Hand forged Adze

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Project by CKM posted 04-16-2010 09:20 PM 8361 views 4 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So this project is a bit wood work and a bit metal work, but the end result is a wood working tool!

These are two hand forged small adze that my friend and I made. This was the first time either of us had attempted to forge something like this, so it took a couple of tries, but we were quite pleased with the end result and they sure do work well! Let the wood chips fly!

The handles are made of Red Oak, Redwood, and Maple with brass pegs, and the overall length is about 16”.

Photo 1: The completed tools
Photo 2: Just after welding the heads to the handle – still needs to be sharpened and the handles need to have their final shaping.
Photo 3: Cutting the blank for the Adze head – that’s me by the way
Photo 4: Hammering out the rough shape of the business end of the tool
Photo 5: Starting to refine the shape of the adze
Photo 6: A bit of grinding and final shaping – this shot wasn’t really necessary but I thought it looked cool! :)

Yes …. that’s me using both hands to swing the hammer in photo 4. We had already completed the first adze and this was the second time through the process – if you can believe it, I was getting tired!


-- CKM - Minnesota

13 comments so far

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3140 days

#1 posted 04-16-2010 09:29 PM

One thing puzzled me, WHY did you use holes in the tool shaft? This will only cause the tool to break at those points. If you put them there for handle attachment that is one thing but to leave them like that, to me, is a no, no. I worked as a welder and shop owner for 30+ years so I know what I’m talking about.

Other than that I think it’s a cool tool and hope you guys had fun making it and I hope the handle lasts a few years in spite of my doubts.

Erwin Jacksonville, Fl

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View CKM's profile


73 posts in 3219 days

#2 posted 04-16-2010 09:45 PM

Hello Erwin,

We did think about that and took it into account. FWIW, the piece of metal that we used is actually a machined part that alreay the holes in it, and although you can’t see in the photos, the large holes don’t go all the way through, it gets smaller half way through it. I believe it is for countersinking a bolt of some kind. The point of this project was to work through all the kinks in the process and to experiment so we used what we had on hand. All of these pieces, both metal and wood, are scraps that we had in our shops. We will be making more of these in the future and I’m sure we will be using different materials.

As for having fun, we had a blast doing this. We made a bunch of mistakes and learned from them so hopefully our next attempts will be that much better. Thanks for the comments, as always, I appreciate them.


-- CKM - Minnesota

View Swede's profile


191 posts in 3140 days

#3 posted 04-16-2010 09:58 PM

I like the head shape of the one with the orange color handle. I hope the weld dosent break. Good job on your first try. My grandfather was a black smith but I never had the chance to see him work.

-- Swede -- time to make some sawdust

View remy97's profile


206 posts in 3136 days

#4 posted 04-17-2010 02:10 AM

looks great man! wood and metal really go well together

-- ---ray suppan--- anger + woodworking = -finger AHHHHHHHH!!!!

View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 4060 days

#5 posted 04-17-2010 02:46 AM

I have a small forge and I will be making an adze some day soon. did you pay any attention to the type of steel you chose? Is it an old leaf spring? Most of the old adzes I’ve seen have a lot more mass in the head to drive the cutting tip in further with less effort. Still, it’s a good looking tool, and any day you can make the anvil ring is a good one!

-- Steven

View wallkicker's profile


107 posts in 3276 days

#6 posted 04-17-2010 03:22 AM

I think you guys did a great job and sounds like you had fun doing them . That’s the best part !

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12758 posts in 3279 days

#7 posted 04-17-2010 03:39 AM

cool work… they look great…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View widdle's profile


2069 posts in 3121 days

#8 posted 04-17-2010 03:53 AM

Those are sweet…Is there a plan for them ?...Good pics too..

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3119 days

#9 posted 04-17-2010 03:30 PM

Fine project. Looking at photo of pounding the red hot metal on anvil makes me teary eyed. My grandfather was blacksmith. His son (my dad) carried on tradition, His grandson(me) watched them both, learned how, HAVE NO WHERE do do it since moving here. Have my anvil,Forge, tongs, hammers sittiin here doing nothing .(YET) My little shed here is only big enough for my woodworking. Trying both in same little building does not work. BEEN THERE) Don’t worry about weld on handle breaking. (You weld ! Put it back together if it breaks)
What is next project ? Post them as well. HAVE FUN…...Keep smiling

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 3842 days

#10 posted 04-18-2010 12:34 AM

Freaking awosome! Excellent pics too!

-- christopheralan

View CKM's profile


73 posts in 3219 days

#11 posted 04-18-2010 03:17 AM

Thanks everyone for the great comments about the project and the photos!

Steven: I’m not positive about the metal that we used, I’d have to ask my friend as I’m sure he would know. The one thing that we want to do the next time round is to use an old file for the cutting end. This would likely hold an edge better and is something that is commonly done when forging an axe head. For ours the steel shaft added a bit of mass to the tool, but yes, I think a bit more mass in the head would useful and using an old leaf spring is a good idea.

Widdle: Sorry, we didn’t use any plans, we just made it up as went along. We searched on line for pictures of small adze like these and used similar dimensions to the ones we found.

For an update on how these work, both my friend and I spent a little time using them (separately) and found that the overall weight distribution was pretty good, but both of us found that we ended up using two hands when swinging them. The amount of force that is required to make chips fly is actually pretty small and alllowed us to do more fine work with them than we expected.

FWIW, I think our next project would be to make a froe, but we are also talking about making a full size adze with a more traditional look than these small ones, where we would forge the adze and drift a hole through and then make fully wooden handle.

Thanks again to everyone for the comments, I really do appreciate it.

-- CKM - Minnesota

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3456 days

#12 posted 04-19-2010 12:21 AM

Great work guys. It’s always fun and educational to explore a bit. It’s too bad the holes in the shaft are a negative because I really like the look of them. I’ve never worked with an adze and so don’t know anything about them, but I did see one made by a professional woodworker in FWW mag. which was just a blade held in a wooden shaft. He did some pretty amazing work with it giving a carved surface texture to a project . Maybe a lot of weight isn’t always needed depending on what you are doing with it. I always thought it would be nice to do this kind of work, but I’m afraid I would burn the house down!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2962 days

#13 posted 03-17-2011 06:59 AM

Blacksmithing and wood work have always been married. Since we stopped using bone and stone for or materials and picked up iron and wood life got a lot easier.
Great job guys.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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