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  • Pfeil or Stubai?

    Hey Guys,

    I might be treading on dangerous ground by asking this question so if I inadvertently overstep forum rules I apologize in advance.

    I have been considering the Pfeil Professional Tool Set being offered by Woodcraft for $239.99. I also have been looking at the Stubai 55 carvers 12-piece set. Two of my questions are: one, which of these sets has the better selection of tools (by better I mean more useful or used tools); two, if you had to choose one or the other, which set would you choose?

    Finally, should I consider assembling my own set, &, if so, which brand would you guys recommend in terms of quality, durability, etc.?

    Thank you for your help as well as insight.

    Michael

  • #2
    Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

    Both brands are excellent tools however, I do not own either because of price. I would rather assemble my own set. I have several brand names and have my pros and cons on each brand. I have several sets of tools bought in sets. Some I use, some I don't. That is where the assembling you own set comes in.
    It also depends on what you plan on carving as to what to build on. Foe one, if you are planning on in the round,3d, hand holding, then the bigger tools would be cumbersome to use and plam sizes would be great for that. On the flip side, if you plan on bigger projects, the mallet and largers size tools are needed.
    If you plan on both then you tool selection would include both sizes.
    Hope I have helped.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

      You really can't go wrong with any of the big name tools: Ashley Illes, Stubai, Pfiel, Two Cherries. They are all good as far as durability and consistency.

      They all do have different profiles available, so that is one thing to keep in mind.
      Bob Duncan
      Technical Editor

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

        I agree with Bob and Kenny about the name brand tools. I have an assortment with probably a few more Swiss made (pfiel). The only reason for the more of one brand than the other is the cost. I got a good deal on the Swiss made tools of the size and type I wanted.

        Whatever you decide, I think you would be much better off to assemble your own set according to the style of carving you wish to pursue. Except for the really basic beginners set that Rick has put together, there seems to be a number of tools that just do not seem to fit the needs of individual carvers. When I first started carving, about 1980, I bought a set of tools. Used only 3-4 of the six and finally put the whole bunch in a storage box and started putting together my own set.

        Strictly my own opinion, but, I do not like the intermediate set offered by some brands. I use my palm tools and if I want something larger, I prefer to go up to the mallet size. I may or may not pound on them; but, that option is available.

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        • #5
          Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

          Very diplomatic Bob.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

            LOL...I've got to be diplomatic <GRIN>

            Actually, i've got a mix myself (Ashley Illes, Pfiel, Sorby, etc.). I really like my Ashley Illes because they are thicker than the Pfiel, Stubai, and Two Cherries. I like the heft. I know other people don't...so I try to be diplomatic.

            My favorite tool...as I've said before, is the Ashley Illes Hooked Skew...it is STILL the first tool I grab...from roughing out to fine details...

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            • #7
              Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

              Well - I grappled with this question (which tools and which brand) quite a bit over the last year and back in January decided to take the plunge and purchased about 24 Pfeil (aka Swiss Made) gouges from Woodcraft.

              I did quite a bit research and reading (Chris Pye especially) up on the various tools, asked TONS of questions and got TONS of thoughts and opinions from LOTS of different folks and the one conclusion I can firmly state that I reached is . . . (wait for it) . . . there is no shortage of thoughts and opinions on this subject. ;-)

              Seriously - most experienced carvers will tell you the following:

              1. Don't buy sets of tools. Buy what you need when you need it. i.e. build your tool set over time and only purchase what you need for the project you are currently working on. This I believe to be very good advice as it has the following advantages:
              a) allows you to buy only tools that you know you will need and use
              b) doesn't require a large outlay all at once
              c) allows you time to determine what you like in a tool - especially if you try different brands by either borrowing (advantage of joining clubs) or buying - and seeing how they feel in your hand

              2) The various name brands are all very good and many people whose opinion I respect will swear by each of them. My conclusion - they are all pretty good and I probably wouldn't go wrong with any of them. Remember there is no need to get them all from one manufacturer either. In fact, Pye points out a problem with Pfeil V tools in the way they create the keel shape that requires regrinding and shaping after purchase to get the best performance. So you may want to get another manufacturer's V tools to avoid this.

