Tool Test – Ashely Iles Carving Tools

From August 2006 Popular Woodworking

Good Steel and Good Handles

Last summer and fall I extensively tested several carving gouges from English toolmaker Ashley Iles. Midway through the testing, I was impressed enough to go out and buy several additional gouges. Both the long-handled “London” pattern and short-handled palm tools were comfortable in the hand and nicely finished with beech handles and excellent quality steel.

They compared favorably to the Pfiel gouges I already own, have a nicer finish on both the handle and blade, and are competitively priced. I was particularly impressed with the condition of the blades. Many new carving tools look nice, but the shininess is due to overbuffing. The Ashley Iles blades were accurately and finely ground so only minimal honing was needed before using them. In use, they held their edges very well.
Hundreds of sizes and sweep patterns are available, as are several different sets. You also receive a discount by ordering six or more chisels.

– Robert W. Lang

More information on Ashley Iles tools from Tools for Working Wood

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One thought on “Tool Test – Ashely Iles Carving Tools

  1. Michael Rogen

    Bob,
    I have been thinking about getting into carving for some time and so I bought some books by Chris Pye. The main one newly revised vol. 1 & 2, but in addition I picked up his letter carving book and became very interested in it. His first DVD came out, Rob Cosman is the student and Chris the teacher and it is all about sharpening. Very interesting. Inside bevels are vert important! Who’d of thunk it? As for the AI he thought they were a bit soft and thick for the way he worked. He gave me a list of 5 pieces to get started on letter carving. I’ve decided between the Iles and Pfeils, which would you suggest to a beginner such as myself?
    Thanks again for your time,

    Michael

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