Imagine it or not, every little thing it’s worthwhile to know to make use of a skew chisel you discovered in kindergarten. It isn’t a tough device if you happen to apply, absolutely perceive how the device works, and use the teachings you discovered. Simply keep in mind the skew is a finesse device and doesn’t take away wooden practically as shortly as a bowl gouge reducing by means of inexperienced wooden.
The next three fundamental abilities/ideas, discovered in kindergarten, are all it’s worthwhile to know: counting — one, two, three, 4; realizing the alphabet — A, B, C, D; and enjoying good/utilizing good manners. Right here’s how they might help simplify your understanding of the skew.
There are solely two kinds of cuts with the skew—edge-slicing (corresponding to shear-cutting with a planing lower and peeling) and point-cutting (used for forming V-grooves, truing tenons, or reducing pommels). There are solely three profiles, or shapes, you possibly can lower on a spindle with a skew: straight traces (cylinders or tapers), shallow concave (lengthy coves), and convex (beads). There are 4 surfaces that must be honed on a skew throughout sharpening.
Realizing the Alphabet
Most turners have heard concerning the “ABCs of woodturning”: Anchor, Bevel, Lower. I’d add D for the Dance of the Woodturner. It’s essential to transfer your physique when utilizing the skew chisel. That is totally different from the stationary stance many newbies and bowl turners are tempted to undertake. Bowl turners typically stand in a single place, plant their ft, and make giant swing actions with the device deal with and their arms. Equally, newbies have a tendency to maneuver the skew with simply their arms. However the skew must be locked into place along with your physique, and each are moved as a single unit, as in a dance.
Turners have been taught for years to rub the bevel when reducing, and this idea holds true for the skew however with a caveat. The skew’s bevel really ought to glide over the wooden floor and never rub it. Gliding the bevel requires a a lot lighter contact than rubbing. Many turners new to the skew apply an excessive amount of stress towards and into the turning clean. In apply, the stress needs to be on the device shank into the toolrest and towards the bottom (as proven within the lead picture). With the bevel correctly positioned simply above the wooden floor, anchor the device to the toolrest, elevate the deal with to start out reducing, after which glide the device over the work within the course of the lower. This gentler method leads to much less stress on the wooden and the next high quality lower.
Skew Profiles and Angles
When studying to make use of the skew, I like to recommend you begin with a tried-and-true profile (described under) with a skew angle of 70° and a straight bevel between 25° and 30°. This form could be achieved by sizing the bevel two to a few instances the thickness of the device shank. When you develop your abilities, then experiment with different profiles and bevel angles.
The three fundamental shapes of skew shanks are rectangular, spherical, and sq.. A forth profile, the oval skew, is just not one I like to recommend, as it’s tough to sharpen with out a jig and, carrying much less steel mass, tends to chatter.
For rectangular-shanked skews, I like to recommend beginning with a 3/4″ (19mm) or 1/2″ (13mm) device. Something bigger is tough to wrap your finger round for sure kinds of cuts. These sizes are excellent to be used within the apply workouts described later on this article. They’re additionally all you want for turning pens, tops, pepper mills, chair legs, and balusters.
Although they’re known as rectangular skews, they’ve a rounded backside edge that helps the device glide simply over the toolrest and permits easy motion when rolling beads. I want a skew that has a flat prime floor with no sharp edges, as I discover it simpler to regulate when reducing V-grooves and pommels with the lengthy level. Some turners want a rounded prime floor. If you are going to buy a reasonable skew, it might have sharp prime edges you’ll must grind over; you may additionally need to grind a radius on the underside edge. This isn’t tough to do and price the price financial savings whilst you study the device. When you grasp it, then make the funding in a higher-quality device.
Most newbies attempt to use the skew with a manufacturing facility grind, which is commonly too blunt. A skew with a 25° bevel is nice for softwoods like pine and poplar, whereas a 30° bevel is nice for exotics and hardwoods. A skew angle of 70° has been used for years and works properly.
A round-shanked skew could be bought or simply produced from a reasonable high-speed-steel (HSS) clean. Sizes of 1/4″ to three/8″ (6mm to 9.5mm) diameter are most helpful; spherical skews bigger in diameter necessitate a bevel that’s so lengthy it’s onerous to regulate the device. Spherical skews are good to make use of when turning small objects just like the “icicle,” or finial, under a Christmas decoration.
Sq.-shanked skews, also referred to as beading and parting instruments, are good for performing the duties the names recommend. You should purchase them or make them your self — I made mine out of outdated sq. shanked screwdrivers bought for 50 cents at a thrift retailer. They’re floor straight throughout with a forty five° to 50° bevel. As these instruments are used for small particulars and lightweight cuts, I don’t see the necessity for unique steel and even HSS. The metal in a screwdriver will win over the wooden.
