Thursday, February 18, 2010

Omissions and Revelations

OK. So recently I was given quite a brow beating via e-mails and comments regarding some hand tools that in my opinion stand out from the rest of the pack. There were several, what about this saw, or this plane, and a couple of particular chisel brands that were blatantly omitted. so let me clear a couple of things up. I did recommend the Veritas saws, but did not elaborate the fact that they perform as well as most of the premium name saws at half the price In fact, I often recommend them to my students. Now Adria, Lynx and Garlick saws all performed well, but not quite as well as my Lie Nielson. The Wenzloff saw I tried did not cut like my LN saw, but I have been told that they will put any rake, set or fleam I want , so I could probably get a saw from them that would kill mine.

I did not however have a Grammercy saw when I made my suggestions, but if you know enough wood workers someone will probably have one, as luck would have it I was able to sample one.
I must say that it is a curious saw, very light in weight with one of the best grips ever!
I am not a fan of fine teeth, but this one was still very aggressive and impressive.
I have been thinking of getting a second dovetail saw lately, and this may well be the ticket!

Now the revelation! One of my blog followers asked " why not Ashley Isles chisels ". To be honest I had only become aware of AI in the last six months or so, and it was through a Christopher Schwarz review. I also got several e-mails asking the same. OK, OK enough I said, so I managed to secure a set of their round back dovetail chisels.

Ever have one of those " How did I not know" moments? Yeah, every time I pick up an AI dovetail chisel I can't figure out how I did without! First off they are beautiful to look at with the awesome Bubinga handles. ( my favorite wood ) They reek of precision, and are very light with phenomenal balance. I have never pared any joint with the accuracy and control that these allow. Truly the best chisels I have in my arsenal.( still keeping my Sorby's though )

So apparently it's in the steel! While all the buzz is in A2 tool steel, which gets as sharp as sharp can be, they are difficult and time consuming to sharpen. And we all love endless wasted time sharpening, don't we? The Ashley Isles chisels are 01 oil hardened steel. What does that mean?
It means the steel is just a little softer than A2, so they sharpen and hone considerably faster and can be ground to angles more suited to paring operations. ( think low angle block plane)

I am listening to what you are telling me (you know who you are ) or I would have never even considered to try the Ashley Isles, and to boot they are very well priced. Now there is only one problem left. Where am I going to get the cake to replace my existing chisels ( 53 and counting) with AI stuff, which are available through Tools for Working Wood.

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