Dave Devout is a professional woodturner who specializes in architectural spindle work, both new construction and restoration and he was the demonstrator at the February meeting. Dave was provided with a 2” x2” X 24” billet of Brazilian Rosewood to work with. He mounted the blank between centers and was happy enough with the headstock end centering, but needed to finesse the tailstock end into position. In order to determine the high side Dave barely touched a bowl gouge to the spinning blank. The gouge nicked the wood on the high side and Dave tapped it down a touch and the blank ran true.
He used the bowl gouge to round the blank by taking small bites along a length and then coming back and using a running cut to level the surface. Dave used the bowl gouge to rough out a bead followed by a tapered section and ending in another bead. He then switched to his skew to do the fine and detail cuts.
As Dave planed the long surface of the tapered section he kept his left hand wrapped around the spindle and used his left thumb to steer the skew. The used the skew to true the beads he had roughed and to make crisp the transition from square to round.
Watching Dave wield the skew to bring a roughed out spindle to sanding ready in just a few minutes reinforced my conviction that the skew is a tool that I should conquer, as soon as I have a few hundred free hours.