              Even so - I ignored this advice for specific reasons.

              1) I knew I wanted to try a variety of carving styles, I new the specific projects I wanted to work on and the list of tools "needed" for each. I compiled all of these into a master list of sweeps and sizes of gouges built around Chris Pye's "basic" relief carving set.
              2) Woodcraft had a special going on Pfeil gouges where you'd get a $25 gift card for every $100 spent on Pfeil. Effectively a 25% discount. Plus free shipping at the time.
              3) I had just had a cash windfall that would evaporate into my household budget (wife & 4 kids) if I didn't use it to get tools <grin>
              4) When compared to Stubai - Pfeil tools seemed a bargain price (20% less or so) and I had never heard any serious negative comments about Pfeil. Pfeil dropped their prices significantly on their carving tools about a year ago due to some major improvements in the plant tooling that allowed greater efficiency (higher output) in their process. This allowed them to drop prices while maintaining the same quality and thus be more competitive.

              In hindsight - I probably would have purchased another brand of V tool to avoid the regrinding problem, BUT I have been able to use them without regrinding, AND I've been very happy with my gouges thusfar.

              Sorry to be so long winded. I hope you find this helpful.

              ChuckT

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

                Oh - regarding palm vs mallet? Depends on the projects you want to do. I would recommend using full sized mallet tools IF you are able to clamp or place the piece you are carving in a holding device. If you are planning to do mostly smaller hand held pieces, then you want palm gouges. If you want to do both - then you may need both. (I have 8 flexcuts palm gouges in addition to my full sized Pfeils.)

                ChuckT

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                • #9
                  Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

                  BobD, if you are referring to the Ashley Isles hooked skew that they call the Gonsalez Tool, then we are in total agreement. That is one of the first tools I reach for. It can be used as a skew, gouge, knife.....it is wonderful. There are some other tools that imitate this one; but, they do not look like they are doing as well with the profile of the "hook". Ashley Isles definitely has the edge on this tool.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

                    Yeah - I've heard nothing but lavish praise over that AI hooked skew. I gotta get my hands on one and try it out. In what ways do you use it most? What types of cuts or situations? Or is it that it is so versatile?

                    ChuckT

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

                      Hi Michael, I'll betcha if you sit down with a calculator and a catalog and look for the tools you really need you'll find that sets are not the way to go. Most sets have chisels and skews that you probably won't use. As for the brand I have Stubai's and I love them. I also have some Pfeils and they are fine too. I went to a clinic a couple weeks ago and bought a Dastra that I really love but they are way to proud of them for me to afford. I think you'll find that buying the tools you really want, or need (not the same thing) may even be cheaper. Good luck and have fun. Mike

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                      • #12
                        Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

                        Chuck the hooked skew is indredably versatile; but, one of the ways that it is hard to match is in tight places like the corners of eyes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

                          Mmmm - yeah -and that's been a challenging area for me. Gotta get on soon - birthday coming up. Hmmmmm . . . ;-)

                          Cheers!
                          ChuckT

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

                            I respect both Paul and Bob and after hearing Bob talk so favorable about the Gonzales tool I bought it. I first got the intermediate size and then thought I might like the palm size better. Both of them darn near cut me to pieces a couple of times. They are very sharp and until you get used to the cutting angles and cutting edges are a bit clumsy, at least to me. As I said they are very sharp! I''ve not given up on them yet but they are a special tool. I'm going to figure out why Bob likes it so much if it kills me....and based on my handling experience so far............it might.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Pfeil or Stubai?

                              I use mine like a knife to start. I choke up on the handle and can use it to push, shave, slice, and really gouge out wood if I put my arm behind it!.

                              I wouldn't use the intermediate tool unless you have your carving clamped down. The palm is fine to use if you are hand holding.

                              I don't hold it like a regular tool...my fingers are on the shaft near the blade...that gives me the option of finess when I need it...

                              Bob

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