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How do you hold and use an adze correctly?

How to hold and use an adze correctly?

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Image to show that mastering an adze is a skill that takes time and patience Using an adze is relatively easy, but mastering the use of an adze takes a lot of practice.
Wonkee Donkee reassures DIYers that help will be provided!

How to use a hand adze

Image of a DIYer exercising to improve the strength of their grip Make sure you have a firm grip on the handle (or handles, in the case of a twin-handled adze).
Image of a DIYer using a hand adze for carving - the initial part of their swing comes from their wrist The first part of the swing comes from the wrist. This part of the swing brings the edge of the tool into contact with the wood.
Image of a DIYer who has made it to the second part of their adze swing and is using their elbow to power the shaving part of the swing The second part of the swing is a pulling motion that comes from the elbow. Pulling the blade of the tool along the surface of the wood causes the shaving action to happen.

How to use a foot adze

Image of a DIYer preparing to work on adzing overhead with a foot adze


The same principle applies when using a foot adze for overhead work. Grip the handle of the tool at the base and half way up.

Image of a DIYer completing an adze swing while working overhead During the first part of the swing, tilt the adze blade towards the wood. Once it makes contact, the swing becomes more of a pulling motion as the blade shaves off a sliver of wood.
Image of a DIYer anchoring the edge of the handle of their adze for use at floor level

Foot level

Use your non-dominant hand to anchor the top of the adze. Do this by bracing your elbow against your hip and holding the adze between and slightly in front of your legs, with the blade pointing towards you.

Image illustrating the path of an adze's swing Make sure your grip on the top of the adze is firm, but be aware that it will need to be able to swing backwards and forwards like a pendulum with your hand as the fulcrum.
Image to show the fulcrum of a pendulum A fulcrum is the point about which a pendulum swings.
Image of a DIYer standing with their feet apart, ready to use an adze Make sure you are standing with your feet apart.
Image of a DIYer taking things too far and doing the splits to prevent catching their feet with an adze You don’t need to do the splits, but there needs to be enough room for the adze to swing between your legs, just in case you miss making contact with the wood.
Image of a DIYer turning up their toes to keep them from worrying about hurting themselves with their adze Turning your toes upwards is a good idea if you’re nervous about hitting yourself with the blade. This means that you don’t have to worry about anything worse than a split shoe sole if you miss your swing.
Image of an illusionist DIYer who is allowing room for their adze to swing by levitating out of the way Of course, members of the magic circle can just levitate out of the way.
Image of a DIYer controlling the swing of their adze using their writing hand Your dominant hand will be used to guide the adze on its swing, pushing it upwards and then pulling it downwards.
Image to show an adze that has become stuck in a piece of wood after a badly angled swing Remember – you’re trying to shave the surface of the wood rather than dig a hole in it. If you swing the adze with the sharp edge pointing downwards, it will get stuck in your piece of wood.
Image of a DIYer using their adze diagonally across the grain of the wood they are planing Now that you’re ready to go, angle yourself so that you are adzing diagonally across the grain.
Image of a DIYer whose adze has become lodged in the wood they are attempting to plane Adzing in the same direction as the grain will work, but increases the likelihood that the blade will get stuck in the wood.

How to use a D-handled adze

Image of a DIYer holding a D-handled adze correctly D-handled adzes are easy to use. Just hold the D-shaped handle so that the adze blade is pointing downwards…
Image of a DIYer carving with a D-handled adze …and you can carve away using a gouging motion.

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