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Allongee to Fishtail

Mostly, we use 'regular', parallel-sided carving tools. But actually, important changes to the longitudinal shape give rise to a range of lighter carving tools that are actually quite an ancient design with a lot going for them.

Here is an overview of allongee and fishtail profiles, and where they'll come in very handy.


| 29 January 2021 17:08

Joseph - Sorry, I have no idea. You'll have to ask your distributor.
I'm glad to hear you like the allongee style gouges. This splayed form really is the original shape of all chisels, resulting naturally as tools are forged; they just feel so good to use.

| 29 January 2021 00:42

Any word on when the Auriou fishtail will be available in the U.S.? I love my Allongee Auriou gouges.

| 20 September 2015 02:47

Thanks, Chris. I'm planning to put my first carving in the gallery soon. Trying a finishing technique on it that was in a Nora Hall book I have. Danish oil and a couple of coats of wax, one clear, one light brown.

I've been taking lessons one night a week since January. Didn't touch wood until mid February. I had to learn to sharpen first before doing anything with wood. My teacher is 79 and has been carving since age 12 when he went into the apprentice system. It's a very traditional or perhaps old world teaching method he has.

I'm almost done with my second carving now and overcame many of the mistakes I made in my first. I'm having the time of my life carving and wish I had discovered it much sooner in life. My goal is to be able to do architectural and decorative carving.

| 12 September 2015 18:00

Ryan - What you say about fishtails is exactly right. Fishtails come into their own in light, detailed work. Many carvers, including myself, do all the rough work with regular, parallel-sided gouges and switch to fishtails for the later, more finishing stages. Best of luck with your carving - sounds very interesting.

| 11 September 2015 12:47

My instructor carves Iconostasis for churches and has hundreds of gouges, almost all are fishtail. He even has a specially made v-tool that is a fishtail.

I don't have nearly that many, but am mostly buying fishtails myself. They have a lot more functionality for the style of carving I'm doing and plan to do. I like the extra visibility and clearance they offer over straight gouges.

| 17 October 2014 12:36

I wasn't aware of these chisels, but seeing them one can almost feel the history of chisel making. The fishtail would be the easiest for a blacksmith to make and I shall have to try my hand at it. The allongee I would think to be the hardest chisel of all to make and it would seem to be the last to be developed. After watching your videos using these chisels, it is very plain to see the value of these types. I really think weight is not a problem as anyone doing this for long develops a very strong set of muscles. (Experience in stone sculpture here, it's the mallet that's heaviest)
I get a good chuckle thinking about you trying to get the chisel world to manufacture 15 degree chisels. It would be like getting the bicycle world to standardize wheel sizes. Now that's a mess!

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