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What are the basic parts of an adze?

What are the parts of an adze?

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   Labelled image of an adze, showing the location of the handle, head, pole and blade

Adze handle

Image of an adze handle with no attached head The handle of the adze is the part of the tool held by the user. It is usually made of strong wood, such as hickory.
Image showing the difference in length of handle between one and two handed adzes It can be long (two-handed or foot adze) or short (one-handed or hand/elbow adze).

Adze head

Image showing the head of an adze, separated from its handle The head is the metal part of the adze that is used for shaving wood. Different parts of the head are referred to by different names, as shown below.
   Image showing the locations of the different parts of an adze head

Adze head eye

Labelled image to show the location of the eye of an adze The eye is the hole through the head of the adze through which the handle is attached.
Image to illustrate how an adze head is wedged onto the handle Adze heads are held onto the handles by friction. This means that the handle gets wider towards the end and the adze head is wedged onto it so that it can’t move around.

Adze poll and pins

Image showing the different shapes of poll on an adze The non-bladed side of the adze is referred to as the poll. This may be completely flat, in which case it is not designed to be used. Alternatively it may have a small rectangular lump (half poll), or a longer, cylinder-shaped pin (pin poll).
Image of a poll pin, which is used to remove obstructions while adzing A half or pin poll can be used to remove any part of the wood that might damage or blunt the adze blade, such as a tough piece of bark or twig, or a nail.

Adze blades

Image of two different adzes with blades designed to do different jobs There are numerous different types of adze blade. Each is designed to perform a different job based on its size, shape, curvature and bevel.
Image of a flat adze blade, used for smoothing wood

Flat blades

Flat blades are designed to smooth wood and remove unwanted lumps and bumps. They can also be used for removing bark and turning felled trees into wooden beams for houses.

Image of a flared adze blade, usually used by shipwrights

Flared blades

Flared blades broaden from the shoulder, creating a wide cutting edge. This allows the user to smooth wooden surfaces much more quickly.

This kind of blade was commonly used by shipwrights to smooth large planks of wood.

Image of a curved adze blade, used to carve chair seats

Curved blades

Curved blades have rounded edges, which means the adze has a larger sharp edge that can strike wood at different angles.

This type of blade is most often used for shaping chair seats.

Image of a lipped adze, used for hollowing timber and bowl making

Lipped blades

When an adze’s shoulders are curved towards the handle, it creates a lipped blade. If you looked at this blade front-on, it would resemble a letter U.

Depending on the size, this type of blade is best used for hollowing out bowls or canoes, or making gutters.

What is a bevelled edge?

Image illustrating what a bevelled edge looks like A bevelled edge is one that has been ground down at an angle. In the case of adzes, blades are bevelled until they create a sharp edge for cutting.
Image showing an adze blade with an outside bevel

Outside bevel

With its outside edge ground down, an adze is good for roughly cutting off slivers of timber. It is resistant to getting stuck in the piece of wood being worked on because the weight of the handle tends to pull it back out.

Image of the scallop shaped marks that an adze makes in the surface of a piece of wood An outside bevelled blade leaves scallop-shaped marks in the surface of the wood it carves. This can be a desirable cosmetic effect on timber beams.
Image of an adze blade with an inside bevel

Inside bevel

Inside bevels allow more precise, accurate cuts than outside bevelled blades.

Lipped blades with an inside bevel are harder to sharpen than outside bevelled blades, as the curve of the blade makes it difficult to make contact with a grinder.

Image of the smooth surface left on a piece of wood by an inside bevelled adze Inside bevelled adzes leave a smooth surface on the wood they carve.
Image of an adze blade with both an inside and an outside bevel

Combined bevel

This type of blade is bevelled both on the inside and on the outside. The outside of the blade is only bevelled slightly – just enough to help keep the blade from becoming jammed.

Image of a tick, showing that adzes with a bevel on both sides of the blade have all the advantages of both types of blade bevel This means a combined bevel has all of the advantages, and none of the disadvantages, of both of the other types of blade.

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