the skew. With Stabilax, they took to the skew like ducks to water. They thought it was fun and had no idea that a skew could be hard to use.
The reason a normal skew chisel is so difficult to use is that the tool is unbalanced. There's often no support directly under the downward force at the point of cut. Stabilax, as the name implies, changes all of this. It gives a skew support directly under the point of cut, and because it is cylindrical, it's easy to roll the tool on the rest.
The virtues of Stabilax don't end with the skew. You can also mount Stabilax onto your scraper.
My conclusions are that for the accomplished turner, some time with Stabilax will bring you a better understanding of the dynamics of how a skew works, and make you a better turner. For all others, the device is a must-have. It takes the fear out of using a skew, and whether you decide to bolt Stabilax on your skew forever or use it as a stepping stone, is really a matter of personal choice.
The Stablilax comes in two sizes: l'/i-in. and l'/i-in., and both cost $24.95. The l'A-in. size is probably the most useful. Thev mav be ordered
• m from Beech Street Tool Works, 440 Beech St.. Los Angeles, CA 90065. Be sure to add $3.50 per unit for shipping and handling.(California residents add 6lh% sales tax.)
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Stabilax: Take the Shrew Out of Your Skew
One of the toughest tools for a turner to master is the skew. Used properly, the results are fast and magnificent —the tool can even be fun. In the best of hands, however, the tool can bite unmercifully, marring your work. Many accomplished woodworkers are afraid of the skew and tend not to trust themselves with it. This is a shame, because properly used, the skew saves time and yields crisp, finely detailed turnings.
Now there is a simple device that tames the meanest of skews in the klutziest of hands. The "Stabilax" is a cylindrical weight that slides onto the shaft of a skew and locks in place with a hex screw.
I was first introduced to the device at last year's Los Angeles Wood
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working Show. Richard Lukes, the inventor of the Stabilax visited my booth and offered me one of these items to try. I was busy at the time, but with the first lull in traffic, my wife Susan asked me to give the Stabilax a try. I told her. "Ah, that's just another gimmick! Throw it in my tool bag and I'll try it someday," (which meant never).
Things were slow that Sunday, so Susan resurrected the sample from my bag and said, "Really now. why don't you give it a try?" So I gave in and decided to try it. I was very skeptical. The first few straight cuts didn't really seem all that different from a plain old skew. The real eye-opener came when I cut some beads. I was truly amazed. I proceeded to cut in a manner that would invite a catch, and really had to work to get one. In the end, I was clowning around resting mv elbow on the head stock while turning with one hand. In short. I was blown away by Stabilax.
Our children Genoa. 10. and Justin, 8, were at the show with us. I pressed them into service to further test Stabilax. They have been turning for some time but not yet with
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