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Modifying Skew Chisels

You buy it, but you can make it better!

Actually that's a good general principle: whatever carving tool you buy is just a starting point. Shape it, commission it and make it work better - make it do more for you.


| 22 February 2015 18:39

Pete - You are exactly right: these sorts of modifications save me lots of time in the end. The other point worth repeating is that I fearlessly see a new tool as a starting rather than an end point; something to 'cultivate' and make my own.

| 22 February 2015 18:35

William - I would do it to one and convince yourself it's more than worth the trouble, then modify other skews where you think it might help your carving?.

| 22 February 2015 14:53

Roman - I haven't got or used one of these knives, but I think a flattish slipstone on the concave edge would be the best way to sharpen it - as you supposed. Keep the stone close on the bevel and create a fine burr (wire edge) on the opposite side. Turn the blade over and remove this burr. Strop well. You SHOULD be able to get a keen edge and it shouldn't take much honing - it looks a thin blade.

| 21 February 2015 18:29

I think this illustrates the difference in approach between a person doing something to make a living and someone doing something as a hobby. The real point you are making Chris is that by doing this to this particular tool you are greatly increasing it's versatility, and at the same time in certain situations saving time by not having to put it down and pick up another in order to finish the task.
I must confess to modifying a lot of tools over the years for just the same reasons. A few seconds saved may seem very petty but, multiply this by several hundred per year over thirty years and "You're onto a nice little earner!"

| 20 February 2015 18:56

I think this will work very well for me. Are you recommending this for all sizes of skews or just the large mm sizes?

| 20 February 2015 18:10

I should say "...a function of my LACK of experience in using a slipstone that way".

| 20 February 2015 17:23

Chris - thanks for this lesson on sharpening a convex curve blade!

Question for you - I have one of the pfeil Abegglan Detail Knives which have both a convex AND concave edge on them.When I got it it needed to be commissioned, but I've not had much luck in getting an edge on the concave edge. Any pointers on how to effectively do that? It seems you need to use a slipstone by hand, but that doesn't result in a very even edge/angle (however maybe that's a function of my experience in using one that way).



| 20 February 2015 07:00

Sergio - Apologies if it seems I was giving you a hard time; I really wasn't! You've made a very good observation and I could have made a point of noting the difference - and her definitely is one. I have both a knife, which you can see me using them to 'back off' the tree carving in the Tree Box project for example, AND this modified skew chisel. The knife is short, has a very thin blade with a long cutting edge and I hold and use it with one hand, supporting the work with the other. The skew is long, used with both hands in both low and high angle carving grips; is thick metal - meaning you can slide it into a corner or junction low down along the ground for example; and generally a tougher tool. The skew chisel was one of the first tools I had when I started and a very useful tool - I'd definitely recommend every carver (of my style) has one. All I've done is take the tool I was already familiar with and bring the rather redundant corner into play. To be clear, knives definitely have there place in the scheme of carving and, although there is a cross-over of function, there is, to my mind, more difference than similarity. But, at the end of the day, you should convince yourself by trying both. All the best with your carving!

| 18 February 2015 19:18

Chris, thank you for your answer. Don't get me wrong please... Being a beginner I already have a big collection of gouges, Iâ??ve even followed your advice of having at least tree gouges of each sweep, which Iâ??m very happy with.
I understood the modifications youâ??ve made to, for example, the V-tools, but this transformation is such that I felt the need to question the purpose of purchasing a fully functional tool to give it the function of anotherâ?¦
I thought that the handling could be one of the reasons but, may be, making a longer handle for a knife will give you the same result and the possibility to handling it with two hands.
Thank you again very much for all your help.

| 18 February 2015 17:36

Sergio - Yes, it does look like a knife and, indeed, you could say all carving tools ultimately derive from knives. But there are a couple of important between this tool and a knifedifferences: Firstly, the skew is much thicker metal and because of this it has a significant bevel, which you can see me working from; secondly is the way I use the skew: two-handed just like a carving gouge. If I wanted to use the skew one-handed, like a knife - then I'd get a knife!

| 17 February 2015 14:45

Hello Chris, what is the difference with a knife with the same form then?

With regards,

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