In addition to turning pens this week, I was determined to improve my use with the skew.

skew close up

The skew is considered one of hardest tools to master, but if you use it correctly, you will get a smooth, clean cut, and your piece will need very little sanding.

The skew is a beveled tool. You must work to use the middle of the blade because if you try to turn on either point, you will leave unwanted spirals all over your work.

At a recent Duck River Wood Turners meeting, the person demonstrating suggested working to perfect a technique on pine because, as he put it, if you perfect the technique on pine, you can use it on any wood.

So, I began. Up until this week, I have been doing much of my work with a roughing gouge. As you can see, when I get everything rounded, the piece still needs a lot of sanding. UGH!

roughing gouge

Next, I picked up the skew. On the left hand side of the picture, you can see what happens when you use the tip and the heel of the skew. On the right hand side of the picture, you can see what happens when you use the middle of the blade.

skew smoothed

After I got comfortable with using the middle of the skew, I started playing with design.

all 7

On the first piece, I cut a little too thin. On the second, I veered a bit from the middle of the skew blade and cut in some grooves. On the third, I gouged the piece. UGH! More practice.


More gouges and groves, but I kept going.


Finally, on the seventh piece, I was able to cut a design without a nick or gouge.

finished form

I am not perfect. I am not ready yet to begin on expensive cuts of wood. But my frustration level with using the tool has decreased a great deal.

I will continue to practice., but at least some of the firewood for my fire pit will create curiosity.


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