A Crown skew chisel doesn’t have anything to do with royalty. The shape of the blade doesn’t resemble a crown. What then is a Crown chisel? Is a Crown skew chisel used like other skew chisels? We’ll answer these questions--and others--in this article.
What is a Crown skew chisel?
A Crown skew chisel is a skew chisel manufactured in Sheffield, England by Crown Hand Tools. Ltd. Crown is a family-owned company that has spent over 50 years manufacturing traditional wood carving tools.
What are the hallmarks of Crown products and processes?
Crown Hand Tools are known for the following:
- Traditional handmade products that have been hand forged, tempered, and ground.
- Modern production processes such as cryogenics and powder metallurgy.
- Quality materials such as M2 high-speed steel blades, beechwood or black ash handles, and brass ferrules.
- A full line of skew chisels with different cross-section profiles and widths. Crown offers oval skew chisels, radius skew chisels with a rounded cutting edge, diamond point cutting chisels, and straight (traditional) skew chisels in widths that range from ⅜” to 1¼” .
- Blades that are hot forged from M2 high-speed steel and hold a sharp edge several times longer than a carbon steel edge holds one.
- Skews designed specifically for a left-handed person.
How are Crown skew chisels used?
Like any well-sharpened skew chisel, a Crown skew chisel is a versatile and efficient tool that can be used to make a wide variety of cuts including:
- Roughing cuts to plane off corners.
- Peeling cuts to remove quantities of wood quickly.
- Planing cuts for finishing.
- V-cuts for laying out other cuts such as beads and spindles
What are the keys to using a Crown skew chisel effectively?
To be their most effective, Crown skew chisels need to be:
Wood carving tools need to have sharp edges if they are to cut effectively. Razor-sharp edges are especially important for turning tools like skew chisels used with a fasting-spinning lathe. Dull skew chisels leave nasty finishes that are difficult or impossible to sand smooth. Dull tools are also more apt to cause an accident or injury.
Crown wood chisels feature high-speed steel blades that hold their sharp edge longer than skew chisels made with carbon steel blades. Still, one key to using Crown skew chisels effectively is learning to sharpen them consistently to the angle and sharpness you desire.
Used with proper technique
The versatile skew chisel can make several different cuts well, as long as the person holding it understands the details of where to position the tool rest, the angle at which the tool and the wood should meet, and the necessary follow-through for each cut. All of this takes skill and practice.
Significant numbers of woodcarvers avoid using the skew chisel because they’ve never mastered the techniques involved. For them, it’s easier to use several tools designed for a specific cut rather than a skew chisel that could do several cuts.
Used with care
Wood carving tools are dangerous. They have sharp blades, are held in your hand, and often are relatively close to your face. Accidents can result in significant cuts.
Skew chisels are typically used with a lathe that’s spinning several hundred times each minute. Wood chips and sawdust fly everywhere. Eye protection is crucial.
Dig-ins happen in an instant and can ruin a project. A dig-in that tears the skew chisel out of the carver’s hand can result in serious injury. Carvers need to exercise special care when they use a lathe and skew chisel.
Summing it up
Crown skew chisels are handmade in Sheffield, England, by Crown Hand Tools. Ltd. Crown manufactures skew chisels in different profiles and widths so that woodcarvers looking for a quality skew chisel can find one that suits their needs.
Chisels produced by Crown are typically used by very experienced carvers who are used to using this brand. The Crown tools are more expensive than most other brands, so if you're still an entry-level or intermediate carver, you may want to start with a set of tools that is more economical.