25 Jul 2023 – Jim Echter

 In Online Demos


Tuesday 25th July online Zoom demonstration with Jim Echter all the way from Rochester a suburb of Upstate New York USA.

As holiday season is with us and schools are closed for the summer a slightly smaller turn out this month for our demo. The title “The sensational Skew”. Not everyone is a fan of this often-maligned tool that nearly all woodturners have, but seldom use. However, after Jim’s enthusiastic and detailed description and demonstration of how versatile it can be we must urge everyone to follow his ABCD/1234 process for mastering the tool and at least have a go, you don’t know you might even enjoy it.

With over 40 years’ experience as a production turner Jim started with a short history of where he was in the USA and his journey with turning, then onto the agenda for the evening; including a full description of the various types of Skew, how to sharpen and maintain, the different cuts and demonstration of how each is achieved, how to be safe when you are learning, including how to make a safety drive to avoid a nasty grab when it goes wrong; that was his only guarantee, you don’t always get it right first time. We were show oversized mock-ups of tools and different cuts to illustrate in great detail what was being explained.

We were asked to bring along our own Skew and to get involved, as usual, some did and others, rather shy, didn’t.

Each time Jim showed us a particular “cut” – Planing, Vee, Peeling, Shoulder or Bead cutting with the point we were given exercises to take to our workshops to practice making those shavings to create our own muscle memory and hone our skill as well as our tools. We were even quizzed on sharpening angles different cuts etc. to see if we were listening and luckily it seemed we were.

Putting it all together Jim then mounted yet another blank piece of pine, turned to a round and proceeded to create all the previous cuts to make a sample piece that he challenged the group to try at home and either show at our next meeting or to share pictures online of our efforts.

Jim was very keen that the meeting was interactive and happy to have open mikes to ask questions and comments throughout the evening, we were shown his home ‘shop built’ tools and sharpening jig, made from a belt sander and how to use it to achieve to correct grinding angles for the various skews available. Jim has a web site full of tips, articles, and videos to help the budding Skew-ist to hone their skillset, check it out HERE.

Thank you to Jim for welcoming us into his workshop and to share his passion for turning, although a production turner he did say he doesn’t like too many of the same items to turn but uses each one to improve on the last, cutting down his time in a kind of self-challenge. We have some screen grabs from the evening to give a taster of what went on.

The evening was recorded and will be available to eligible members to view again via a link to be sent to them.

Thank you Zak for a great write up of the evening’s activities and you can check out more photos taken during the demo in the Gallery HERE.

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Showing 6 comments
  • David Eason

    Absolutely brilliant demonstration. For myself one of the best I have attended. Thanks to Zak for the booking

  • Paul Tunmore

    A real education , learning how to use the skew , looked so easy when Jim did it but after a few minutes in the workshop learned it’s not as easy as he made it look lol x

  • Chris Fisher

    A very informative demo on how to use a Skew.

  • Zak

    Thanks Dave,
    I found it strange that we missed the comfort break, although our audience is usually quiet I think Jim did a great job in taking out the scary mystery out of the skew. I practice quite regularly and a long way from mastering it, I watch John L in awe of his skill.

  • Paul Tunmore

    Like all skills Zak the key is practice and experts make it look so easy. I feel the same watching Chris with a gouge. So many turners master one chisel for speed but there are no rules use whatever works for you . Very educational demo will watch bits of the video again

  • Gary Gray

    I thought this was a really great Demo and different from many we have seen. Thanks Zak for organising. I got a few pointers from it which I am keen to try out – to see if it really is any easier!

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