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Round Back Dovetail Chisels by Ashley Iles

read 13 reviews
Ashley Iles - Carving, Turning & Bench Chisels
Found in Departments: Ashley Iles - Carving, Turning & Bench Chisels
  Bench Chisels
Round Back Dovetail Chisels by Ashley IlesRound Back Dovetail Chisels by Ashley Ilescancelleft arrowright arrow
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Round Back Dovetail Chisels by Ashley Iles - A Visit to Ashley Iles pt. 1: Forgingplay video
Round Back Dovetail Chisels by Ashley Iles - A Visit to Ashley Iles pt. 2: Grindingplay video

Quantity in Cart: none
Code: IL-100-30.XX
 Set of 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1" and both skew chisels in a sturdy canvas chisel roll ($289.95) In Stock
1/16" wide ($47.95) Not available
(click here to Email Me When Available)
 1/8" wide ($45.95) In Stock
1/4" wide ($36.95) Not available
(click here to Email Me When Available)
 3/8" wide ($38.95) In Stock
 1/2" wide ($39.95) In Stock
 3/4" wide ($40.95) In Stock
1" wide ($45.95) Not available
(click here to Email Me When Available)
Pair of 1/4" Fishtail Skew Chisels ($89.90) Not available
(click here to Email Me When Available)
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  • Ashley Iles Edge Tools Ltd.

Round-back chisels are a traditional chisel profile historically found on larger sized chisels. The design died out in the late 19th century, as did many of the more specialized woodworking tools. Ashley Iles has resurrected the style in a light, nimble set designed for dovetailing. They are hand forged like carving tools, and ground by hand over an enormous wet grinding wheel at the Ashley Iles works in East Kirkby, England.

The half oval cross-section of the chisel has almost no side-edge for clearance while working right up into the corners of dovetails. Though light, the chisels have proper forged tangs and bolsters, with a bubinga handle that can be struck lightly with a mallet. The blade of the chisel is oil hardening high carbon O1 tool steel, which can be ground to a low angle for better penetration and more control. The chisels come ground with a 25 degree bevel angle, that require less force for the same depth of cut, and drifts less in the cut. For best performance, try to maintain this angle or just add a true micro-bevel of a few degrees for added strength.

The chisels have a very nice feel to them. Though they're strong enough for light malleting, they're ground thin enough so that they have that slight flex you find in top quality (although much longer) paring chisels. In addition to the four sizes of chisels, Ashley Iles has added a pair of left and right handed single bevel fishtail skew chisels for cleaning up the corners of a blind dovetail. The six piece set includes a canvas chisel roll. If you get the set, put some oiled, scrap, wadded up cloth in the base of the chisel roll pockets. This keeps the pockets open and the blades won't cut into the roll when inserting a chisel.

Because of the high demand for Ashley Iles Edge tools, and the limits their traditional methods of manufacture put on volume production, we are rarely in stock on all sizes of chisel at the same time.
Ashley Iles Round Back Dovetail chisels and skews 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.

