Elbow Shaping Adze
The handle is made from the natural crook of a tree. Western red alder seems to have the ideal angle compared to other tree species and the more abundant good handles per tree.
The blade is beveled on the inner face. The outside face has a five degree micro bevel at the cutting edge and acts as reinforcement when the blade hits the material to be carved. The blade is five to six inches long and can be attached with bolts, or glued with epoxy and wrapped with seine twine.
A good length for the handle is twelve inches. The angle of the blade to the carver’s index finger of 90 degrees is very important. This becomes apparent when using the elbow adze in the proper manner, which calls for the carver’s elbow to be held against the side of the body, with the action being all in the wrist.
The handle should be gripped firmly with the thumb on top, keeping the wrist loose.
Elbow Texture Adze
This type of adze is for doing fine surface texture as aesthetic feature.
The handle is made from the natural crook of a tree. Alder is not the best for this adze type, but rather yew, or maple. The handle is thinned down to allow some spring when a stroke is made.
The bevel is on the outside of the blade, which is also about five to six inches long and like the shaping adze blade there is a five degree micro bevel on the opposite side.
A good handle length is around twelve inches. The angle of the blade to the carver’s index finger should be 90 degrees, as in the Shaping Adze. The handle should be gripped firmly with the thumb on top, keeping the wrist loose.
The blade can be attached and fastened with bolts, glued and wrapped with seine twine, or held on with a hose clamp (not a bad idea when one is unfamiliar with the use of this type of tool as the blade can be adjusted for best results).
D Adze with Axe Blade
This type of adze is used for rough carving and texture adzing. The blade is fashioned from an axe blade with most of the bevel on the bottom and with a slight micro bevel on the top. Unlike using the elbow adze, the wrist is kept stiff and all the action is from the carver’s elbow.
The blade is around an inch and a half wide at the handle, but can be wider at the cutting edge and can protrude from the handle no more than an inch and a half. It can be attached with screws, bolts, or lashed with seine twine, or any combination thereof.
The handle is made from hard wood such as alder, yew, maple, etc. It is between six and a half to seven or eight inches long and an inch and a quarter thick, depending on the size of the carver’s hand. Comfort is the prime concern.
D Adze with Flat Blade
This type of adze is handy for light shaping and texture adzing.
The blade is made from 1/4 inch flat carbon steel about one and a half inches wide and six inches long. Leaf spring can be used, but the spring must be heated and hammered to reverse the crown. The crowned side of the spring is hard while the other side is soft and that is the side the bevel is on, allowing the cutting edge to be on the hard side. The main bevel is on the under side and has a five degree micro bevel on the top.
The blade can be attached to the handle with screws, bolts, lashed with seine twine, or any combination of these. The handle is carved from hard wood such as yew, maple, alder, madrona, etc.
Fancy Adze Handle
An adze handle can be embellished by carving various animal, or bird heads, canoe prows, etc.
This adze handle is about eight inches long, pretty typical and carved from alder (a “soft hardwood”). I often go as far as carving finger grips on the under side of the grip. Notice that the under side of the handle is recessed to receive the blade.
This length and curvature of handle is very efficient and comfortable in the hand. However, too much bow becomes cumbersome.
Harder wood such as yew, madrona, oak, etc. is best for the handle because it generally has more weight and feels comfortable in the hand.
At the top right in the illustration, blade cross sections are shown, curved blade on the top and straight blade on the bottom.
This knife, as with all knives shown here, the total length of the blades is around five inches. Half of this length is held within the handle. The blade in the knife shown here is secured with seine twine wrapping, but it and others can be held in place with screws, rivets or bolts.
Hafting Knife Blades
Curved knife blades are ground with a rocker on both edges. The blade is bent with the bevel on the inside of the bend and only on one face. The blade is attached to one side of the handle with the flat side of the blade to the outside and flush with the wood. A notch should be cut to receive the shank of the blade.
The straight knife is ground with a rocker on both edges and beveled on both faces. It is best hafted with the blade in the center of the handle. One method is to make a saw cut up the center of the handle as long as the shank of the blade. Carve a recess on both halves, slip the blade into the cut and secure with bolts, screws, or rivets. It can also be seated with glue and wrapped with seine twine.