The skew chisel is notorious for its ability to catch and spiral out of control unexpectedly. Like most turners, I've spent hour after hour trying to master this tool, and understand the causes of the skew's behavior. The skew chisel is one of the few turning tools that has a double bevel, and I began to believe that this could be a contributing factor in the skew's propensity to catch. As an experiment, I reground an old tool to resemble a skew chisel; the only difference was that I ground only one bevel rather than the traditional two. My first test of the reground tool was most encouraging; I could make planing cuts and roll beads easily with far less fear of getting a catch. The problem was, unlike the conventional skew, the tool would cut in only one direction. This would make it necessary to grind two tools, a right-handed and a left-handed , in order to do the work of one skew chisel. The solution, as seen in the illustration above, was to combine both the right and left-handed tools into one. Now, the tool could cut in both directions. After a bit more experimentation, I added a curved cutting edge to both sides; the result was.....the V-Skew.
About the Tompkins V-Skew
Available exclusively at Packard Woodworks!
The V-Skew is available in two sizes, 1/2" and 3/4", exclusively from Packard Woodworks. The image on the right shows the grind detail; this tool is freshly sharpened free-hand, and is ready for honing. The 3/4" tool in the left image is the original prototype produced by Packard.
Victory over catches!!!!