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Tools for Working Wood
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About Ashley Iles (Edge Tools) Ltd

Carving Tools

Ashley Iles at the forge - 1952
Ashley Iles at the forge - 1952
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. We sell lots of his tools too ( click here) and some of his other tools. Thanks to the quality of Ashley Iles wood carving and wood turning tools, this small firm enjoys an international reputation.

Ashley Iles offers an amazing range of tools, most traditional, some based on new innovations by master carvers such as Chris Pye and Ray Gonzalez . They also offer American Palm Cutting Tools (also known as Block Cutting Tools) - gouges, V tools and chisels at about half the length of their standard blades and perfect for small or delicate work. .All are made to the highest standard of workmanship.

As a family run business as often as not when you call Barry and Tony will be out on the factory floor attending to one detail or another. At English woodworking shows customers are continually amazed that the salesman taking the orders (usually Barry) not only is a director of the company show but is fully capable of personally forging and grinding any of the tools made by the firm.

Shipped sharp:

All Ashley Iles tools are shipped sharp and ready to use. In addition the factory is happy to resharpen and recondition any tool as long as you pay postage. Please email the factory directly for details

Turning Tools

Tony Iles grinding a tuning gouge - 2004
Tony Iles grinding a tuning gouge - 2004
Ashley Iles made a reputation early on as one of the best makers of carving tools around so it was only natural that they would be asked to also make turning tools. Tony Iles is a woodturner himself and has been running the turning part of the business since it began in the 1970's. As he notes, " I feel my early struggles while turning are of benefit to me now, as I have had the problems that my customers come to me with, and it is better to be able to relate than preach someone else's gospel." Ashley Iles works with some of the world's most celebrated turners to develop improved and specialty tools to address your most particular turning tool needs. Following the motto of the company "Hand tools in the Old tradition" to this day Tony personally hand - finishes every Ashley Iles turning tool made.

Like the range of carving tool the range of turning tools is large and comprehensive. Ashley Iles turning tools are some of the heaviest currently made. We think you will enjoy their heft, feel and finish. These tools are all made of High Speed Steel (HSS), which can stand up to the abrasion and heat of woodturning, especially on a modern powered lathe, far better than carbon steel. HSS's edge retention is markedly better - some say up to 10 times better. Its resistance to heat reduces the danger of accidentally drawing the temper when grinding. High Speed Steel, as its name promises, allows the work to be run very fast without the tool losing its edge. The company also makes a complete line in carbon steel which we will stock by special order.

All the turning tools we currently stock are sold handled. We know tons of turners love to make their own handles, but the actual cost of a handled tool is only slightly more and it means you can start using them right away. You can of course still change the handle and as we grow the department, we will include unhandled tools as well.

All tools guaranteed for life.

Stock information:

At last count our system listed over 600 Ashley Iles carving tools and over 100 turning tools. We try to carry a decent selection in stock in our warehouse in New York. However it's basically impossible to do that. We therefore have one of three inventory conditions listed next to each item in the catalog.

  1. In stock:

    Which means we have them sitting in our warehouse here for immediate delivery.
  2. Out of Stock:

    Which means we normally stock them in New York but we happen to be out of stock at the moment. WE are willing to take a backorder but factory production is hard to predict. You can cancel at any time.
  3. Special Order:

    Which means we don't normally stock the tool in New York, but for turning tools if you place an order we will add the tool to our regular order and should have it in hand in 6-10 weeks. Special orders for carving tools are also possible but take much longer.

If you place a order for any tool that is out of stock or is a special order you will not be billed until we actually ship the tool. We also ship partial shipments so if you order a bunch of tools and one is out of stock the rest of the order will not be held up. Of course occasionally errors turn up on the computer inventory but if something is marked in stock and we don't have it we will certainly email you to make you aware of the situation.

Custom orders:

Because the factory manufactures such a large variety of shapes and sizes, most orders, even for stock items are made to order. Consequently minor variations to suit specific customers are easy to do and can be done without a premium. However the carving tools have been so well received that the factory is months behind on special orders. Please email us for any special requirements and we will be happy to quote price and delivery.

For a comparison between Two Cherries and Ashley Iles carving tools click here.
For a guide to carving tool nomenclature click here.
To order our Ashley Iles tools click here.