Alpkit
  • Gilles 6 Piece Carving Set.



    Introduction


    I am rather fond of cutting tools all types and like to have different sets of tools for different tasks, rather than grabbing a gouge from here and an axe from there. Running various courses to also much easier to manage my time and keep track of kit.

    With Christmas just around the corner it's time to turn my attention to craft items I can sell. Not too many folk booking Bushcraft courses in December. Rather than the usual primitive projectiles Christmas is a time of family and friendship. What symbolises the spirit of peace and good will more than a Fan Bird. They are very traditional gifts at this time of year originating from Eastern Europe where so many traditional craft skills still flourish. So after making 5 or 6 birds using various tools in my collection I decided I wanted a dedicated Fan bird tool roll.
    I had been using my Flex Cut Carving Tools and my Pfiel gouges. All very good tools but not really perfect for my Fan birds.

    The internet can be an expensive shop window. I looked at Dave Budd, Nic Westermann and several other quality tool makers for inspiration then on Facebook I spotted a comment on the Gilles spoon Carving Set. A couple of Clicks later and I have purchased a promising looking lot of 6 carving tools from EBay.

    Manufacturers Description.

    6 piece wood carving tool set. High quality handmade wood carving tools suitable for both professionals and beginners. Each tool is made from spring steel 60S2A (Russian steel - 65G), thermally hardened, the edges are sharpened with abrasive paste and finished with leather. All this guarantee a long life of the item. Palm handle is made from hardwood, stained, is not slick and sits comfortable in the hand. The tools are delivered in a stable thick carton box. The length of the item is approx. 15-16 cm. After the tempering process the steel reaches a hardness of HRC 57-58 .

    Review Body

    Buying from EBay is almost too simple click and you have paid the 69.99 including free tracked postage from Lithuania. I was sent a tracking number and had good communication from the maker.



    I'm all excited to receive my early Christmas present to myself.



    Carving tools packed for postage in a stout cardboard box with helpful warning signs that sharps are to be discovered within.



    First impressions pretty good. The range of blade size was what I was after and the tools look like they come with an edge.

    The handles are simply attached to the blades nothing special but certainly not tool shabby.



    After preparing a billet out of some fairly seasoned less than premium Ash I got to work with the angled knife blade. I used it a little like a Skew to shape the end of the feathers and cut the Vee Slot. This will allow the feathers once split to inter lock nicely.

    I started the cut with a Laplander cutting about 3mm before switching to my new tool. I'm starting to really like these blades. It's fairly sharp straight out of the box. The bevel enables me to blend the shape I'm looking for in this hard piece of wood pretty quickly. The blade achieves a nice smooth cut.



    A close up on the larger Vee gouge blade. It cuts well once I get the angle right easier than my flex cut.



    Not all birds want to have sharp angles on their wings. Cutting a uniform curved section was one of the more time consuming tasks using the Flex cuts as I didn't have just the right size or angled blade. The Gilles Gouge was a pleasure to use creating a lovely crisp cutting sound as it sliced through the wood. The surface finish shows that the tool is proper sharp straight from Lithuania




    The widest blade in the set proved useful for rough shaping the wings and the body of the bird.



    Detailing the feathers helps to make them a little more decorative.


    Pros
    Fast Delivery from Lithuania within the EU.
    Relatively inexpensive
    Nice range of tools
    Sharp out of the box


    Cons
    Not as refined as some of my tools.
    Cheap handles


    Conclusion

    I wasnt expecting much from 6 cutting tools for 69.99 after all my Lee Stoffer Spoon Scorp retails at 125.00. However I was pleasantly surprised the cutting tools cut efficiently with nice clean curls being produced, the bevel angles are even and the edges are nicely polished. The edge appears more durable than my Ben Orford carving tools at a third of the price. I have yet to give them a really good polish to see if I can get them as close to scary sharp as possible but for now having carved 5 more Fan birds using them I can say that it was a good investment. I will have to take a closer look at their other tools. I may choose later on to rehandle the blades with a smoother more attractive handles but for now they are perfectly adequate.

    Rating
    Ratings are out of 5, 1 being bad and 5 being the best

    Fit for Purpose - 5/5

    Versatility - 4/5

    Durability - 5/5

    Value for money - 5/5 Pricing 69.99 EBay with free postage.


    Overall - 5/5



    Carved using just the tools in the set. Finished with some Abranet.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Macaroon's Avatar
      Macaroon -
      Sounds like a really nice deal for 70, that's just 7 per tool to carve the piece you show - very good value in my book. Thanks for the review
    1. Robson Valley's Avatar
      Robson Valley -
      Steel value for the money is as good as it gets.
      What do you think of the handles shapes in the hand and the risk of rolling around on the bench? Stable?
    1. Wayne's Avatar
      Wayne -
      Quote Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
      Steel value for the money is as good as it gets.
      What do you think of the handles shapes in the hand and the risk of rolling around on the bench? Stable?
      The handles fit fairly well in my chubby paws. Didn't cause any hot spots.

      The round palm handles could potentially roll off a bench but because the tool blades are fairly chunky I found them stable enough. The small Vee tool could roll but I'm fairly paranoid about damaging the edges. I used the set again today and once again I think they offer excellent value for money.
    1. Robson Valley's Avatar
      Robson Valley -
      Bummer. 2 sets, both sold. Hope there's more to come. Thanks for the careful review, makes carving sense.
      I know that Narex (CZ) has made carving tools but very hard to find. I have a couple pairs of their skews, wonderful steel..
    1. milius2's Avatar
      milius2 -
      That's a great find! Many professional woodworkers use these in their workshop and the maker is well known in Lithuania. Actually it's a family thing and they are doing a great job for the price! The steel is excellent and tools come razor sharp. Have a set of these myself.

      Not to mention that they make all sorts of draw knives and other tools too