Ryedale Woodturners

Paul Jones


Thursday 6 October 2016

Snainton Woodturning Supplies

Paul offered us three small kitchen items made demonstrating the skew chisel: a scoop, a salt spoon and a honey dripper.


Paul Jones

Paul demonstrated how to use a skew chisel, and its advantages, by making three small culinary items. First he made a scoop, essentially a goblet with a slice cut away.

A piece of beech was turned into a cylinder using a roughing gouge followed by a continental grind gouge, and then held in O'Donnell jaws on an Axminster chuck, chosen because of its ability to hold a straight tenon rather than a dovetail spigot.

Hollowing wood

The end was hollowed out, starting with a spindle gouge, and then moving on to a Simon Hope carbide tip hollower. Notice in the picture how Paul has the handle jammed under his arm to give support and stability, then moving the body rather than the hand to do the hollowing.

Tung oil

Once shaped and smoothed the cup was oiled with some tung oil. At this stage the handle has not yet been formed, keeping the blank as thick as possible to give supprt while the cup end is being formed.

Japanese Pull Saw

A Japanese saw was used to start a cut for the scoop, made while the handle is still quite thick, allowing the saw to rest on the handle diameter. The cut was perhaps half an inch, enough to give a start guide later on.

Japanese Saw

The handle was then shaped to a finish using a skew chisel, producing a smooth finish which required little or no sanding. The cut for the scoop was then finished vertically with the piece off the lathe.

Turned wooden scoop

A small nib was left at the end of the handle when parting off, which was then removed by hand with a small chisel reserved for such a job. If parted off exactly at the end of the handle, the fibres can twist into the handle and prevent a smooth finish to the work at this point.

Salt spoon

Turned wooden salt spoon

Paul's second item was a small salt spoon. Margaret Garrard turned something similar in October 2014, but using a different technique.

Starting with another cylindrical blank, some care was taken to achieve a sphere at the end of the blank. All by eye, no measurements.

Jam chuck

Once the sphere was to his satisfaction, Paul then supported the piece with the ball braced in a ring tailstock protected by a little padding, He shaped the handle with the skew, and then came the exciting part, at least for those on the front row.

Jam chuck

A piece of waste wood was mounted and a small dish turned to match the diameter of the spoon head. A push fit held the spoon, with sufficient friction to allow the head to be hollowed out, albeit with a fairly careful approach. True to Paul's promises, it did not jump out of its jam chuck.

Honey Dripper

Honey dripper

A little pressed for time, Paul finished quickly with a honey dripper, shaped almost entirely with the skew. A small parting tool would have been used for the rings, but it could not be found so the skew took its place.

Lathe stand

Paul did not bring any pieces to mount as a gallery, but he did bring his own lathe. Of interest as we consider moving premises and need to find our own lathe for demonstrations. An Axminster, variable speed, on a home made wooden stand which seemed to provide good, solid support for the work.

Lathe stand tray

I particularly liked the built in tool tray on the stand. I also noted the number of times Paul removed the tailstock and moved around to the end of the lathe to do some hollowing. It wouldn't be possible in my all-too cramped workshop, One day perhaps I will have a workshop big enough for purpose!.

Hints and tips
Paul Jones
  • A skew is well worth the effort to master - it can provide a much smoother finish and more flowing curves are achievable.
  • A convex grind on a skew is useful for long curves.
  • A round skew (ie round bar with skew point) is useful for cutting a hole or cup with parallel sides. The sloping sides of a parting tool usually prevent this.
  • a continental grind gouge is a sort of cross between a skew and a roughing gouge