Ray Iles Inshave

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RobNichols

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I have a small collection of inshaves/scorps built up over the last few months.

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The first one was a cheap Chinese tool bought from ebay, that I haven't had any success with. It just doesn't cut very well. It's the middle inshave in the picture above. IMO even as cheap as it was, it was a waste of money.

Then I bought an old secondhand inshave on ebay (bottom tool in photo) and that was a revelation. It cuts really well and is a pleasure to use. My only issue with it is it is small and light weight, so great for tidying up small changes in shape, but I wanted something I'd feel more comfortable with making bigger cuts.

So a month of so ago, I decided to treat myself to a new one. I was really impressed with Woodsmith UK's YouTube video describing the differences between a number of drawkinves:



A quick peruse on their website took me to just the sort of thing I was looking for: Ray Iles Scorp / Inshave. I chose the options to include a leather sheath and to have the tool honed (I wanted to start with a tool in a ready to use condition so I'd know what to aim for when I resharpened it).

I'm really pleased with the Ray Iles Inshave (top tool in the photo above). It is so easy to use and cuts really well and predictably. The service from Woodsmith was excellent and I'll happily use them again.

I've used the inshave to help carve out the top of a chair seat that I'm currently working on. It has worked a treat. I was able to use it together with my old inshave (shown in the photo below) to do most of the carving and have thoroughly enjoyed the process.

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It's definitely a tool I'd recommend.

I've recently been on a trip to York, and while there visited the Jorvik centre and while there spotted this:

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Ah! I know what that is. I find the history of woodworking very interesting so it was a great pleasure to realise that I was currently working with a tool with such a long usage.
 
I'd love to know how a bodger, a highly skilled chairmaker from tree to chair became a term for a builder or such completing shoddy or questionable workmanship
I'd hazard a guess that it happened sometime after/during the first industrial revolution. But before the industrialisation of furniture making. Large numbers of people moving into expanding towns and cities to work in the mills. The skilled makers couldn't meet the demand for chairs and other items. 'bodger' was ready-made term, many probably would not have known of the real meaning of the term.
 
Another happy Ray Iles inshave user here, I’ve bought a few bits off him over the years his place in Horncastle is well worth a visit such a knowledgeable chap.
 
my blades for the plough plane are ray isles and they are excellent quality steel, it doesn't get much better imo.
 
Another happy Ray Iles inshave user here, I’ve bought a few bits off him over the years his place in Horncastle is well worth a visit such a knowledgeable chap.
Yes I have some chisels, they are excellent. But I hadn’t realised he was just round the corner from me. Shall look into visiting next time I want something, maybe a scorp I really like the look of those.
Ian
 
Yes I have some chisels, they are excellent. But I hadn’t realised he was just round the corner from me. Shall look into visiting next time I want something, maybe a scorp I really like the look of those.
Ian
I’m lucky in that I’ve made very good friends of half a dozen makers local to Mid Lincolnshire so visit quite regularly they have taken me along to Ray at Horncastle & Ashley Iles down the road at East Kirkby, if you get lucky Ray might give you a guided tour of his machine shop it’s fascinating. I don’t know if Ashley Iles still do factory tours they used to & it’s well worth the effort of asking as it’s another great place to see.
a few photos of Ray‘s emporium





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Ray demonstrating his spoon scoop (I think 🤔)

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I visit Horncastle fairly often to see my sister but never noticed a tool emporium (in amongst all the antique shops) I’ve really been missing out!!
 
The Ashley Isles factory does regular tours for clubs etc. I’m not sure that individuals are entertained though. There’s only a few craftsmen there so it may be a bit disruptive. A fascinating place though. Top quality craftsmen in the old fashioned way. Highly recommended.
 
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