Customer Reviews:for an average rating of:
Very disappointed
By: Dario J Carafa (Dec, 2021)
I purchased these about a year ago and due to unforeseen circumstances I will unable to open them until recently and I was pretty shocked. The chisel itself in the handle don't meet there's gaps the 16th in chisel is crazy crooked there's big dents taken out of the 3/8 in chisel and the tangs are all over the place in the handle nothing is straight it looked like it came from China and was thrown together as quick as possible certainly not worth the price.
I own this product.
Perfect for “bow-ties”
By: Brian Moran (Mar, 2019)
I’ve completed a few live edge tables for family using walnut and oak slabs with “character.” Stabilizing cracks and imperfections with epoxy, I’ve added “bow-ties” for visual effect. Cutting in smaller pieces required chisels designed for intricate hand work. This set was perfect. I find myself reaching for these more and more. A very nice product from Ashley Iles
I own this product.
Mine experience is a bit different
By: David Germeroth (Dec, 2017)
In white oak, the edge retention isn't what i'd expect. Perhaps it will improve after several sharpenings and if it does i'll report back.
I own this product.
Pretty good for the money
By: Mike Ramsey (May, 2017)
I picked up the set with 4 paring chisels and the 2 fishtail chisels. I'm going to separate the two because I have a bit different opinion of the fishtails than I have of the others. Let me start off with the paring chisels. They are fantastic. If I was just reviewing them I'd give them 5 stars all day long. They come nearly ready to use right out of the box. I ran a few passes with them on my strop and they were shaving arm hairs. The edge retension is superior to my A2 bench chisels of another brand. When I was dovetailing with my bench chisels I had to resharpen every corner. With these chisels I'm sharpening every 4 corners. Great chisels. Now onto the fishtails. Just like the paring chisels they come almost ready to use. A few passes on the strop and they were ready to go. Now to the bad. I think the shank is a bit too narrow. When you're paring end grain they felt flimsy like they could snap at any moment. The way they are ground leaves a very fragile tip and I end up breaking both corners off almost immediately . After regrinding them that problem seems to have gone away. If I had it to do over again I think I'd go with a set of skews that look like a more traditional bench chisel rather than the fishtail design. Overall though I think these are a fine set of tools.
I own this product.
Round Back Dovetail 6 Piece Chisel Set
By: Ray G (May, 2017)
A great set but did take some work to flatten the back on the 1" and 1/2". Once honed though these worked great for dovetails and delicate work. Like others said would strictly use them for pairing work.
I own this product.
Great Chisels
By: Adam (Apr, 2017)
Finally! After purchasing the 3/8 and 1/16 I was extremely happy with these Chisels. I checked back here almost daily for over a year trying to get a 1/4 and 1 inch size. I had to order some shellac and decided to look again and BAM! There they are. If you want a great parring chisel I recommend these for sure but get them quick while they are in stock!
I own this product.
Excellent Parring and Dovetail Chisels
By: Adam Welker (Mar, 2016)
These inexpensive chisels are well made, very light, and the steel is excellent. The entire back of my 1/2 inch chisel polished to a mirror surface with very little work. The back of the blade had the slightest hollow that made honing super easy. I will say that the 1/16 inch chisel is a metric equivalent but, if you are that picky, it takes less than a minute to grind it down to a perfect 1/16 on a coarse water stone or diamond plate. I own at least 4 sets of other makers premium chisels and I reach for these little, lightweight jewels the most. Especially for fine Parring work and dovetails. If tfww ever gets more in stock!!! I will complete the set.
I own this product.
1/16 wide Roundback Chisel Review
By: Marty Backe (Dec, 2015)
I recently purchased this small chisel because I needed a very small detailing chisel. The fit and finish is nice and the tool steel is good (from my personal experience). However, if you are looking to buy this because you need a 1/16" chisel, you should know that it's actually 3/32";. I assumed that there would be some metric rounding, but this is not even close to 1/16". Because of that I am disappointed in the purchase. Tools For Working Wood should correct the description.
I own this product.
What I was looking for
By: Jeffery Oliver (Dec, 2015)
At long last, a bench chisel I can appreciate! I have had Marples, Sorby, and the Ashley Isles American pattern bench chisels. I have not done a lot of heavy "bashing" type work - I primarily cut dovetails, dados, and trim mortices and tenons (with this class of chisels). Theses chisels are light and agile - it has always been an issue of mine that all of the other chisels that I had used felt too cumbersome. The only issue that I have had with these chisels is remembering to hone a microbevel - a straight 25 degree edge seems to crumble too quickl...
I own this product.
Great paring chisel
By: Mike H. (Nov, 2014)
I have the 1/2" chisel for cleaning up between the tails. I like it because it is thin enough to fit into a very narrow opening that even a 1/4 bench chisel will not. It sharpens up nicely and cuts great. The blade is flexible but strong. I consider it a paring chisel and would never strike it with a mallet. I just wish it included a plastic edge guard for storage.
I own this product.
Excellent Chisels
By: Doug F. (Aug, 2013)
These are amazing chisels at an amazing price. I have the 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, 1 and a set of skew chisels. They are all wonderfully comfortable in the hand and perfect for dovetails and other paring work. They take an edge quickly and hold their edge well. The 1/8 and 1/4 I would NEVER hit with a mallet because they're just too thin, but the others I have lightly tapped with no evil consequences. I find a reason to use these over my bench chisels. Highly recommended.
I own this product.
A Very Good Paring Chisel...An Ideal Tool for Luthiers
By: Todd Stock (Jun, 2013)
As a luthier, most chisel work is paring cuts in anything from spruce to ebony...the Ashley Ilses do a fine job of it...even at the shallow bevel angles I use. From the light, slightly flexible, beautifully radiused and tapered blade to the well-shaped, unlabeled handle, these chisels almost purpose made for instrument builders. The only frustration I have with the tool is that Joel is out of stock on the 1/4" size...
I own this product.
Round Back Dovetail chisels - fantastic tool at a fair price
By: Randy Clements (Mar, 2013)
They are extraordinary. So sharp, so nimble. Wouldn't want to really WHALLOP these, they are a bit more delicate, but I love the way they work for dovetails. They pare excellently. Can get right down into the corner as the edges are tapered down to the back. I have the 1/4" and 3/8" sizes and they are fantastic. I think I may get one or two more to fill out a set.
I own this product.

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