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.
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 .
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.
Ø Fast Delivery from Lithuania within the EU.
Ø Relatively inexpensive
Ø Nice range of tools
Ø Sharp out of the box
Ø Not as refined as some of my tools.
Ø Cheap handles
I wasn’t 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.
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.