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Thread: going to skew school

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    5,175

    going to skew school

    On Saturday I went to school to learn how to use a skew.

    I have joined the Quad Cities Woodturners while I am in Iowa. Randy Nagel, one of the members, and an exceedingly patient man, offered a class on using the skew.

    I order one of Doug Thompson's skews, but was unable to get a handle on it in time for the class. Randy, bless his heart, loaned me his Alan Lacer skew!

    We learned how to rough turn a blank into a spindle, how to 'plane' cut, and how to roll beads on round and square stock. Think pommel cuts. The 'plane' cut leaves the surface as smooth as glass, but boy, was it ever elusive to find the sweet spot to do that!

    Rolling cuts require a 'dance' of the body to control the cut. Lots of practice will be required. But I did manage to turn a few decent ones. The pommels came out nice.

    Quad Cities Woodturners is an awesome club. Their members are very generous of their time and talents. The club owns 8 lathes and 5 members brought in their mini's for the class. We have a new meeting place with lots of space. 13 people could work all at one time. Randy mixed his instruction with lecture, drawings, and demonstration lasting about ten minutes, followed by 45 minutes of practice for each lesson. We enjoyed a chili lunch provided by one of the member's wife. All this for a donation of what you thought the day was worth. How do you put a dollar amount on priceless?

    And next Saturday he is repeating it for another group. Wish I had the time to go again.

    Yep. I'm a lucky dog!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Inside the Beltway
    Posts
    2,666
    Dear Carol,

    That's pretty cool. Some of my worst catches have been with a skew, so it's always nice to see someone using it well. I wish I had the time and patience to master it, and I admire anyone who has.

    You might try one of Bill Grumbine's DVDs... I think he was coming out with one about the skew. I saw him give an hour workshop on it last year. It really was amazing to watch.

    Thanks,

    Bill

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Reno NV
    Posts
    13,364
    Ahhh, the good ole Quad Cities. Grew up in Bettendorf.

    Sounds like a great group of folks.

    I use my skew every now and then, but I can't say that I'm all that confident with it....
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Reno, Nv
    Posts
    3,632
    Count your blessings Carol! The best way to repay that kind of education is to use it often and experiment. I spent many hours working on my shear cut on dozens of white oak blanks with a skew. It will pay off quickly for you
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,020
    Lucky you...sounds like a productive way to spend a Saturday. I could use some quality time with a skew myself. It's still the tool I'm most likely to mess something up with, but I keep working on it.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
    Posts
    4,834
    Congrats Carol. My skew is my favorite tool. Once you get them down they are awesome to use. You might want to try a Safe Driver. That way if you do get a catch the wood will stop spinning. Then just tighten the tailstock a little and you are good to go again. Another catch the wood stops and that way you can learn the skew safely. Alan Lacer on his DVD on the skew uses these to teach with. I used mine the whole time learning the skew and it made it a lot more enjoyable. Here is a link to one.

    http://www.packardwoodworks.com/Merc...Category_Code=
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Posts
    1,071
    I guess I am funny in that I find the skew the easiest tool to use. Now I am a new turner, but most of my outside, as well as quite a bit of inside work is done with a skew, resulting in a nice smooth, minimal sanding, surface. It seems I use my skews more than other tools. Am I doing something wrong?



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Reno, Nv
    Posts
    3,632
    Frank, you probably did the same thing a lot of us did...it was the sharpest and easist to sharpen so it was used the most therefore, the most comfortable to use on a regular basis.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Townend View Post
    I guess I am funny in that I find the skew the easiest tool to use. Now I am a new turner, but most of my outside, as well as quite a bit of inside work is done with a skew, resulting in a nice smooth, minimal sanding, surface. It seems I use my skews more than other tools. Am I doing something wrong?
    I'd like to see how you use it on inside work. I just can't envision.
    Are you using it as a negative rake scraper or riding the bevel. Nothing wrong with using it as a scraper (other than the thin edge will need to be sharpened sooner than the blunt edge of a dedicated scraper), but that would explain why the contrast between your experiences and others.

  10. #10
    Heh, Kurt I remember when I first started out turning and reading the forums and wondering how everyone else had so much trouble using the skew. Turns out I was scraping with it There's nothing wrong with using it that way, but I definitely wasn't using the tool to its full potential.

    For comparison, here are closeups of two skew cuts. The top one is a planing cut, the bottom is cutting into a corner with the heel of the skew. Both are bevel supported cuts.





    -Joe

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