Tuesday, October 23, 2007


A mailing from Matthew at Workshop Heaven has spared you a rant - so say "thank you, Matthew"... Yes, the season of New Tools continues with an interesting offering from Ashley Iles, viz; a dovetail chisel set. Big deal? How about elliptical faces?

Yep, not bevels, but half an ellipse. Still trying to get my head around that, to be honest. Is it an improvement for the user, or easier manufacturing? (Cynical? Moi? How many of you are still buying the A2 cryo stuff...?) And the skews are "fish-tailed"; i.e. flared. Must admit the latter tweak the "look good" gland a little... O1 steel too, my steel of choice. All told a very interesting email.

My only problem is I have an enormous mental block when it comes to considering Ashley Iles chisels. I can work myself up into quite a convinced state about them all, in the abstract, but as soon as I see one I wince. The tapered faux-socket bolster and the brass ferrule just put me off completely. Fickle, I dare say, but there it is. The dovetail set is a lot better in that regard, the tapered bolster being greatly reduced, but all it needs is a real octagonal bolster and I'd be in serious chisel-buying danger.

So perhaps it's just as well they don't have them...


  1. Ya know...I bet you can purchase them unhandled...I can [g].

    Of course, I *think* AI chisels have a round shank instead of a "proper" tang. Still, that would completely stop me.

    I have mixed feelings about the convex shape. On the one hand, they look like lathe chisels to me, but the real killer would be that they do still come down at a fairly obtuse angle to the non-beveled side. On the other hand, I often use square-sided firmers even for DTs in all but the smallest ones.

    The best thing is I like the fact AI is willing to come out with another style. I suspect these chisels would be just fine when it comes to intended use. Might just need to try and obtain one sooner or later.

    Take care, Mike

    P.S. With the need to moderate the comments, does that mean you'll catch my spelling errors?

  2. Those 'fishtail' chisels don't look quite right for the job to me. Is that a vertical edge on the pointed side?

  3. Surely the half-elispse (actually an elipse - arc) is just a function of the chisels having a rounded back rather being flat or bevelled. Or am I missing something? I can't see that it will add anything of use to an bevel-backed chisel. After all, the cutting is done at the sharp end, which is still straight.

  4. Lathe chisels - that's what was nagging at me. Thanks, Mike (and no, that doesn't mean I'm gonna check your spelling. Can't even catch my own!)

    Anyway I've added a couple of the close-up pics, which are the ones I should have put up in the first place really, so you may further deliberate to your heart's content.

  5. Maybe I'm not seeing it right, but the large chisel's bevel angle looks to be about 40 degrees. I can't imagine that would be very effective for paring, which requires a more acute bevel angle. Also, I would think that the curved sides would prevent you from getting into tight, angled corners. Guess that's why they have the skew chisels. I suppose I'd have to see these guys in action in order to be convinced of their effectiveness.


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