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How are adzes made?

How are adzes manufactured?

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Image of an adze being forged using traditional blacksmithing means Adze heads are usually hand forged, although in modern times this can be a little more complicated than hammering a piece of metal into an adze shape on an anvil.
Image to show a power hamnmer, which is used for hand forging adzes by blacksmithing companies A specially crafted tool called a power hammer is used by woodworking tool production companies to create adze heads. Each part of the hammer is shaped to stamp a piece of metal in a certain way, as described below.

Creating an adze head

Image of a blacksmith heating up the end of a piece of steel

Step 1 – Heating a steel blank

The end of a long, thick, steel strip, called a ‘blank’, is heated in a furnace.

Image of a blacksmith cutting the end off a steel blank to make a billet that will be used for forging the adze head

Step 2 – Cutting off a billet

Using one of the sections of the power hammer, the blacksmith punches off the end of the steel blank to create a smaller piece of steel, known as a ‘billet’. This will be shaped into the adze head.

Image of a blacksmith picking up a steel billet with a set of tongs

Step 3 – Picking up billet

Using tongs, the blacksmith picks up the white hot steel billet for shaping.

Image of a blacksmith scraping forge scale off a steel blank

Step 4 – Scraping off forge scale

The blacksmith rubs the steel billet against a flat surface on the power hammer to remove any imperfections on the surface of the tool.

Image of a blacksmith making an eye in the head of the adze using a power hammer and a steel rod

Step 5 – Create an eye

A rod on the power hammer is used to punch the adze’s eye hole (the part of the head that fits the handle).

Image of a blacksmith shaping an adze head with a power hammer

Step 6 – Carefully rehearsed shaping sequence

The blacksmith shapes the head and the blade of the adze by inserting it into a series of different parts of the power hammer. An experienced blacksmith can do this with rhythm!

Image of a blacksmith drawing out an adze head

Step 7 – Drawing out

As the blade cools, the blacksmith uses the power hammer to ensure that it holds its shape.

Image of a blacksmith cutting off the edge of an adze blade to make sure that it has a flat edge that can easily be sharpened

Step 8 – Squaring off blade

The end of the blade is cut off to ensure that it is straight – an uneven blade would not carve wood evenly or efficiently.

Image of a blacksmith shaping the eye of the adze head to make it look neat

Step 9 – Shaping eye

Using another piece of metal, inserted into the eye hole to make sure that it can’t be stamped shut, the blacksmith shapes the eye of the adze to make it look neat.

Image of a blacksmith checking the quality of a finished adze head

Step 10 – Quality check

The blacksmith now checks the head for quality. If he is not happy, it will be rejected.

Image of a blacksmith sharpening an adze

Step 11 – Sharpening adze

When the quality of the adze has been approved, its blade is sharpened on a grinder.

Image of an adze head being coated in black oxide in a chemical bath

Step 12 – Coating adze head

The head of the adze is coated with a protective layer of paint or black oxide.

Image of an adze with the handle inserted

Step 13 – Inserting handle

The adze head is then slid onto the handle so that it wedges onto the end.

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