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.
More information on Ashley Iles tools from Tools for Working Wood
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