Ashley Iles Mk.2 Butt Chisels

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    This is my Easter present from me. I have small hands, and for every day work they suit me down to the ground. A little info on them……….


    These beautifully hand ground English chisels are perfectly designed for very accurate chopping work.

    With the heel of your hand resting on the bench and the neck of the chisel gripped lightly between thumb and forefinger, you can place a cutting edge of the chisel with absolute precision and tap it to the required depth with a small mallet.

    The compact size is perfect for chopping because you can keep both the cutting edge and the end of the handle in your field of vision at the same time. It also makes them very handy for reaching into spaces that other chisels can’t reach.

    Forged from O1 high carbon tool steel, the blades are accurately heat treated to RC60-61 right through to the shoulder to ensure a long working life.

    The backs of the blades are intentionally lapped a couple of thou hollow in the length so that the underside of the cutting edge can be polished in isolation. The degree of concavity is small enough not to affect the accuracy of the tool and should be maintained throughout its life.

    The handles are turned from Bubinga in two sizes with most of the mass at the top, this makes them top heavy and therefore more sensitive when feeling for plumb (a similar principle applies with traditional English mortice chisels).

    Like all Ashley Iles tools, the Mk2 butt chisels (also known as American pattern bevel edge chisels) are unconditionally guaranteed for the duration of the purchaser’s life.

    The set of 6 Ashley Iles Butt Chisels includes:

    • 1/8″ (3mm)
    • 1/4″ (6mm)
    • 3/8″ (9mm)
    • 1/2″ (13mm)
    • 3/4″ (19mm)
    • 1″ (25mm)

    Ken, Those Ashley Iles Butt Chisels look like they will be great, especially for chopping and mallet work.  I definitely see some butt chisels in my future.   Do you plan to get some additional paring chisels with a longer reach?

    Robin HC

    Robin ... Richmond, Virginia, USA


    Robin, I have a set of Ashley Iles dovetail chisels which I use for paring also. I don’t know if I would need any long dedicated paring chisels. Do you recommend them ?





    I don’t have any paring chisels as such, but I bought all my 8th chisels (3/8,5/8,7/8) from Shopfox. I didn’t know it when I ordered them, but it turns out they are longer (both handle & blade) than my Narex chisels.  Every once in a while, I want to pare deeper than my Narex chisels can reach. Thats when I usually reach for the 7/8 Shopfox.

    I might eventually buy a proper paring chisel and replace my Shopfox 8ths with Narex.

    Robin HC

    Robin ... Richmond, Virginia, USA


    I’ve long admired the fit and finish of Ashley Isles chisels. The bevels are finely ground, I’ve read that steel is great and the price is reasonable for a fine chisel. The only negative I have ever read is that the ferrules sometimes become loose in less humid climates (like where I live).

    May they serve you well.

    -Scott Los Angeles


    Those look real nice Ken.  Iles makes some good stuff.  I own one of the mortise chisels.



    Texas, USA


    Hi All


    Just got all 11 of the AI MK11 Butt Chisels (don’t tell the wife :)), and they can be used for parring work.  In addition I did not need to do much flattening of the backs as they are pretty much there already.  The hold an edge so you will be supprised there, especially if you old ones didnt keep a keen edge for that long.  Like me I am sure that you will enjoy them and trust me they are a pleasure to work with.

    Paul Sellers

    I think that it’s a good idea to check out any chisel before buying different types or more expensive chisels. Butt chisels are quite a step away from other more conventional chisels and may not suit you or the more general tasks chisels are used for. How you try out chisels i am not too sure. I have found considerable difference within the range of Sorby chisels I have been testing out, even though they might all be termed conventional. The biggest difference has been to diameter differences in the handles and the weight of the plastic handles compared to the wooden ones. Of the three sets, I actually tend toward the plastic handles, which seem to me to have the ideal balance. Not at all what I would have thought, but I love them. So, I say this to point out that what might suit one person may not suit another and what may suit one task may not suit another.


    I do not own any Ashley Isles chisels but have heard nothing but good about them.  Most of my chisels are Vintage, Witherby’s, Buck Brothers, James Swan.  I do own an older set of Marple’s chisel which are very good but the way I sweat the plastic handles make it hard for me to hold on to them

    I did splurge and bought one of LV PMV 11 chisel’s and I must say what a great chisel, pricey yes but they hold an edge for a very long time.



    Steve Massie, I live in the great State of Florida, US


    Those look like a very nice set of chisels Ken and definitely well worth trying out.  Ashley Iles certainly produce some lovely tools.  I tend to use butt chisels (Well worn bevel edged chisels in my case) when chopping shallow housings for hinges, etc., as I feel they provide a little more control in the cut, but typically opt for longer bladed chisels for most of my other work.

    I definitely fall in the same camp as Paul regarding the need to test drive fresh chisel types – as well as other tools – before investing heavily into them, as some fall into the hand more comfortably than others and such a great deal depends upon personal preference.

    Gary Hodgin

    I’ve thought about a set of the AI butt chisels. I have the roundback dovetail chisels and like them. I have small hands and butt chisels would probably be well suited. In fact, I have a set of butt chisels but these things are too small and I can’t get them to hold an edge at all. I think they’re made by Crown but they have the name of the woodworking store in Ohio I ordered them from. Need to sell them and get a few of the AIs.


    I have a set of Mifer chisels I bought years ago and didn’t think much of them until I really flattened the backs and sharpened them up.

    Turns out the problem was me , not the chisels 🙂

    Last year I purchased a set of the AI “American Pattern ” butt chisels for two reasons:

    1. I have small hands and a desk job

    2. I have two grandsons and I thought the shorter size would be more managable for them….and me too.

    They’re excellent, easy to flatten backs and so far hold an edge well and they’re perfect for the boys.

    I use them mostly for chopping small dovetails and other detail stuff, but for general use –not so much.. not enough length for paring and I find myself reaching for the full size chisels more and more.

    I think the next set will be the full sized AI chisels…..yeh, Like I “need” another set.

    If I were just getting started I’d go for the Narex..quality and economy.


    SW Pennsylvania

    David Gill

    Hi Gary

    Welcome back I thought we had lost you


    Wigan, Lancs. England :

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