For more information on the gouge, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.

The Ashley Iles gouge I suggested for UK spoon makers following my videos on spoon carving are out of stock and it seems that it’s a multi-week waiting list if you do order one. I think that companies will take preorders and this has happened because of a blog post we did almost a year ago because you cannot get the Hirsch #7 sweep 36-38mm (1 1/2”) gouge here in the UK. It’s a shame and I am sorry it’s happened that you can’t get them, but these are not the only maker of good gouges. The supplier companies should be telling you very directly that the tool is backordered or at least what the status is right off the bat without you having to contact them to find out the status. Of course I suppose they don’t want to lose the  orders, but I think you should be aware of this if you are indeed buying stock they don’t have. I thought you might try searching from the premium European makers like Stubai or Pfeil Swiss. I have used their carving tools over the past two decades and can recommend them. Stubai 40mm #7 straight gouge equals the other gouges I have recommended and you can get these from Tiranti here in the UK if you want a UK supplier. The gouge shown will be excellent for spoon carving and you can see me teaching spoon carving with the Hirsch gouge here.


  1. Martyn Chick on 15 February 2014 at 7:49 pm

    I waited 3 or 4 weeks for my Ashley lles which I purchased days after I watch your video, well worth the wait compared to a very cheap faithful gouge I did have. Luckily I was in the middle of a big project at the time and didn’t notice the wait!

  2. Paul Reichert on 15 February 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Hello Paul,

    I looked for these chisels in germany and found that Wilh. Schmitt in Wuppertal the owner of the Kirschen or two cherries Brand has the same numbering scheme and the chisels looks similar.
    I think their chisels and gouges are very similar because Schmitt bought the manufacturer of Hirsch chisels Gebr. Busch. They have a UK reseller on their website The UK reseller mentioned there is called axminster.

    Kind regards from germany


  3. Erland on 16 February 2014 at 7:11 am

    A Pfeil gouge is also a good buy, it is cheaper and more easy to get than Hirsch / kirschen / stubai.
    The quality is just right for the price and… its Swiss made!
    I have a good experience with them.

  4. Gareth Martin on 16 February 2014 at 11:53 am

    I love ’em to death but Rutlands frequently sell items they don’t have in stock. On enquiry they direct you to the small print. Having said that, they don’t take your money till dispatched.

  5. Joe Charles Eley on 16 February 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I have a Swiss made in that size. It seems to be holding up very well although the outside face isn’t as polished as I’d like. Over all a great feeling tool.

  6. Jason on 17 February 2014 at 2:42 am

    Hi Paul, I have a set of carving gouges that were a hand-me-down from a relative. They seem of relatively good quality, but I have a real hard time sharpening them. I have scoured the internet and still am a bit clueless. Your videos on plane and chisel sharpening have made my work exponentially better (and faster) an would love some advice on gouge maintenance.

    All the best

  7. Editorial Pages on 17 February 2014 at 6:50 am

    Lee Valley has some good gouges. I ordered Paul’s little knife from Britain to Canada and it is a great little marking knife. . . better than what I had but I fear it will be sold out too!

  8. neil on 17 February 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I don’t know if any of you have visited Ashley Iles. I am fortunate and only live less than five miles form the factory, which is quite handy. I will be honest Ashley Iles are not the biggest company in fact they are quite small, I would guess less than a dozen staff. So if a successful web site or blogger makes a recommendation for one of their tools there is bound to be a limit of the stock that they carry of a chisel that sells usually at a predictable rate year in year out were as Draper, Stanley, Faithful, Sorby could absorb it without batting an eye lid.

    But what they make is by HAND in their own works in Lincolnshire England. No big manufacturing facility with huge machines and No cheap far East imports. Each tool made by a man using his hands at a bench. But there they are competing with the big boys and doing a fine job with a world class reputation for quality.
    I believe in British Made tools being the best. I appreciate something that is hand made, I guess you guys do to or you would not be here.

    Ashley Iles have faith in their work. Send them your blunted chipped chisel and the will regrind it and sharpen it for a £1 and that includes the return postage further more if you break one of their tools they will replace it free and forever.

    In fact that is what got me first into using Ashley Iles chisels, a few years ago I bust a gouge tip very badly on a hidden hunk of metal in a log I was turning. I had bought the gouge second hand and it was OLD, very old. I sent it to Ashley Iles for regrinding with a note about the tool being second hand and could they regrind it at my cost. To my surprise, a few days latter I received a brand new gouge free of charge with a letter of apology. Not only for the tool breaking but also for the new one being made from the new style steel and not the old carbon steel however if I wanted they would make me a one off gouge out of carbon steel. I can not help thinking Faithful and the like may not have have done the same.

    • Paul Sellers on 17 February 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Hello Neil,
      I agree that buying local is good. It brings things to pass that support local economies regardless of which country we live in and I support that as much as possible. I don’t necessarily agree that British craftsmanship is best of all. I do think that in most countries where they had a good reputation for skilled work and good products in the past, I find all too often that they live on the reputation of the originators. I like the thought of encouraging local businesses if they produce good products. Many British manufacturers disappoint me time and time again I am afraid. I do support manufacturers in the every day of life wherever possible. I have learned that almost every country has industry that is the very good. German engineering, Canadian entrepreneurialism, American ingenuity. Britain once had the same proud claims all of these countries did. Some companies still exist and certainly craftsmanship can still be found. One day I will visit Ashley Iles and see their workmanship first hand. Having used Pfeil, Swiss, Taylor and many more makers of fine tools, I am glad there are choices for people pick from. I can recommend them all.

  9. fiddlerjon on 18 February 2014 at 8:40 pm

    yes, Neil – a great company: I ordered mine through Workshop Heaven before Xmas, and this week it arrived – and very happy with it, am I too! I also own some Ashley Iles dovetail chisels, too. Beautifully made. I cannot recommend them enough.

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