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What is an adze?

What is an Adze?

what is an adze description

An adze (also known as an adz) is a sharpened piece of metal attached to a handle that is mainly used for shaping, smoothing or carving wood. It is a versatile tool that has many uses, including hollowing out chair seats, bowls, troughs and canoes.

Flattening wood with an adze

They can also be used to flatten the surface of logs to make them into wooden beams, sculpting, carving and bending wood.


The history of adze’s is an interesting one. Tane, was who the Polynesians believed first taught them how to bind a sharpened stone onto a wooden branch to make an adze. He used this to break down trees and making them food for insects and other living things. This is what earned him his title of the Polynesian god of trees.

What are the different adze attachments?

Adze heads also appear as attachments on other tools. On ice axes, they are used for creating steps in snow-covered slopes and digging trenches and seats in snow.

Adze Head attachments
Man using adze to dig

Adze heads on mattocks are used for digging or hoeing. Adze heads also appear on Halligan bars, which are tools frequently used by firemen in the United States when they need to prise open locked doors.

What are the different types of adze?

If you look online or in your local hardware store you will see that Adzes come in all different sizes and designs. Some common variations include different blade widths, curvature or sweep, handle length and shape. See ‘What are the different types of adze?‘ to find out more about adze designs and their uses.

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