Skew Question

Discussion in 'Tutorials and Tips' started by Lee Tourtelotte, May 29, 2014.

  1. Lee Tourtelotte

    Lee Tourtelotte

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    Paging all skew surgeons, i.e. Doctors: Lacer, Lucas, Cook, Robo, Hockenberry, Boehme, & others:
    Our MN Woodturners chapter is about to conduct a skew class for the membership & we have a slight instructor technique debate:

    If your cutting the right hand side of a bead with a skew, is the toe of the skew supposed to be pointing to the right or left?
    Does a radius skew work better on beads? One of our best MWA skew masters would point the toe to the left,
    the other member skew user would point the toe to the right. What is the general consensus ? Thanks.

    Lee Tourtelotte
    Minnesota Woodturners Association
    www.mnwoodturners.com
     
  2. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Well you have to rub the bevel. The toe would start to the left and traverse to the right as you go around the side of the bead. After lots of testing I found that the shape of the skew has little to do with how it cuts. It's more about the skill level of the user. A sharp tool and lots of practice with that tool will do more than any grind. Here are a couple of videos that i made that might help.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFlZyGKYro4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vA91yJ9KhKU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZVlhr9fLCM
     
  3. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    very cool, thanks for doing the videos John
    it just so happens I've been doing a lot of practice with different skews this week, trying to get better with them
    one I saw looked very interesting, the wider v-shaped that had "excessive" grind on the bottom (will have to re-watch 1st video to catch name you gave it)
    would be interested to know what kind of bevel was put on the bottom of it ........ ;)

     
  4. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Lee,
    Our local club put on a "Skew Rodeo" this past year. Rather than having everyone sit passively and watch someone else use the tool, after a short demo, we got all 6 lathes in the high school shop loaded up with a disposable spindle blank and everyone was encouraged to have at it. The problem with the skew is that people tend to be intimidated, so our goal was not to make the guys super duper skew users, but to show them they can actually be comfortable putting a skew to wood. It worked out very well, with some of our more reluctant non-skew users announcing they were going to give it a try, and everyone saying their comfort level had improved. The members also said afterwards that they liked the format of the 'demo.'
    Personally, I think oval skews are really difficult for beginners to use, due to the very elongated grind people tend to put on them. In my experience, the radius skew was very helpful in reducing catches long enough for me to get my skill level built up. I'm not in John or Alan Lacer's class of skill, but now I find I can use just about any shape with reasonable success. The longer the bevel, the more it will remind you when you fail to get the bevel on before putting the edge to work ;)
    In answer to the 'which direction' question, if you are cutting the right side of a bead with the heel/short point, then the toe/long point will start out pointing left, as John said. If you're cutting the right side with the toe/long point, then it'll be pointing to the right (this is the far dicier way to do it, but some people like to use the long point).
    Finally, Alan Lacer used to live just across the river from you and does a really good skew demo--maybe you should give him a call.

    Dean Center
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
  5. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I find there is a happy medium to the skew angle to both make it user friendly and at the same time cut well. It's about 35 degrees included angle. 45 is better for some new users. Any blunter than that and it just doesn't cut as clean. Sharper than that and you'd better be pretty comfortable with the skew. This works out to be a grind where the bevel is just about 1 1/2 times the thickness of the skew. I know that's really just a ball park dimension but it seems to work well for people who don't have the means to measure the skew angles.
    Technically when turning a bead with the heel of the skew the toe never goes beyond vertical. This is where the bevel of the tool will rub going down the side of the bead. If you go beyond vertical you are now undercutting. I use this often for the bottom of goblets, although usually I'm using the long point (or toe) down and then the heel is pointing away which makes the skew undercut the goblet bottom so it's concave.
     
  6. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    This makes me think of a Chris Stott demo years ago. He commented some thing like "Some say to use the point of the skew. Some say to use the heel of the skew. I say use this' and he held up a detail/spindle gouge. I do prefer them, but don't do much spindle work. Just enough to get 'acquainted' with the tool, then I put it down and don't use it for long enough that I forget most of what I learned.

    All of John's videos are worth watching.

    robo hippy
     
  7. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    Watch Lacers videos, and you will see that radiussed (if you are talking about the shaft) skews are evil. Hell to sharpen too!
    Skews are arguably the most misunderstood tools in woodturning, and they don't have to be, but require practice. It certainly isn't and Easywood.
     
  8. john lucas

    john lucas

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  9. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I think radius end skew is usually used to refers to grinding and arc on cutting edge instead if having straight .

    Oval skews were someone's idea of making shaft round where it should be flat. I agree nearly impossible to sharpen but roll easily when you want to use the flat side to do a peeling cut. :)
     
  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Using the term radiused can be very vague. The "radius" that Alan Lacer puts on a skew seems more like a "round nose" skew to me. :rolleyes:

    I put a radius on my skew, but it is very slight -- maybe five degrees difference between the toe and heel.

    BTW, the best use for a skew is to clean mud from my boots.
     

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