Skeletons are important shape descriptors in object representation and recognition. Typically, skeletons of volumetric models are computed using iterative thinning. However, traditional thinning methods often generate skeletons with complex structures that are unsuitable for shape description, and appropriate pruning methods are lacking. In this paper, we present a new method for computing skeletons of volumetric models by alternating thinning and a novel skeleton pruning routine. Our method creates a family of skeletons parameterized by two user-specified numbers that determine respectively the size of curve and surface features on the skeleton. As demonstrated on both real-world models and protein images in bio-medical research, our method generates skeletons with simple and meaningful structures that are particularly suitable for describing cylindrical and plate-like shapes.