how-do-you-care-for-your-adze

Adze maintenance and care

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Image of an hourglass, representing long life Looking after your adze helps to ensure that it performs well for the duration of its lifetime. The guides below outline ways to care for the different parts of your adze.
Image of antique adzes in need of restoration If you have an old adze, it can be cleaned up using these guides.

Causes of damage to an adze handle

Image of extreme elements that may cause severe damage to an adze handle Adze handles are built to be sturdy, but exposure to the elements can cause them to become damaged over time.
Image of wood that has swollen and cracked through exposure to moisture If the handle of your adze becomes too wet, it can swell and crack.
Image of a sponge, which also has absorbent properties This is because wood is absorbent – after all, trees need a way to get water all the way up to their highest leaves.
Image to illustrate an adze handle shrinking if it gets too dry If the handle of your adze becomes too dry, it can shrink.
Image of an adze head, wedged onto an adze handle As most adze heads are wedged onto the handle rather than glued, this can cause the head to become loose and eventually fall off.

Caring for an adze handle

Image of a DIYer sanding down a weathered wooden ahndle If your adze handle has become weathered, give it a good sanding down using sandpaper.
Image of a scrubbing brush, used to clean up an adze handle Make sure it’s clean by scraping off dirt with a stiff-bristled brush. Wipe it with a damp cloth if necessary, but don’t get it too wet or you will cause the handle to swell.

Buy brushes

Image of a bottle of boiled linseed oil You’ll now need to coat your adze handle with boiled linseed oil.

Buy linseed oil

Image of a DIYer caring for their tool handle by rubbing it with boiled linseed oil Using a rag, rub the handle with oil and leave the wood to absorb the first coat.
Image of a DIYer adding a second coat of boiled linseed oil to their tool's handle Apply a second coat in the same way, and leave it to dry.
Image of an adze with a fibreglass handle If your adze has a fibreglass handle, you’ll need to make sure you store it out of direct sunlight. This is because ultraviolet light can cause fibreglass to become brittle, meaning that your adze handle could splinter or break when you use it.

Replacing a broken handle or changing an adze head

Image showing an adze being held upside down, with the adze head remaining in place thanks to friction Adze heads stay in place through friction. This means that the top of the handle is wedge shaped and the head of the adze is forced down onto the wedge until it is lodged in place.
Image of a DIYer preparing to give their adze a short shock If you need to remove an adze head, it can be done by giving it a sharp shock.
Image of a DIYer preparing to remove an adze head Being careful of the blade, hold the head on either side of the handle.
Image of a DIYer sliding an adze head off an adze handle Bump the handle against a solid surface. The head should come loose and you can then slide it off.
Image of a replacement adze handle If an adze handle becomes cracked, shrinks or breaks, it will need to be replaced. Adze handles are available to buy separately.

Buy replacement handle

Image of an adze head detached from an adze handle Remove the head from your broken adze handle, then follow this process in reverse to attach it to the new handle.

Head

Image of a rusty nail If left in a moist environment, adze heads can rust. If rust is allowed to spread, it can damage the tool or dull the blade.
Image of a DIYer removing rust from an adze head with an angle grinder The rust can be removed using an angle grinder. Secure the adze head in a vice and then grind off the layer of rust until you can see metal again.
Image of an adze blade with nicks If your adze isn’t cutting wood effectively anymore, or if the blade becomes nicked or rusty, it will need to be sharpened.
Wonkee Donkee Tools's guide to sharpening an adze For a step by step adze sharpening guide, see our section: How to sharpen an adze

Storage

Image showing a leather sheath that protects an adze blade and keeps it sharp To keep your adze as sharp as possible and to prevent the blade from damaging other things while in storage, keep it in a leather sheath.
Image of a damaged adze head If your adze head becomes cracked or damaged, it’s time to look for a new one.