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.
If you have an old adze, it can be cleaned up using these guides.
Causes of 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.
If the handle of your adze becomes too wet, it can swell and crack.
This is because wood is absorbent – after all, trees need a way to get water all the way up to their highest leaves.
If the handle of your adze becomes too dry, it can shrink.
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
If your adze handle has become weathered, give it a good sanding down using sandpaper.
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.
You’ll now need to coat your adze handle with boiled linseed oil.
Using a rag, rub the handle with oil and leave the wood to absorb the first coat.
Apply a second coat in the same way, and leave it to dry.
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
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.
If you need to remove an adze head, it can be done by giving it a sharp shock.
Being careful of the blade, hold the head on either side of the handle.
Bump the handle against a solid surface. The head should come loose and you can then slide it off.
If an adze handle becomes cracked, shrinks or breaks, it will need to be replaced. Adze handles are available to buy separately.
Remove the head from your broken adze handle, then follow this process in reverse to attach it to the new handle.
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.
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.
If your adze isn’t cutting wood effectively anymore, or if the blade becomes nicked or rusty, it will need to be sharpened.