- Ashley Iles Edge Tools Ltd.
The American Pattern Chisels by Ashley Iles are short, well balanced chisels with a thin edged blade profile that fits into tight corners and dovetails with ease. A forged bolster and tang, with a precisely ground beveled edge profile, on the blade made of 01 tools steel provide a solid, precise, and maintainable tool that with a service life measured in decades. The bubinga handle is short and comfortable and perfectly matches the bubinga handles of the Ashley Iles MK2 Bench chisels.
Ashley Iles American Pattern Chisels improve on the traditional design of butt chisels, with a more refined handle shape, and a sweet, low profile blade with sides that taper from 1/16" to less than 1/32" at the tip. These improvements to the design of the typical butt chisel are substantial enough that we call these chisels "American Pattern Bevel Edged Chisels" in reference to their similarity to some of the more popular classic American chisels the used to be manufactured here in the states.
A smaller size of the American Pattern allows for a handle that is especially easy to grasp and control. The short over all length, (7 1/2" for widths 1" and under, and 9 1/4" for widths over 1") makes the chisels suited to smaller work, or smaller hands. The 2 5/8" usable blade length is plenty long for standard joinery.
A tool is a reflection of its maker. Ashley Iles is owned and run by Barry and Tony Iles, who leaned their trade from their father Ashley, while growing up in and around the workshops of Sheffield England. Their experience and expertise in tool making is apparent through out their line of Edge tools, and the American Pattern Chisels are no different. One example of the traditional skills employed at the Ashley Iles works, is the expertly hand ground back of the chisel, which has a few thousandths of an inch of hollow. The nearly imperceptible hollow makes the back easier to polish at the cutting edge without the need for hours of flattening. The O1 tool steel blade, hardened to 61 HRC will sharpen beautifully to a razor edge using water, diamond, or oil stones.
Because of the high demand for Ashley Iles Edge tools, and the limits their methods of manufacture put on volume production, we are rarely in stock on all sizes of chisel at the same time.
For all sets and individual chisel orders we will ship the sizes listed as In Stock immediately, and any chisels listed as Temporarily Sold Out when they become available - typically 4-8 weeks. We do this at no extra charge, and thank you for your patience in supporting a truly amazing manufacturer.
Ashley Iles American Pattern Chisels are Made in England.
Ashley Iles (Edge Tools) Ltd. is a small, family-run company based in a small town in bucolic Lincolnshire, England. Ashley Iles was a patternmaker who started his firm in 1949; today his sons Barry and Tony continue to run the business. (Ashley's eldest son, Raymond, also continues the family tradition of toolmaking, and you might recognize his name on the Excellent D2 Mortise chisels we sell). Thanks to the quality of Ashley Iles chisels, carving tools and woodturning tools this small firm enjoys an international reputation. Although the book is sadly out of print, before his passing, Ashley Iles wrote a fascinating autobiography about how he came to found Ashley Iles Edge Tools Ltd. and the surrounding history and context of Sheffield's industrial roots. If you can get your hands on a copy of Memories of a Sheffield Tool Maker it is an excellent read.
At the Ashley Iles Works you are more likely to find Barry and Tony in the workshop making tools, than working a keyboard. At English woodworking shows customers are continually amazed that the salesman taking the orders (usually Barry) is not only a company director, but is fully capable of personally forging and grinding any of the tools made by the firm. When we visited the Ashely Iles works in 2012 we shot video footage of the Ashley Iles workshop, including several minutes of Tony Iles working at 3 foot diameter grinding wheel spinning at a surface speed of over 60 miles per hour, while grinding the bevel of a thumbnail turning gouge free-hand. (You can watch the videos in the product media viewer.)
Ashley Iles operates in a tradition that is bound by quality, and authenticity, backed up by a lifetime guarantee on each and every tool they make. They are one of the last remaining companies to employ the traditional skills, and methods that made Sheffield's name synonymous with quality, and we are proud to support them.