It is not the job of a retailer to make exhaustive comparisons between brands. We can, however, tell you factual differences between our two major lines of carving tools.
In general, we can say that it is rare for a customer to be disappointed with either brand. Both brands are of professional quality and the differences are mostly stylistic. You should pick the tool which suits you.
|Click link to view the tools by brand:||Ashley Iles||Two Cherries (Kirschen)|
Both companies are family owned and operated.
|Steel:||Both companies use high grade carbon steel, hardened to about Rc 61.|
|Section:||Thick. Ashley Iles carving tools are designed for use in the English carving tradition. The tools are heavy for carving with mallets hardwoods such as maple, oak, and walnut. The company guarantees their tools for life and these tools are designed to take heavy use.||Thinner. In the German tradition most carving is done in softer woods such as Linden and basswood. They are usually ground to a shallower angle then the English tools.|
|Sweep:||Follows the traditional Sheffield sweep chart used by most of the English companies since the mid 19th century||European sweeps are typically one step shallower then the English sweep. For example, a #5 sweep English gouge will have the same curvature as a #6 German gouge.|
|Sharpness:||Shipped sharp and ready to use. The factory will be happy to resharpen any of their carving tools as long as you pay postage both ways to and from the factory in England.||Shipped
ground, with a reasonable edge.
Free initial sharpening is available on some sets. All pear handled tools are sharpened in-house so that they are ready to use.
|Overall Selection:||A full line of hundreds of styles and sizes. The factory is also happy to do custom work, and Barry Iles has remarked that as every carving tool is hand made anyway, custom changes are usually no trouble and very cost effective. Our catalogue lists the entire range.||A full line of hundreds of styles and sizes. Our catalog lists the entire range imported in the US. The full factory line is slightly larger and we are happy to special order anything for you.|
|Palm Tools:||A full range of "American" or palm handled tools. Also includes some special shapes.||A recently introduced huge range of pear handled tools. They come from the factory ground and we sharpen them in-house so that they are ready to use.|
|Chip Carving Tools:||Not made at this time.||A full range available as a set of individually.|
|Micro carving tools:||A full range available as the narrower sizes of full-sized tools. Also available with palm handles.||A nice range of tools available as a set of individually. Short smaller handles in proportion to the tool size.|
|Micro carving knives:||Not made at this time.||A small range available as a set or individually.|
|"Small" sized carving tools:||Stocked at factory, available as special order. On average the blade is 1" shorter and 1/3 thinner. Handles are the same as full sized tools. We do not list these in our on-line catalog, please e-mail or call for details.||Originally called "ladies' tools." Some carvers find tools of this size to be very useful for detailed and smaller work. A fairly wide range of tools is available at a lower cost then similar full sized tools.|
|Sets of full sized tools:||There are both pros and cons for starting out with a set of specific tools. The "York" set of 6 tools is a very popular starting point for many carvers. You can also buy larger sets of 12, 18, or 24 tools or start with a your set and add on as appropriate||There are both pros and cons for starting out with a set of specific tools. Two sets are available - of 6 and 12 tools. Larger sets can be assembled on application.|
|Handles:||Traditional round, English Beech handles.||Traditional octagonal, Hornbeam handles.|
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