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The tool known as the adze serves for smoothing rough-cut wood in hand woodworking. Generally, the user stands astride a board or log and swings the adze downwards towards their feet, chipping off a piece of wood, and walking backwards as they go, leaving a relatively smooth surface behind. However, in general it can be used for various cutting operations.

The head of the adze is oriented to the haft like a hoe, or plane, and not like an axe, whose cutting blade would be perpendicular to the blade of an adze.

Table of contents
1 history
2 Types
3 Sources


Linearbandkeramic shoe-last adze, amphibolite
Prehistoric Maori adzes from New Zealand, used for wood carving were made from nephrite, also known as jade.

In central Europe, adzes made by knapping flint are known from the late Mesolithic onwards ("Scheibenbeile"). Polished adzes and axes made of ground stone, like amphibolite, basalt or Jadeite are typical for the Neolithic period. Shoe-last adzes or celtss, named for their typical shape, are found in the Linearbandkeramic and Rössen cultures of the early Neolithic.

More modern adzes are made from steel with wooden handles, and some people still use them extensively: occasionally those in semi-industrial areas, but particularly 'revivalists' such as those who exist at the Colonial Williamsburg cultural center in Virginia, USA. However, the traditional adze has largely been replaced by the sawmill and the power-planer, at least in industrialized cultures. Adzes are also in current use by artists such as American and Canadian Indian sculptors doing large pole work.