Turning synthetics with a skew

Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

Woodchipper

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Messages
2,740
Location
Cleveland, TN
Letting the knees rest a bit. I know there are several types of synthetics and I will use this word as a broad term. Does anyone use a skew for turning synthetics? I am using a 3/4 roughing gouge and getting a decent surface prior to sanding and polishing. I have read that a skew, on wood, can reduce sanding to a minimum. Your thoughts and advice are most welcome.
BTW, the members of this forum are a great bunch, very friendly, and willing to share their expertise and experience.
 
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

Aces-High

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
485
Location
Boulder, Colorado
Letting the knees rest a bit. I know there are several types of synthetics and I will use this word as a broad term. Does anyone use a skew for turning synthetics? I am using a 3/4 roughing gouge and getting a decent surface prior to sanding and polishing. I have read that a skew, on wood, can reduce sanding to a minimum. Your thoughts and advice are most welcome.
BTW, the members of this forum are a great bunch, very friendly, and willing to share their expertise and experience.
I start with a spindle gouge first. I turn it 45 degres and it seems to work really well for me. I am able to take a much more aggressive cut without chip out. I use the roughing gouge closer to the finished size.
 

Rifleman1776

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2004
Messages
7,333
Location
Mountain Home, Arkansas, USA.
Letting the knees rest a bit. I know there are several types of synthetics and I will use this word as a broad term. Does anyone use a skew for turning synthetics? I am using a 3/4 roughing gouge and getting a decent surface prior to sanding and polishing. I have read that a skew, on wood, can reduce sanding to a minimum. Your thoughts and advice are most welcome.
BTW, the members of this forum are a great bunch, very friendly, and willing to share their expertise and experience.
I start with a spindle gouge first. I turn it 45 degres and it seems to work really well for me. I am able to take a much more aggressive cut without chip out. I use the roughing gouge closer to the finished size.
That's what I do. Gouge first then skew. Only difference than with wood is more caution. Synthetics do not all behave the same. Easy does it.
 

raar25

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2011
Messages
769
Location
Glastonbury CT
Only if I am in a hurry to round the corners. I use carbide to get close to fine size and back to skew as a negative scraper for the final sizeing.
 

gt64155

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Messages
66
Location
Davenport Iowa
I also use a rough gouge to get it round and close to the bushings. I then switch to a skew. I have 2 skews, a 5/8 and a 1 1/2, both from Alan Lacer. That said, I start sanding Alumilite pens at 1000 grit. The finish I get from a skew is amazing. Well worth the time to learn how to use it.


Bill
 

keithbyrd

Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
1,913
Location
Mount Wolf, PA
I use a 1" skew for all my pen turning. I have used carbide, gouges etc but the failsafe for me is the skew - sharp and careful but it actually goes pretty fast!
 

KenV

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
4,721
Location
Juneau, Alaska.
John, I have observed that a couple of most excellent pen turners (Ed Davidson aka YoYo Spin and Ed Brown) on you tube vidios use skews with more steep (blunt) bevels on acrylics.

Have tried that and find it helps, especially with more brittle blanks. I just steepened up the platform and shortened the bevel length.

You might also develop the practice of measuring the components with calipers and using calipers to check blank sizes match the components.
 

glycerine

Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2009
Messages
3,462
Location
Fayetteville, NC
Yes, I use a skew for "final material removal" before sanding/polishing and use it more as a scraper. I usually use a replaceable carbide cutter tool prior to that for roughing.
 

Woodchipper

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Messages
2,740
Location
Cleveland, TN
You might also develop the practice of measuring the components with calipers and using calipers to check blank sizes match the components.
Worth a try. I did toss my old bushings for the Slimline pens. Got a new set.
 

dogcatcher

Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
1,873
Location
TX, NM or on the road
Yeah sure, the shew is a great tool, not so easy to be good at it but is true that done right the sanding is minimised considerably but, what I wanted to say is that you guys need to try the "Flap Disc System" it does a great job also in my view, others may disagree...!:biggrin::wink:

Cheers
George
I call your system the 60 grit skew. It does keep me from having blow outs on segmented blanks.
 

Sylvanite

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2006
Messages
2,954
Location
Hillsborough, North Carolina, USA.
If you want to build confidence using a skew chisel, I recommend you find some pen blanks made from opaque Alumilite resin (not Alumilite Clear), i.e. Alumilite White or Alumilite RC3 Black. Of all the synthetic materials I've tried, opaque Alumilite is by far the easiest and most forgiving to turn. The first time I tried it, my immediate reaction was that I finally understood how the skew was supposed to feel, and I easily got the "ribbons" people were talking about. The only downside was that I had to stop periodically to remove them.

Alumilite White also sands and polishes easily. Alumilite RC3 Black tends to show scratches, so it's a little more difficult to polish to a high shine. They are both opaque so there's no need for back-painting. The White can yellow a little over time, and some of the dyes (particularly the red) fade, but apart from that opaque Alumilite is one of my favorite materials to turn.

I hope that helps,
Eric
 

robutacion

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Messages
6,097
Location
Australia - SA Adelaide Hills
Yeah sure, the shew is a great tool, not so easy to be good at it but is true that done right the sanding is minimised considerably but, what I wanted to say is that you guys need to try the "Flap Disc System" it does a great job also in my view, others may disagree...!:biggrin::wink:

Cheers
George
I call your system the 60 grit skew. It does keep me from having blow outs on segmented blanks.

Yeah, mine are actually 36/40 grit and then 120 grit, whatever you see the system helps you with, is all OK by me, it's an option that some may not mind to use and those that don't, its fine by me too...!:biggrin:

Cheers
George
 

JPW062

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
147
Location
Ohio
I don't turn much acrylic. I only use my skew for planing cuts, but in my experience with acrylic:
The skew works great.
Except when it doesn't.
And by that I mean the catches and dig ins with a skew in acrylic are even more eventful than in wood.
In wood you get an opportunity to redesign, in acrylic you get an opportunity to drill another blank.

Be careful with the skew when you get started, but keep with it. It is a really great tool and is the last thing I use on most everything I turn. Iff I have a lot of material to take off a spindle I will practice my skew after I get it round to get it to rough shape, then bowl gouge to get it to shape, then skew planing to flatten out any straights.
The more I practice the skew the more I like it.
Take at least a little of the corners off.
 
Last edited:

Beautys_Beast

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2017
Messages
161
Location
Wisconsin/
I seldomly use anything more than an old large 1 1/4 in roughing gouge, and a skew, to turn pens. Both have to be RAZOR sharp. I rough down to about the shape I want, and finish with the skew. How do I know I have it sharp enough? When the cuts are floating in the air because they are so thin. I can actually "feel" when the skew is loosing it's edge, and my grinder is right next to my lathe. I sharpen between each blank at a minimum. I can go from skew to Micromesh pads without a problem. No other sanding needed. Personally, when turning acrylic, I never dry sand. I do have some strips of 600 and 1200 wet paper I use if I feel it is needed.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom