Anyone ever use an adze?
#11
  Re: (...)
I picked this up a couple years ago, not long after restoring a great old True Temper axe. The odds aren't very good that I'll ever use it for real, but I like the railroad tie-in; at 53, I've lived within one mile of the old Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe (now BNSF) tracks through Kansas City my entire life, even when I was away in college.

The edge almost appears to have never been given an edge, even at the factory - but since the poll does have impact marks and the handle is cracked, I think it just saw more use as a grub hoe than as a "tie fixer." Anyway, it'll be a learning experience and hopefully I can do it justice.

If you've restored an adze, or have used one I'd love to hear about your experiences.














Mike

Funny on occasion, embarrassing on average.
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#12
  Re: Anyone ever use an adze? by KSMike (I picked this up a c...)
I've used an adze many times, but that one looks like it has been used as a hoe. Generally I use a lipped adze. Sharpened up, they are a finishing tool. I use them for fairing up planking and keel repairs.
Jim
http://ancorayachtservice.com/ home of the Chain Leg Vise.
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#13
  Re: Anyone ever use an adze? by KSMike (I picked this up a c...)
Yep, that one has some sad tales to tell. Somebody mistook it for a hoe, or worse a mattock, repeatedly.

I've restored several over the years. If the pitting isn't too bad on the back, opposite the bevel, you should be able to bring it back.

DC
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#14
  Re: Re: Anyone ever use an adze? by DCarr10760 (Yep, that one has so...)
Yes, oddly the back is nearly smooth. I think there are some tailed beasts in it's future, before the hand work starts.
Mike

Funny on occasion, embarrassing on average.
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#15
  Re: Re: Anyone ever use an adze? by KSMike (Yes, oddly the back ...)
My 2 cents: You best be in pretty good shape when you do go to swinging it. And wear steel-toed boots.

Eric.
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#16
  Re: Re: Anyone ever use an adze? by eg54string (My 2 cents: You best...)
Years ago I took a week long timber framing class at the Hancock Shaker Villiage in Mass. It was taught by Jack Sobon. We spent a day hewing and dressing timbers. We used an adze to clean up after the broad axe as well as to bring girts and braces down to size where they met their mating posts.

Jack showed us the joys of using a well sharpened adze. It really is a precision tool if it is very sharp. Like you can shave with it sharp.

It's really like a paring chisel with a handle at a right angle to the blade. He taught us that it's not really swung like an axe, but allowed to pivot like a pendulum with your left forearm braced against and just above your left knee (if you are right handed) and swinging the adze between your feet, steering it with your right hand about a foot or a bit more up from the head.

It only took a few minutes for most of us to get the hang of it. By the end of the lesson we were all able to cut a fair curve to bring the 5-inch wide timber down to where the 3-inch wide tenon had been cut over about a 12-inch distance. Fun!

I'm sure they're used more aggressively in shipbuilding and other trades, but that's how we've used them. I have several now and enjoy using them when I need them.

I would clean up the back, don't put a bevel on the back of it at all. Do your heavy grinding on the top where the bevel is. If you but a back bevel onto it you will change the cutting angle and it won't work well. DAMHIKT.

Best of luck with it!

DC
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#17
  Re: Re: Anyone ever use an adze? by DCarr10760 (Years ago I took a w...)
DC, thanks for posting your experience with it. I'm a student (albeit via youtube only) of Bernie Weisgerber and the first thing I noticed in his use of the adze to flatten timbers was the easy, "pendulum like" motion. I suspect there's more muscle control involved, though, than it appears. Having never used one, it's interesting to hear how precise the work can be - yet that's what everyone who has used it says. On mine, I was relieved when I first saw it to find that no one had screwed with the back (flat) side. I think some careful work on a sanding belt, some filing around the sides of the poll, a new edge and a new handle and it'll be good to go.

Jim, I'd love to see an adze in use in the hands of a skilled boat builder. I'm also a boater, so appreciate the complexity and amount of work you're talking about.

Eric, I cringe every time I see someone swing one even with steel-toed boots, so - yeah.
Mike

Funny on occasion, embarrassing on average.
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#18
  Re: Re: Anyone ever use an adze? by KSMike (DC, thanks for posti...)
To me, it is an antique and I wouldn't restore it, except fix and clean up the handle. Then hang it on a wall.
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#19
  Re: Re: Anyone ever use an adze? by rschissler (To me, it is an anti...)
It's an antique that was made by the thousands. It has little or no historical value. There's nothing wrong with fixing it up and using it.
"If I had eight hours to cut down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my axe."

My Woodworking Blog: A Riving Home
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#20
  Re: Re: Anyone ever use an adze? by DCarr10760 (Years ago I took a w...)
There are different functions for an adze and they drive both the shape of the adze itself, and the length of the handle. The one pictured was probably intended to flatten timbers as others have mentioned. A more pronounced sweep (curve) would be intended for hollowing. I have a bowl adze, whose handle is only about 12" long, and has a moderate sweep. The bowl adze can also be used to scoop out chair seats, but in that application, the adze is the roughing out tool prior to a scorp or chair devil.

From a historical standpoint, the AT&SF railway was founded in 1859. I'm guessing that adze was used to create bridge trusses along the way as they expanded vs. hauling a lot of precut timber with them.
Still Learning,

Allan Hill
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