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Ian Styles

In the first of our Desert Island Tools series, we invite Ian Styles, one of our Founders and Product Director at Axminster, to pick the tools he would take to a desert island. Ian shares the 10 tools that have featured heavily throughout his life, the first tool he ever used and we find out what tools he is currently developing.

Getting hooked on tools

The first tool I ever used was a Stanley No.4 bench plane, given to me by my parents. It really got me into woodworking. Over the years I must have fitted at least six kitchens and three roofs and these are the tools that I’ve always had to hand.


Ten Desert Island Tools

1. First of all, it has to be a Marples 373 split-proof chisel. You should always have a quality chisel to hand in the workshop. The Axminster Rider Soft-Grip Bevel Edge Chisels are easily a worthy substitute.

Axminster Rider Chisel

2. An 8oz ball pein hammer. I had my father’s, the day the original handle broke still haunts me, new handles on tools are never the same.

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3. Wiha wire cutters. These are an absolutely essential tool for me and, in my opinion, Wiha make the best.


4. A quality combination square set. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve used a better one than the Axminster Precision set. We took our time developing it to get it right and it was worth the wait. It’s a great all-rounder for any number of jobs.

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5. Filler knife. It needs a nice handle and a quality ground blade, that must be kept excruciatingly clean! Crown still make the best.


6. My Festool 10.8v drill driver set. I use it all the time with the CENTROTEC compatible Axminster Trade Bitz. Once you’ve switched to the Centrotec style of working, you won’t go back. These bits help make that transition a little easier on the wallet without compromising on quality.

Festool Drill

7. Festool palm sander. If there’s a better sander out there I’ve not used it. Simply a stunning sander to use.

Festool Sander
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8. A 215mm mitre saw with a Cut Pro blade. When used with a quality blade, it’s one of the most useful tools you’ll have. I challenge anyone to find a better cut than one made with a Cut Pro blade.


9. A sturdy pair of trestles. Whether you’re sawing a bit of wood or using them as a workstation, I have used mine time and time again.

And one we don’t sell…

10. Finally, a Palomino Blackwing pencil. It’s been said that I have a mild obsession with quality pencils. These are the best I’ve used, they must be kept sharp and a quality sharpener is a must. We don’t sell these, but perhaps we should…

Tools for the future

“Well, we are currently working on coping/piercing saw in conjunction with a nationally acclaimed cabinet maker. I can’t say too much about it just yet, but 2018 promises to be an exciting year for new tools at Axminster.”

Over the coming weeks, we’ll hear more Desert Island Tools from tool enthusiasts. In the meantime, why not let us know your Desert Island Tools?

  • Wood Chip

    And where on this desert island does he plug in his Festool Sander? Or recharge the batteries for his CXS?

  • Hugh millar

    They would all have to be hand tools as there are no charging facilities. Good luck.

  • Bill Elmore

    nice try but not a very well thought out article see other comments about power, a ball pein? and what are you going to fill with, sand?

  • John Cook

    Desert Island? surely start with an axe and a means of keeping it sharp! followed by a quality knife and a saw.

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