Fundamental Skew Guidelines
- The skew is a finesse device. It’s primarily used as a ending device that gives a splendidly easy floor. Go mild with it and keep in mind to play good.
- The toolrest should be completely easy so the device can glide over it with out catching. File or costume the toolrest on a belt sander to take away any nicks. Then rub just a little candle wax on it to scale back friction.
- Focus on the leading edge, bevel, and level positions. Let the device deal with go the place it has to go to place the purpose and edge into correct place. The sting and level are grasp over deal with place. Freshmen typically won’t swing the deal with practically sufficient to place the sting and level into their correct place. If you need to transfer your physique, then dance it out of the way in which as wanted.
- The skew edge should be razor sharp and have very sharp factors on the ends (lengthy and quick factors). True factors (with no radii) assist to scale back catches when reducing V-grooves and pommels or when rolling beads. To attain sharp factors, hone all 4 surfaces—two bevels, the highest, and backside.
Each carbon metal and HSS instruments could be honed with an oil stone, however skews containing unique metals needs to be honed with a 600-grit diamond or CBN slip.
You may as well use a belt sharpening system just like the one I designed utilizing a reasonable belt sander. Belt sharpening supplies a flat bevel which is simple to energy hone utilizing a buffing wheel charged with honing paste.
Varieties of Skew Cuts
The skew is thought for the sensational end it may possibly go away on the floor when used to aircraft a cylinder. You’ll be able to typically begin sanding with 220-grit abrasive or greater as a result of something coarser would harm the floor. Planing is an edge-slicing lower (the quick level doesn’t push into the fibers).
Focus your consideration on conserving the leading edge at a forty five° angle to the clean, locking the device to your physique and shifting your physique and gear as a single unit. The planing lower course of follows the A, B, C, and D reminders.
- A: Anchor the device to the toolrest. Keep in mind that stress needs to be utilized downward, in direction of the ground and into the toolrest.
- B: Bevel—Beginning with the device deal with low, elevate the deal with till the heel of the bevel begins to softly rub towards the clean.
- C: Lower—Proceed slowly elevating the deal with till the sting engages the wooden, conserving the reducing motion to the underside half of the sting (what I name the Inexperienced Zone).
- D: Dance—Begin reducing within the course you need to go, utilizing the Dance of the Woodturner, which implies shifting your physique/device as a single unit. Keep in mind to glide the bevel over the floor and never rub too onerous.
Keep in mind how we used small handheld pencil sharpeners in kindergarten to place sharp factors on our pencils and crayons? I appreciated watching the shavings peel off the pencil. Similarly, a skew “peels” away wooden effectively because it spins on the lathe. The peeling lower doesn’t go away practically as high quality a end because the slicing, or planing, lower. However the floor is ideal for issues like chair tenons that will probably be glued right into a mortise.
To carry out a peeling lower, begin with the device deal with low and place the leading edge 90° to the rotation of the clean. Anchor the device to the toolrest. Elevate the deal with till the again of the bevel begins to rub. Proceed to lift the deal with till the sting begins to peel away the wooden. Because the cylinder’s diameter decreases, proceed elevating the deal with to maintain the peel of wooden coming off the floor. If you find yourself nonetheless studying, use solely 1 / 4 to half of the leading edge. When you develop your abilities, strive utilizing the complete size of the sting. Keep in mind, this isn’t a scraping lower. With the device deal with low, you might be peeling shavings off the wooden.
The V-groove is a helpful visible element on spindles. It is usually step one wanted earlier than forming a bead. The V-groove is made utilizing solely the lengthy level of the skew (Determine 2). The device’s bevel doesn’t contact the wooden. Begin with the deal with low, place the lengthy level down on the toolrest, purpose it within the course of lower, and enter the wooden. As you chop, rotate the device very barely to offer clearance between the leading edge and the just-cut floor and carry the deal with straight as much as swing the lengthy level deeper into the wooden.
One problem newbies have with this lower is that they need to push the device ahead into the clean as a substitute of pivoting the purpose into the wooden by lifting the deal with. Freshmen additionally need to swing the hand left to proper, when the deal with simply must be lifted straight up. It’s additionally vital to maneuver your physique to the left or proper earlier than the beginning of the lower, so you possibly can see the device’s level going within the desired course.
It is a 1-2 dance step. When educating newbies, I’ve them make exaggerated actions by counting out loud, “1-2,” as they step left or proper by a foot or so to get their physique into place. Whenever you make a correct V-groove lower with simply the lengthy level, you’ll find yourself with a round chip that may typically pop off the clean straight up into the air.
The paring lower is similar to the V-groove, besides the course of the lower is 90° to the wooden, or straight into the clean. That is used for cleansing up endgrain on spindle work or to refine tenon shoulders; on bins, you could possibly use a paring lower to scrub up the joint traces between field and prime. The method is similar: begin with the device deal with low, purpose the bevel 90° to the floor you need to clear up, carry the deal with till the lengthy level enters the wooden, and rotate the deal with barely to offer clearance. Elevate the deal with straight as much as pivot the lengthy level farther into the wooden.
