do. (I have both sizes, I use the 1-1/2 95% of the time, but primarily because it's thicker and has the edges rounded perfectly. It works on everything from pens to bedposts.) I've never wanted a smaller skew, I had a 1/2" one and gave it away, just too squirrelly to use and there was no point. In his demos Alan Lacer makes this point by turning 1/4" spinning tops with a 3" skew.
     
    hockenbery likes this.
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I fixed the thread title, but I was hoping that the thread was about screw sizes because I am currently working on some outdoor projects and have been debating between 3" and 3½" deck screws. :D

    I have six skews, but I'm not sure why because the skew isn't my favorite tool. They range in size from a tiny ¼" Sorby miniature up to the largest one that Alan Lacer sells. My favorite, by far, is a one inch Sorby oval skew with a slightly curved edge. I can turn just about any size spindle using that skew. For some reason many woodturners don't like that skew. Probably because it's hard to sharpen freehand.

    A skew needs to be surgically sharp and a regular dry grinder alone won't give a truly sharp edge. A CBN wheel and hand honing will work, but I prefer to use my Tormek.
     
  5. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
  6. Chris Edwards

    Chris Edwards

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    Thank you, that was very helpful and gives me some excellent examples to practice.

    I did mail order myself a 1" Skew in the meantime.
     
  7. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    I have a very old half inch carbon steel skew, a few cheap set skews about 1 inch, two craftsman skews, I think 1.25 inch (my favorites) and just for craps and giggles a giant 2 inch skew. I turned in high school and college and again started five years ago. The skew is my favorite tool and I often do an entire spindle piece with a skew, start to finish. That said, I don't like the angle of most skews and end up holding the skew at an angle to the work so the edge is not quite vertical to the work. I mostly use the lower 3/4 of the edge, although I use the point (flipped down) to start cutting a bead. I turned with a skew for almost two hours last night, did 15 small pieces and only had one minor catch. I even round off small square stock with the skew. I know most turners hold the skew perpendicular to the work, so the edge is at a 45 degree angle to the lathe bed. on your 1.25 inch round, Try holding the handle more to the right ie an angle so the edge meets the work at steeper angle. On some woods I can take such light cuts that the fine shavings look like hair hanging from the lathe. try marking the edge a few millimeters below the point and above the heel and dont let those extremes touch the wood.
     
  8. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    My skews that I use the most are 1 1/4. I found the 1 inch to be a bit narrow, and I have a 1/2 inch skew that was part of the first tool kit I got and it gets little use. I love peeling cuts for roughing down spindle and box blanks. After watching Eric Loffstrom, it is very efficient, perhaps more so than the SRG, and I get fewer tool marks with the peeling cuts than I do when I try to rub the bevel. That could be lack of practice though. My bevel angles are around 25 degrees. The nose profile I like most is kind of straight across from the point to about 1/2 to 5/8, and then a quarter round sweep to the heel. I do have a couple that are ground straight from nose to heel, but don't like them as much... My little one I ground to a convex profile, which I learned about from Eli Avesera. It is interesting. I like it more for gentle coves and beads, but find it difficult to get a straight line with.

    Skews need to be honed. I got a 1000 grit CBN wheel some time ago, and noticed that it would cut fine in one direction, but not well when I flipped it over and came back. It was the remaining burr from the grinding wheel. When I honed it off, it cut well in both directions. I have since dusted off my Tormek and use the honing wheel every time I use my skew. I don't have the diamond wheel for it, at least not yet....

    robo hippy
     
  9. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    I've got a teardrop diamond hone card, maybe 2-1/2" x 5 in. It's in my pocket at all times and I use it constantly while turning. I find I'm spending way less time at the grinder and way more time turning wood with a better edge since adopting this approach.
     
  10. Chris Edwards

    Chris Edwards

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    Where did you get that hone card and what grit level(s) would be best, thanks.

    I found one on Lee Valley, but it was out of stock.
     
  11. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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  12. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    I use the 4 way diamond hone block from Harbor Freight. Only use the finest (600) for the skew, but use the coarser sides for other items. I wish it was finer, but it does the job.
     
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  13. Bob Sheppard

    Bob Sheppard

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    What angle is your skew ground at? I think that the factory grind on most skews is too blunt. I have 6-7 skews, but use my 1/2" and 3/4" most. I have a 1-1/2" skew, but it's too awkward for anything but making a planing cut. The lighter/narrower ones are more versatile, IMO.
     
