Lathe Technique: Nothing but Skew

I built a spring lathe a little while back, then a mini spring lathe version and since then, I have been practicing my technique.  After I screw a bunch of stuff up, I often go browse YouTube to see examples of people doing it right.  One video that caught a lot of attention was the guy using a bow-lathe to turn chess pieces with his bare feet.

Once you get beyond the fact that he is sitting on a doorstep and turning out a great looking chess pieces, you also notice that he never changes tools.  He uses the same skew chisel from start to finish.  No scrapers, no spindle gouge, no roughing gouge, no parting tool.  Just the skew.  I’ve watched this several times just to observe his technique with the skew chisel.  Each time I watch it, I pick up a little more.  I aspire to be that skilled with a single tool.

In addition to that, I like the example here for using a skew chisel to rough out a round spindle

This video covers the connection between the skew chisel, the tool rest and the movement of the body.

More tips and techniques for using the skew chisel.

I also like these other practice skew videos from a series.  They move a little slow, but they actually cover a lot, you just have to be a patient. They are also upside-down (author should have flipped the camera) so they take a little getting used to.

Rounding (skew practice 2 of 8)

V-cuts (skew practice 3 of 8)

Rolling a Bead (skew practice 4 of 8)

Still rolling beads and pealing cuts(skew practice 5 of 8)

This one teaches less, but you can actually watch the hole v-cut and rolling process without all the talking to break things up.(skew practice 6 of 8)