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Thread: turnng with different tools

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
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    turnng with different tools

    I put another piece of cherry in the lathe today, and started turning it into a candlestick. I decided to use my skew chisel, a tool I've always been a bit afraid of, but I got it nice and sharp, and used it when I was turning the square piece of wood into a cylinder. I didn't have any catches at first, (I've watched some videos) and actually achieved the promised baby bum smoothness that turners talk about.

    I then used my parting tool, followed by my spindle gouge to cut the shape of the candlestick. I also used my skew to smooth things out (yesteday I used my flat scraper,) and when I stopped the lathe, the upper part of the piece looked like I had carved it with my teeth. The shape is a somple double taper that meets about 1/5 of the way from the top to the bottom. I had some trouble with the skew on the taper, and caught a couple of catches when trying to smooth out the piece. eventually, between the skew and the scraper, I got it fairly smooth, and tomorrow I am going to see if I can use sandpaper to finish the smoothing.

    Anyway, if you have any words of advice or encouragement, insert them below. If it turns out to be firewood, it will be good firewood, with a lesson for me.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    No real words of advice (the skew is probably my least favorite tool, but it's great in the hands of someone who's learned to use it). But I will offer encouragement. When you get done with this one, put another piece of wood on the lathe and do another. And another. And another. And so on. Each one will get easier, and you'll learn something new on every one, too.

    And by the way, 80 grit sandpaper IS a turning tool. No shame in using it. As time goes on, you'll use it less and less.
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Reno, Nv
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    3,632
    I refer to my 80 grit gouge on a regular basis! The skew is my favorite tool on pens and other round stuff sans bowls. Either a 3/8" skew or a carbide tool are go-to's on every pen.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
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    4,834
    Roger all I can say is practice. Ride the bevel and practice some more. I love a good skew and have 7 of them. I can't tell you how many hours I practiced and how many scraps of wood I made into shavings but once you get it down it is a great tool. On my pens, peppermills and mini birdhouses I use a skew all the time. I can start sanding at 220 grit but most times start at 180 grti. Get and watch Alan Lacer's 2 DVD's on using the skew. I have watched mine at least a half dozen times and still will look at them for a particular cut. Keep at it and it will come.
    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
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    One of my neighbors is a hobby turner (better than me), and he starts each day with at least one 2x2 by about 10-12 inch piece of construction wood, in which he turns beads, coves, square to round transitions, etc etc just to get warmed up. He loaned me his Alan Lacer DVDs which got me over the fear of the skew.

    Watch the points... while you are focusing on the bevel, those points (long or short) often reach out to grab the workpiece - that is my biggest problem. But a skew does a square to round transition (I forgot the name of that cut) better than anything, and can easily round the end of the workpiece (like the end of a rake handle) . There are other tools that can round a blank, but IMHO not as well as a skew.

    All my other turning tools are fine as they come off the grinder. My skew gets honed like a regular woodworking chisel.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  6. #6
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    Mar 2007
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    Escondido, CA
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    5,167
    Pommel cut, Charlie.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
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    I found that a larger skew was easier to control - probably due to Charlies point about the points - there is more room between them on a bigger one. I have 2, a 1/2" and 1.25" and almost always use the larger unless I'm working on something really small or just want to practice.. When I started the 1/2 seemed impossible to use, but I went out to whip out a small project last Sunday night and grabbed it just to try and hey it seemed to just work (the finish was better than 220 grit to start - so I was pretty darn happy). For similar reasons I re-ground mine skews to have a curved face which also upped my level of happiness a lot. And then yep practice practice practice.

    Remember there are a half a dozen or so distinctive cuts you can make with a skew so I like to practice one over and over until I "get" it and then move on to the rest. The most useful to get down pat is probably the planing cut because a lot of the other (point up cuts) are derivative of it and if you can get it to work well you're a chunk of the way there. Something simple like shaker pegs are nice because you have a few easy curves you can repeat over and over. When I made the warping board I turned ~35 shaker pegs in an afternoon.. and they were to short (loml was out of town) so I turned 4 more longer ones. These were real simple smooth round things with a bit of a waste one rounded end and the other with a slightly back cut tennon so I got to practice planing one way and then the other for the waste and parting for the tennon (I admit to having used a parting tool to finish the tennon ). You probably don't need a warping board, but a set of coat racks or similar might be useful.
    ame").

