Adzes come in short-handled and long-handled forms. The short-handled variety is gripped with either one or both hands with the working piece of wood positioned between waist and knee height. A long-handled adze is more commonly used while straddling the work on, or close to the ground. In this case, you stand astride the piece of wood you are working on – a log or or a board – and swing the adze down between your legs, chipping off flakes of wood and walking backward as you go. With practice a person can become skillful at the technique and fashion a relatively smooth surface.
Adzes are commonly used in the construction of Appalachian-style log homes. Some builders use an adze as a tool on its own, others as finishing tool to a broad axe.
The cutting edge of an adze, like that of a chisel, needs to be kept very sharp, and it should always be stored in a sheath. Obvious care is needed, especially when using an adze while striking downward toward the feet. The toe of the front foot should be elevated so that a glancing blow strikes the bottom of the sole of the boot. Only the back of the heel of the front foot should be resting on the wood being worked.
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