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Using an Adze

 
Posts: 51
Location: Proebstel, Washington, USDA Zone 6B
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I've been using a foot adze this week, and I am impressed with it. On Labor Day I started working on a log to make a round wood bench. I rived it with some wedges, and then I shaped the split sides with my adze.

I inherited this adze from my great grandfather. All the relatives were going through his house, picking things that reminded them of him or that they found valuable. I saw this adze and a drawknife and snapped them up

To be continued.
IMG_20210910_155827.jpg
My adze
My adze
 
Jeremy VanGelder
Posts: 51
Location: Proebstel, Washington, USDA Zone 6B
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Some of Great Grandpa's ancestors came over the Oregon Trail. So I don't know if these tools came with them. In fact, I doubt it, but it is possible. Regardless, the steel on this adze is perfectly tempered. I was able to sharpen the secondary edge with a file. But I worked a bit on the primary grind and barely got the rust off.

And as far as its chopping power, it was just amazing. I was making chips half an inch thick by nine inches long. Just slowly chopping, working that chip as it comes up. Also, I managed to cut myself twice. Once because I was wearing sandals, the second time because my sock clad ankle was in the way of the blade.

Which brings me to safety. I haven't found much of a guide for using an adze online. "An Ax to Grind" by the forest service has two safety rules. "Wear boots" and, "Beginners should not put their feet in the line that the adze is following." So far I have only broken those rules. But maybe following them will keep my feet safe.

So, has anyone used an adze? Do you have any tips or techniques.
IMG_20210910_155906.jpg
Sharp secondary edge
Sharp secondary edge
IMG_20210910_155456.jpg
Great big chips
Great big chips
 
pollinator
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Look at this video, its very helpful
How to use an Adze
 
gardener
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I haven't used an adze, but I do know I wouldn't even pick one up if I didn't have heavy boots on.

There was an old man in the tiny little Yukon River town where I grew up whose retirement hobby was building small cabins (or large outbuildings) in his front yard out of nothing but squared logs, which he squared by hand with an amazing assortment of old-then adzes and broad axes.  His skill was amazing.  He was about 70 and arthritic but he'd been a working man his whole life and the logs just melted into perfect squares when he worked on them.  He built his little buildings on skids and sold them, or perhaps gave them away to his friends; people just towed them away down the gravel streets to their permanent destinations.

I know the women who inherited his collection of tools; they were kind to him in his dotage, and his family, not local, was not.  
 
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That looks like a great find! I have some of my grandfather's tools, and like you mentioned, it's near to have a tool from a loved one.

I've been looking to get some small adzes to hopefully make some bowls like in this video in the near future.

 
Jeremy VanGelder
Posts: 51
Location: Proebstel, Washington, USDA Zone 6B
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Thanks, everyone, those are great resources. I used the search bar here and didn't come up with much about using an Adze. I will definitely wear good boots from now on. That means I either need to lose twenty pounds, or choose to not use it when it is hot outside.

Hewing logs square seems so slow to me. It would have been amazing to watch someone who was skilled at it. Of course, though it is expensive in terms of time, it is free in terms of money.

That bowl carver has good advice about working similar sides of the piece so that you don't forget your muscle memory. Taking his advice will help me be more organized in my chopping.

And John's video about rising grain versus diving grain is very good too. The Big Leaf maple wood that I am working has a number of very small knots, about 1/16" in diameter. But that is enough to change the grain. I always chopped towards the knot, and was rewarded by pulling them out completely. But I can still pay more attention to the grain, and thereby get even better results.

Thanks again, everyone!
 
Jeremy VanGelder
Posts: 51
Location: Proebstel, Washington, USDA Zone 6B
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Also, those videos prove that my adze is nowhere near sharp. I think that is a good thing for now. And it is cutting so well in the green wood. But as I gain skill in using it I will sharpen it some more.
 
Posts: 25
Location: St.Louis, Missouri
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Oooo love this thread!

I love adding a tool to my mental toolbox!

I don't have experience with an Adze, but I do know that in the kitchen, you always want a sharp blade. A dull blade is how we cut ourselves.

Not sure if that same logic goes for Adze and other woodchopping tools, but I imagine the idea behind a well sharpened tool is like any other well sharpened tool!

What a great find Jeremy, it seems to be an even more sacred tool, in that it has an ancestral aura attached to it for you!  
 
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