  14. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    Amazon also carries them ;)
     
  15. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    My biggest skew is 3 1/2". Had to be as it's made out of a 2X4. I've honed it and honed it without getting it sharp, so I only use it as a visual aid for the high school students.:D IMHO, learners have the easiest time with a 3/4" or 1" skew, though Al's experience is different.

    Bill and John--very interesting that you have good success with oval skews. My impression is that they typically get ground with an especially narrow angle between the bevels, which makes them very grabby. The longer belly in the center of the bevels accentuates this. They also seem to be thinner than rectangular cross section skews, which I believe adds to the challenge for beginners. It's very reassuring that experienced turners can confidently and happily use them.
     
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  16. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The included angle is no different than if the skew had flat sides. Remember, the angle is measured between the bevels ... it doesn't matter what the sides look like ... you don't cut with the sides. Also, if you have ever seen or used a round skew, the oval skew is just a special case of the round skew.
     
  17. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    . I certainly agree. The OP is using a 3/4 skew.

    I was just stating that 3/4” skew can cut nicely on 1.5” diameter cylinder and that a 1/2” skew can do so as well.
     
  18. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    If it's ground straight across then it isn't a skew chisel ... it's just a straight chisel with a double bevel. I have a pair of Neanderthal woodworking skew chisels with single bevels ... left hand and right hand skew angles. You need separate left and right hand chisels because they can't be flipped over like a woodturning skew chisel.
     
  19. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    Whether it is called a straight chisel or skew chisel, I have one that is ground straight across and is a very old carbon steel 3/4 item. the only difference is the angle of the tool shaft as the edge is presented to the stock..
     
  20. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I have a set like that. They are John Jordan scrapers when used on hollow forms need to switch for opposite sides of the hill
     
  21. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    That might be what is called a dog leg chisel.

    I have used them a little on spindle turning, but the skew angle is really steep, about 45°, compared to the normal 20° to 30° on a woodturning skew. Also, the bevel angle is 25° that is typical for woodworking hand chisels. That's about half the included angle of a woodturning skew.
     
  22. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Oh, I didn't mean that they are ground straight/square across the top. I have then ground at about a 30 or more degree skew angle. I do remember Bonnie Klein commenting that she likes a 45 degree skew to her chisels so she could cut one direction, and then flip the skew over and come back while keeping the handle at the same angle. Makes some sense, but I tend to work both ways, stand on one side then stand on the other... I have seen a couple of turners who use skews that are pretty straight across the top. Seems like they are mostly English.

    robo hippy
     
  23. GRJensen

    GRJensen

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    The skews I use the most are from Alan Lacer ... his 1-3/8" uber skew and the little 5/8" companion. They both have Alan's radiused grind. I don't take these skews to the grinder very often ... most of the time I just hone them with one of Lacer's diamond hones.
     
  24. Chris Edwards

    Chris Edwards

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    Back to Bob's question, on post #12, my 3/4" slew has a grind angle of 30 degrees.

    I sharpen in on my Sorby Power Edge Sharpener, but currently do not hone it.
     
  25. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Chris - you have to hone the skew or it will only cut well on one side.
    The power edge is going to leave a burr.

    the tool will cut burr side up but not cut burr side down.
    Honing removes the burr as well as making the tool a bit sharper.

    I grind my skews rarely. I use a soft and hard stone to sharpen them before working.
    then if I have the tormek out I use the leather strop wheel or a diamond hone as I’m working.

    I usually use a credit card diamond or if my wife isn’t looking I use her Lacer hone.
     
  26. Chris Edwards

    Chris Edwards

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    I just got a M-Power hand sharpening jig for my hand chisels and it has a 1000 grit hone card, I'll give that a try tomorrow, thanks.
     
  27. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    A large part of the early problems I had with the skew were from not honing it. Even having some tooling leather with some honing compound on it is a big help. After watching Eric Loffstrom dull his chisel on the lathe bed, intentionally, then touch it up on an 80 grit wheel, then hone on some leather with some Norton Polishing compound (available at some of the big box hardware stores), I tried that out. Makes a big difference. Like I said, my Tormek now gets used.

    robo hippy
     

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