Problem Solving Products Issue 26 SkewchigougeComments (0)
Two-In-One Turning Tool
As the strange-sounding name suggests, this high-speed steel hybrid blends the cutting qualities of a skew chisel and a spindle gouge, the two most common chisels used in spindle turning. Allan Beecham, a noted turner and the tool’s designer, and scores of Skewchi-fans claim that this inexpensive tool can plane, cut beads, pummels, balls, bird’s beaks, and V-grooves, and is virtually catchproof. The secret, they say, lies in the grind. The tip of the 71/2" –round bar-stock blade has a spindle gouge fingernail profile, but instead of a standard gouge-like trough on the other side, the Skewchigouge has a spoon-shaped concavity, shown in the inset above.
The SeT-Up: Compared to other new tools, the factory grind
looked unusually good. I pulled the edge over a stone twice to pull up a burr, ran it against my buffing
wheel, and it was ready to go. Diagramed instructions explain how to make all
of the cuts, but I was confused by Beecham’s terminology until I realized that “chisel
mode” meant “used with the concave edge face up and cutting only with the tip” and
“gouge mode” meant “turning the concave edge 90° and cutting with the side
Trial Run: For my test, I used spindle stock that I had prepared with a roughing gouge. I first tried turning the Skewchigouge on edge, using it in skew-mode to mark and start my cuts. Next, I tried cutting a bead, as shown on page 68. Because I’m not accustomed to using a skew and plunging straight into the cut, it took me a few minutes to find the Skewchigouge’s “angle of roll,” but before long I found it to be a simple fluid motion. I tried running the Skewchigouge along the length of the spindle to make a smooth planing cut, but after a few attempts, I decided to stick with my standard skew. The advantage to a regular skew is that the wider beveled edge can rest on the stock to get a smoother cut. The Skewchi’s gouge-like grind isn’t large enough to provide the same support.
Best Applications: Spindle turners interested in cutting beads and shoulders will really appreciate the two-in-one tool because of its ability to instantly transition from gouge to skew.
And, unlike a regular spindle gouge,
you can make a V-cut between beads without the risk of having the edge catch
the stock and ruin the cut because with the Skewchigouge, there’s no protruding
edge to catch.
Tester’s Take: If you’re already proficient with a spindle gouge
or skew, then you may not need a Skewchigouge, but if you’re a new turner, or
constantly switching between the two tools, then it’s worth a try. Eventually,
you’ll need to regrind the concave top surface. If you haven’t yet mastered
this trick, don’t worry; it’ll take a few years of use before it’s time to
regrind. Considering the price, it’s certainly a quality addition to your
turning tool collection.
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