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Thread: Which skew chisel

  1. #1
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    Which skew chisel

    I am starting to make drums, I have done a few already, but I think that I need a bigger skew. I have a the free starter set of tools that came with the lathe, I think the skew is 1" or 1.25" wide. On 10" or larger drums it seems like there is such a small margin for error with holding the skew. I have took chunks out of 2 drum shells already. What size of skew should I get, or am I just holding it wrong.

  2. #2
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    Dave, the size sounds about right. (I'm assuming you're using the skew on the outside of the shell.) I'm not much of a skew user, but I know that one of the keys to success with a skew is that it be very, very sharp. Shaving sharp, literally. Stu has a good sharpening video here:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/StuInTok...15/ObHzhq11auQ

    He's also got several videos on his YouTube channel showing how he uses a skew. Hopefully those will help.
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  3. #3
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    Ditto what Vaughn said. Skews IMHO must be sharpened and then honed. I acutally can shave with mine. Also the other key is to ride the bevel. I got Alan Lacer's DVD "Skew Chisel, The Sweet Side and The Dark Side. Also Stu's video's on you tube are very good. After watching these I practice, practice, practice and then practice some more. I think I am about the only one that actually loves skews as I have 7 from a 1/4" round to Lacer's 1 3/8" big one. Hopefully others will chime in.
    Bernie W.

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  4. #4
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    I use a 1/2" rolled on pens all the time...it eliminates a a lot of sanding and gives me more control entering and leaving the cut. The 1 1/2" is usually for pepper mills. I have a 3/4" that is still in the process of finding a grind I like on it.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Burr View Post
    I use a 1/2" rolled on pens all the time...it eliminates a a lot of sanding and gives me more control entering and leaving the cut. The 1 1/2" is usually for pepper mills. I have a 3/4" that is still in the process of finding a grind I like on it.
    I'm assuming that the larger diameter the piece the larger skew should be used?

  6. #6
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    what is a good reasonably priced brand of lathe chisels. Are woodriver anygood? They seem kinda on the large side with their handles

  7. #7
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    Skew chisels are evil
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  8. #8
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    Dave, I don't have any experience with the WoodRiver tools, but they appear to be pretty average HSS tools. Probably decent tools for the price. The Benjamin's Best line from Penn State is probably very similar, and I've had good results with the Benjamin's Best tools Ive owned. I've been happy with the Henry Taylor Kryo tools from Craft Supplies. They are also reasonably priced, but hold an edge longer than regular HSS tools. My favorite edge tools are from Thompson Lathe Tools. They are a bit more expensive, and you still have to shape, sharpen, and hone them (and add a handle), but I've not found any I like better at any price.

    And don't let a long handle sway your decision on a tool. Once you use long handles for a while, I think you'll find it's hard to go back to the shorter ones. (Or at least that's how it's been for me.) I find I have better control with the longer handles. Most of my tools have handles ranging from 18" to about 24".
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  9. #9
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    Beware of my advice because it may be wrong.
    I have watched Alan Lacer’s video several times and at one point he brings up the size of the skew. He has his larger skew and states that it is good up to four inches diameter. Maybe Bernie can verify or dispute.
    From what you said about “chunks” I assume you are getting the long point into the wood. In his video (and in the planing cuts) he has the tool rest high, about 10:30 and cuts at about 11:30. With a 10” diameter that would put 5-6 inches of tool over the rest.
    I have watched a lot of videos and have never seen anyone use a skew on an item that large. Doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
    I do not have one but maybe someone else may suggest the pros/cons of the carbide tipped tools for what you are doing. Or even a bowl gouge.
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  10. #10
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    A 1" skew is my #1 turning tool. Can be used on large or small items. Can be 'rolled' to make large beads or outside curves. Can be used to shave or scrape. Yes, sharp is very important. Love my Wolverine.
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