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Skew Chisels for Woodcarving

Some time ago I carved the Mary May version of the Philadelphia ball-and-claw, and really enjoyed it, but what I've really been interested in doing ever since I saw Matt Wolfe carve one on YouTube, is a Newport style ball-and-claw. And fortunately for us, Mary just finished a series of videos on carving the Newport style a few weeks back.

In those videos, Mary sometimes uses a skew chisel, and I'd like to find out more about what chisel that is specifically.  I mostly have Pfeil and Two Cherries tools, so I've been looking at them for no other good reason. The Pfeil skew chisels seem to be double beveled (at least the ones I've found).  The Two Cherries versions look to be single beveled, but they are also quite thick and I believe are more of a furniture making paring chisel rather than a wood carving chisel. Can anyone give me any advise on style or manufacturer for an appropriate wood carving skew chisel (as opposed to a woodworking paring chisel) of the type Mary must be talking about? I'm surprised the Pfeil offering is a double-bevel chisel. Is that normal/common?

Jonas Fjällström has reacted to this post.
Jonas Fjällström

Hi Charles,

I'm glad you have been enjoying the ball and claw lessons.

The skew chisel I use is an antique one that has about a 45 degree angle on it. Mine is a double bevel. I prefer the double-bevel because no matter which direction you cut, it is laid against the wood at the same angle. If it were single bevel, you would have to adjust and use them differently - bevel up or bevel down.

Most of the new skew chisels I have seen don't have enough of an angle to them. They are more like flat chisels with a little slant to it. You may want to re-grind the blade to make the angle sharper.

The skew chisel really is helpful for those occasional awkward tight areas. No other tool will do the same.

Have fun!

Bernhard Baumgardt and Jonas Fjällström have reacted to this post.
Bernhard BaumgardtJonas Fjällström