For a toolmaker, traveling to Sheffield is a pilgrimage. In August of 2012 Tools for Working Wood’s Ben Seltzer flew to England to meet and film three manufacturers: Clico, Ray Iles, and Ashley Iles. After setting up the camera he asked the guys on the shop floor to do what they do best: make tools.
Listening to the sounds of the machinery gives clues to each business’ personality. The roar of the multi head forge at Clico, the quiet warble as Ray Iles works at the lathe, and the ring of Ashley Iles’ anvil each describe a different approach to contemporary tool manufacture. What all three have in common is a tradition of craftsmanship. It is our hope that these films communicate not only the speed and efficiency of time trained hands, but also the beauty, power and magic of industry.
Clico and Clifton - Forging, milling, and drilling the hollow chisel of a mortise bit - Auger, and Jennings bits are ground, polished, threaded and pointed - Spoon bit grinding and sizing - milling and grinding operations during the production of a Clifton handplane.
Ray Iles - Automated production of froe, rounder, and mortise chisel parts - Drawknife blade stamping - Ray Iles centering, polishing and undercutting drawbore pin handles with a single tool - Handling drawbore pins - grinding froe blades.
Ashely Iles Part One - Mooding, and straightening a shallow gouge - Hand work at the anvil and straightening- Oil quenching a batch of carving tools - Hardness testing - Forging gouge blanks at a spring hammer.
Ashely Iles Part Two - Tony Iles grinds turning tools at the large grinding wheel - Interior grinding of turning tools - freehand grinding a “finger nail” gouge.
We would like to extend a special thank you to Alan Reid, Ray, Barry and Tony Iles, and all the employees of Clico, Clifton, Ashley Iles, and Ray Iles. It was an honor to watch you work.
Filmed on location in Sheffield, Horncastle, and East Kirkby by Ben Seltzer Post-production by Waffle Media