    Another point (hah) with the skew is that paradoxically the closer you are to failure the more success you'll have. Getting a smooth cut is riding the edge between a nasty catch and a perfect cut. As best as I can figure the difference is mostly due to some combination of how you hold ("manage"?) the tool and how you present the tool to the work. I distinguish the first from the second because if you hold it correctly any catches you do have seem to be more manageable.. and sorry I still haven't figured out what is "correct" there, I've just noticed that sometimes it works.. and sometimes it don't and I'm doing something different.

    Riding the bevel is interesting. I've found myself coming off of it more as I get more confident and there is some weird balancing act there I can't fully explain where at some point the tool cuts properly when (I think) its juuust off of the bevel. Because my large skew is sharpened with more of a spear point as opposed to hollow ground so its probably that I am riding the bevel.. just a smaller part of it.. dunno.. I do think the rounder transition is easier to use anyway (although again my 1/2" isn't sharpened that way and it was working just fine for me so ).

    On the other tools.. they're all just skews in disguise Seriously I actually believe that, the curves and profiles of the various tools are essentially just ways of allowing you to get the edge in at angles not easily achievable with the skew. I use the tip of the parting tool a LOT as a quick skew to touch up beads when I don't want to switch tools, its also a great way to practice control as the tip of it is essentially this tiny little skew (hmm maybe that's why the 1/2 didn't see so bad not ). You can make essentially the same cut a parting tool makes with a skew by "stabbing" (gently!!) the point straight in (ish following a similar curve to what you want to take with a parting tool makes the cleanest cut, coming in slightly low like a scraper is less grabby until you get comfortable with the idea). Once I started thinking about it this way a lot of things came into perspective.. and I practiced more with the skew.

    An interesting side effect is that I'm also getting better with my bench chisels. The skew is somewhat unforgiving about always wanting to cut "down grain" (not 100% always the same as "down hill" it turns out). You can cut upgrain but things are a whole lot happier when you don't. So more attention to grain and voila the rest made more sense as well.

    If you don't have one, getting a NICE mat can change your life. I have one that came with my PM lathe, its one of the high density gell filled mats and its oh so lovely to stand on. Loml borrowed it a while back to use at the wool carding station and I had a bad case of grumpies (and sore back/hips) until I got it back.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2006
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    For me, the best part about the skew is the pointy tip. That way it sticks better in the wall on the other side of the shop when I hurl it in frustration. I've done some practice with the skew (and watched Lacer's videos), but still haven't crossed the threshold of competency yet. I tend to do great until I'm just about at the finished dimensions, then WHAM! I get a catch and ruin the piece. I just simply need to put in more hours of skew practice. I'd also probably be better at the skew if I did more spindle work instead of bowls and hollow forms. Over the years though, I've gotten very proficient with a bowl gouge. Haven't had a catch with a bowl gouge in years. Same with scrapers. Haven't had a catch in a long time, but in the early years I sure got my fair share of them.
    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

  9. #9
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    Aug 2011
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    Hitchins, Kentucky (Northeastern part of the state.)
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    80
    I could get a catch with the skew on a grinder.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
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    Well, here's a couple more things I've never done before. After I got the latest project into a reasonable facsimile of the shape I was going for, I successfully turned a dovetailed tenon on the bottom of the candlestick, using my parting tool, which has a little wow in the point that allowed me to turn a dvoetail by just cutting in with the tool. After it fell out of the chuck a couple of times I got it set in, then advanced the forstner bit and quickly and successfully drilled my candle recess. Today I bought some blanks in cherry and soft maple to turn some more, and also took the time to soak various parts of the lathe in evaporust to improve their appearance when I put the lathe up for sale. I will be able to part with some HF turning tools to the lucky buyer (I have used them, and they work,) as I did some inventory today, and found I have acquired a roughing gouge, two spindle gouges, a bowl gouge and an oval skew in LV HSS economy tools, and a Benjamin's Best parting tool. I'll keep my HF scrapers, and maybe the skew, and let the rest of the HF stuff go.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

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