There are two strategies for reducing beads with a skew: quick level solely and edge slicing. I recommend newbies use the purpose solely methodology, as it’s much less liable to catches that can lead to the device spiraling uncontrolled down the workpiece. Upon getting mastered this fundamental lower, then strive rolling beads with an edge-slicing lower.
One problem newbies have forming beads with a skew is that they don’t transfer the device deal with correctly to swing the quick level by means of an entire arc to chop a pleasant spherical bead. Consider the a number of, completely timed, steps required when making a flip from a cease gentle on a hill with a manual-shift automotive: you need to take away your foot from the brake, press on the fuel, let off on the clutch, and switch the steering wheel at simply the precise moments. When reducing a bead with a skew chisel, it’s worthwhile to rotate and carry the deal with with coordinated timing and, if the bead is giant sufficient, slide the device alongside the toolrest.
To assist visualize these actions, consider your hand place when shaking arms. When rolling a bead with a skew, you need to endthe lower within the regular hand-shaking place. If you’re reducing the precise aspect of a bead, put together to chop by twisting your hand counterclockwise 90° and positioning the device flat on the prime of the bead.
With the skew’s quick level engaged, roll the device to the precise by twisting clockwise as you carry the deal with. You must finish the lower along with your hand within the shaking place and the device’s leading edge vertical. When reducing the left aspect of a bead, merely reverse these instructions. Put together by twisting your hand 90° clockwise, place the device on the prime of the bead, have interaction the quick level, and roll the device counterclockwise to the conventional hand-shaking place.
Beads are usually fashioned between two V-grooves. Anchor the device on the toolrest with the deal with low. Swing it so the quick level is aimed within the course of lower. Elevate the deal with till the purpose enters the wooden and raises a curl.
Sweep the reducing tip by means of the specified arc whereas rotating the device deal with. The leading edge begins horizontal and ends vertical. Make the mandatory variety of gentle cuts to take away wooden till the ultimate bead is lower.
Shallow Concave Lower
Shallow concave cuts are easy with a skew. They’re edge-slicing cuts, similar to planing cuts besides you direct the device to chop a shallow concave form. That is helpful when making device handles or for turning balusters and furnishings elements.
Observe Workout routines for the Skew
The most effective blanks for training skew cuts are 2″- (5cm-) diameter inexperienced (unseasoned) department wooden or 2″ × 2″ pine blanks about 10″ (25cm) lengthy. Inexperienced wooden is right as a result of you possibly can in all probability discover loads of it at no cost and it cuts extra simply than dried wooden. Don’t attempt to study the skew with costly exotics or hardwoods. Upon getting mastered the device with inexperienced wooden and pine, then apply your abilities to progressively tougher woods—poplar, cherry, maple, then oak. The tougher woods will necessitate lighter and slower cuts.
Mount apply blanks between facilities utilizing a cup drive or a security drive within the headstock. These will permit some slippage once you get a catch, whereas a four-pronged drive heart won’t. It’s best to make use of a spindle-roughing gouge to organize a tough cylinder, then proceed to the workouts under. I like to recommend training every train with a sequence of twelve blanks every.
Train 1: Planing and Peeling
Airplane a cylinder easy with the skew 5 to 10 instances.
Peel lower the cylinder to three/4″ (19mm) diameter, stepping down the size of the clean.
Train 2: V-grooves and Beads
Airplane a cylinder easy with the skew, and mark out 5/8″ (16mm) intervals with a ruler and pencil or with dividers.
Kind V-grooves at each mark about 1/4″ (6mm) deep, then mark centerlines between all of the V-grooves.
Roll beads with the aim of leaving the marked centerline on the prime of the beads and ending with the device’s leading edge vertical and your hand within the handshake place.
Train 3: Beads and Coves
Begin as you probably did in Train 2: aircraft a cylinder easy with the skew, and mark out 5/8″ (16mm) intervals with a ruler and pencil or with dividers. Kind V-grooves at each mark about 1/4″ (6mm) deep, then mark centerlines between all of the V-grooves. After rolling beads as you probably did in Train 2, flip away each different bead utilizing a peeling lower.
Kind coves with a spindle gouge between the remaining beads, leaving a brief fillet (flat space) between the cove and bead. Observe that though the skew can do properly to kind lengthy, shallow coves (concave shapes), it doesn’t excel on the quick, deeper coves advisable on this train.
With greater than 40 years’ expertise in customized woodturning, writing, demonstrating, and educating, Jim Echter makes a speciality of spindle turning and makes merchandise for spinners and fiber artists world wide. He’s well-known for his customized and architectural restoration work. Jim was the founding president of the Finger Lakes Woodturners Affiliation, an AAW chapter. For extra, go to tcturning.com.