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Tonight started with sad news about a few of our members who had been taken ill over the past couple of months, the club membership wished them all well and hoped to see them back at the club shortly.


The chairman’s next statement was that three members got; Highly Commended Neil Walsh, Alan Aldridge & Peter Noot whilst John Wyatt got Best in Show at SAWS with the club coming second in the main competition.

Well done to all those members who contributed pieces to make it a good show. Also thanks were given to those members who found time to enter the “STELLA” competition run by Ken Briffett.


The next piece of news was that Scott Waugh had organized a Reporter and Photographer to come along to the next Saturday Club 14th December to see what we do and place the editorial in the December Supplement of the Portsmouth News.

On this note we were all asked if we could bring in pieces of our work and especially those who gave pieces for the SAWs show as early as possible on the Saturday morning. (This wasn’t mentioned but if you cannot make it on Saturday you could always deliver them to me by phoning 07890443369 to arrange a time).


John then introduced Gregory Morton who thanked the club for inviting him back again for a third time.

He explained that his first project would be a Rustic Bowl made from an old Oak Fence post.

Newsletter - November 2019

I will not go in the ins and outs of turning a bowl only to say that once the bowl was turned and sanded it would be taken off the lathe, the two waste ends sawn off and all traces of dirt etc would be removed using wire brushes.


Once satisfied and then making certain that the Sander Sealer was applied over the outside. It then had a coat of wax applied using an old toothbrush to make sure that it was applied to all the crooks and grannies before it was buffed.


The photo shows the article still with its wings on this was to enable Gregory to finish it at home.


Tea break came and thanks were given to the two stewards.

From the photo you will notice that the blank has a square cut-out which was done to both sides and two screw clearance screw holes drilled in both ends this was to enable him to attach it to a wooden faceplate.

The bowl area was in fact square and the centre marked using a round disc with a hole drilled in the centre.

Gregory explained that he had many of these rings all of different diameters so that he could find the centre on almost anything square.

This was so that the piece could be fitted up against the faceplate by using the tailstock and live centre, using the four holes he was able to screw it centrally on to the wooden faceplate.

This faceplate had already been fitted with a Faceplate Ring on the reverse side.

The next object was going to be small natural edge Finial lidded box using a log of Laburnham.

Placing the log between centre and working towards the tailstock he started to shape the base of the box adding a spigot.

Photo shows the base shape including the spigot.

This was refitted to the lathe using a chuck and the waste material removed from the lid of the bowl and a spigot was turned on the end this was for use later when the lid was hollowed out.


The lid was parted off and put to one side whilst the base was turned leaving a ring of bark to make the natural edge. Again I won’t go into the ins and outs of making turning a box.

Once satisfied he removed it from the lathe leaving the spigot on so that again it could be finished off at home.


Taking the lid he placed this in the chuck and proceeded to turn the lid shaping and making sure that it fitted the box also to drilling a hole right through the centre to enable him to fit a Finial later.

Using a piece of Paduak he turned his Finial this was fitted to the lid and then using the waste he turned a small button to cover the hole which was on the underside of the lid.


This photo shows the finished item still with it original spigot.

The last object was a Natural Edged Single Rose Bud Vase. Again taking a log of Ash and putting on the lathe between centres with the tailstock end being placed off centre it was roughed down at the headstock end and a spigot added.

Removed and replaced into the chuck bring the tailstock into play as a safety measure the entrance to the hole was turned until the natural edge was equal all the way round once satisfied he then bored a hole using a 3/8 Spindle Gouge to the required depth.


The stem was then turned down to 6.4mm larger than the hole and a base was added.

The photo shows the finished item being held by its spigot for finishing later.

Written and photographed by Don Smith.

A carpenter coming up to retirement in the 1970s decided to upgrade his tools so he could continue his skills into retirement.


As well as many other tools he bought a new skew chisel in a set of eight turning gouges.


He was fully conversant with the use of all these tools having used similar tools throughout his working life when turned items were needed, so using a skew was no challenge to him.


He was a creative character and he used his tools frequently, making items for his long list of contacts, friends, and family.


Over the years the skew had figured as an essential part of his work and was well worn. the skew had found few occasions to bite, as it was treated well by the old carpenter.


As the years rolled by the man became more infirm and spent less time in his shed and eventually the shed, the lathe, and the skew could no longer be a part of his life.


His closed up shed with the skew on the bench by the lathe remained abandoned for several years until the nephew of the old carpenter received the property in the old mans will.


The nephew decided to sell the property lock stock and barrel and put it in the hands of an estate agent.


Eventually a recently retired civil servant and his wife came to view the property. They were standing in the kitchen and the lady was planning how she was going to persuade her husband to buy the place because she loved it.


Unbeknown to her he was staring out of the window at the brick built workshop in the garden and he was thinking how he could persuade his wife to agree to buy the property. 


Then she saw the shed, and she knew he was smitten.


The husband went out and looked through the window of the workshop and he thought it was great. The cobwebs were festooned over everything and coated with a layer of wood dust. The floor had a 6inch covering of wood shavings from the lathe, what he did not see was the skew chisel on the bench by the lathe, but the skew knew he was there and was waiting for him.


Eventually the couple moved in and it wasn’t long before the man was in the shed practicing with the lathe and the tools, a completely new experience for him.


He had severe difficulties with the skew, and the skew made sure he suffered, so the man gave up with the skew and reground it into a quarter inch scraper.


The old skew spent unhappy times during the following ten years being used as a scraper and the man never learned how to use a skew.


The man became ill and was unable to use his workshop. He and his wife decided to auction off his tools and my friend bought the lathe and tools.


He reinstated the the old skew to its original state, but my friend and the skew had a strained relationship for some time.


I received my friends lathe and tools after his untimely death and they were stored in my garage for five years while we were extending our house.


I made a few things on the lathe before we moved to Hayling Island, but didn’t discover the skew.


I started to make turned Christmas trees and I had tried many tools and had modified a wood chisel into an eighth inch skew which worked well getting into the tight corners of the trees.


I then found the old skew when I was looking for the super glue to stick up the cut on my finger, and had a eureka moment.


That was the tool I needed. I reground the skew to a 3mm. cutting edge and the Christmas trees progressively improved.


My relationship with the skew was a bit fraught to start with and I blamed it for destroying some of my best work.


I soon discovered that the skew would not punish me too much if I kept my eye on the heel of the skew.


The skew and I have had many happy hour turning our Christmas trees together.


The old skew is now only one and a half inches long and too short for my purposes, and I now use another modified tool as the new skew.


I couldn’t bring myself to do a TRIGGER on the old skew, so I keep it on my tool rack to remind me to TAKE CARE USING A SKEW, BECAUSE THEY BITE BACK.


Peter J Noot

THE SKEW THAT BIT BACK