An adze (/ædz/; alternative spelling: adz) is a cutting tool similar to an axe but with the cutting edge perpendicular to the handle rather than parallel. They have been used since the stone age. Adzes are used for smoothing or carving wood in hand woodworking. Two basic forms of an adze are the hand adze—a short handled tool swung with one hand—and the foot adze—a long handled tool capable of powerful swings using both hands, the cutting edge usually striking at foot or shin level. A similar, but blunt, tool used for digging in hard ground is called a mattock.

WLA brooklynmuseum Boat Building Scene 2
Egyptian boat-building relief, featuring a workman using an adze
Adzes, Marshall and Yap Islands - Pacific collection - Peabody Museum, Harvard University - DSC05732
Adzes, Marshall and Yap Islands - Pacific collection - Peabody Museum, Harvard University - DSC05732
19th century knowledge carpentry and woodworking japanese adze
Japanese adze.


Making paddle with adze, Tobi, Western Caroline Islands, Micronesia
Micronesian of Tobi, Palau, making a paddle for his wa with an adze


The adze is depicted in ancient Egyptian art from the Old Kingdom onward.[1] Originally the adze blades were made of stone, but already in the Predynastic Period copper adzes had all but replaced those made of flint.[2] While stone blades were fastened to the wooden handle by tying, metal blades had sockets into which the handle was fitted. Examples of Egyptian adzes can be found in museums and on the Petrie Museum website.

A depiction of an adze was also used as a hieroglyph, representing the consonants stp, "chosen", and used as: ...Pharaoh XX, chosen of God/Goddess YY...

The ahnetjer (Manuel de Codage transliteration: aH-nTr) depicted as an adze-like instrument,[3] was used in the Opening of the Mouth ceremony, intended to convey power over their senses to statues and mummies. It was apparently the foreleg of a freshly sacrificed bull or cow with which the mouth was touched.[4][5]

As iron age technology moved south into Africa with migrating ancient Egyptians, they carried their technology with them, including adzes. To this day, iron adzes are used all over rural Africa for various purposes - from digging pit latrines, and chopping firewood, to tilling crop fields - whether they are of maize (corn), coffee, tea, pyrethrum, beans, Millett, yams or a plethora of other cash and subsistence crops.

New Zealand

Prehistoric Māori adzes from New Zealand, used for wood carving, were made from nephrite, also known as jadein the South Island. In the North Island they were commonly made from greywacke or basalt. At the same time on Henderson Island, a small coral island in eastern Polynesia lacking any rock other than limestone, natives may have fashioned giant clamshells into adzes.[6]

Northwest Coast America

Native Alaskan boat builder
Native Alaskan boat builder using an adze

American Northwest coast native peoples traditionally used adzes for both functional construction (from bowls to canoes) and art (from masks to totem poles). Northwest coast adzes take two forms: hafted and D-handle. The hafted form is similar in form to a European adze with the haft constructed from a natural crooked branch which approximately forms a 60% angle. The thin end is used as the handle and the thick end is flattened and notched such that an adze iron can be lashed to it. Modern hafts are sometimes constructed from a sawed blank with a dowel added for strength at the crook. The second form is the D-handle adze which is basically an adze iron with a directly attached handle. The D-handle, therefore, provides no mechanical leverage. Northwest coast adzes are often classified by size and iron shape vs. role. As with European adzes, iron shapes include straight, gutter and lipped. Where larger Northwest adzes are similar in size to their European counterparts, the smaller sizes are typically much lighter such that they can be used for the detailed smoothing, shaping and surface texturing required for figure carving. Final surfacing is sometimes performed with a crooked knife.

New Guinea and Melanesia

Adzes from New Guinea
Contemporary stone adzes from New Guinea

Ground stone adzes are still in use by a variety of people in Irian Jaya (Indonesia), Papua New Guinea and some of the smaller Islands of Melanesia and Micronesia. The hardstone is ground on a riverine rock with the help of water until it has got the desired shape. It is then fixed to a natural grown angled wood with resin and plant fibers. The shape and manufacture of these adzes is similar to those found from the Neolithic stone age in Europe. A variety of minerals are used. Their everyday use is on a steady decline, as it is much more convenient to cut firewood using imported steel axes or machetes. However, certain ceremonial crafts such as making canoes, ceremonial shields, masks, drums, containers or communal houses etc. may require the use of traditional-made stone adzes.

Modern adzes

Rye Shipyard- the Construction of Motor Fishing Vessels, Rye, Sussex, England, UK, 1944 D22783
Rye Shipyard- the Construction of Motor Fishing Vessels, Rye, Sussex, England, UK, 1944 D22783

Modern adzes are made from steel with wooden handles, and enjoy limited use: occasionally in semi-industrial areas, but particularly by 'revivalists' such as those at the Colonial Williamsburg cultural center in Virginia, USA. However, the traditional adze has largely been replaced by the sawmill and the powered-plane, at least in industrialised cultures. It remains in use for some specialist crafts, for example by coopers. Adzes are also in current use by artists such as Northwest Coast American and Canadian Indian sculptors doing pole work, masks and bowls.

Foot adze

19th century knowledge woodworking adze and axe
19th century knowledge woodworking adze and axe

"Adzes are used for removing heavy waste, leveling, shaping, or trimming the surfaces of timber..."[7] and boards. Generally, the user stands astride a board or log and swings the adze downwards between his feet, chipping off pieces of wood, moving backwards as they go and leaving a relatively smooth surface behind.

Foot adzes are most commonly known as shipbuilder's or carpenter's adzes. They range in size from 00 to 5 being 3 1/4 to 4 3/4 pounds (1.5–2.2 kg) with the cutting edge 3 to 4 1/2 inches (75–115 mm) wide.[7] On the modern, steel adze the cutting edge may be flat for smoothing work to very rounded for hollowing work such as bowls, gutters and canoes. The shoulders or sides of an adze may be curved called a lipped adze, used for notching. The end away from the cutting edge is called the pole and be of different shapes, generally flat or a pin pole.

  • Carpenter's adze - A heavy adze, often with very steep curves, and a very heavy, blunt pole. The weight of this adze makes it unsuitable for sustained overhead adzing.
    • Railroad adze - A carpenter's adze which had its bit extended in an effort to limit the breaking of handles when shaping railroad ties (railway sleepers). Early examples in New England began showing up approximately in the 1940s–1950s. The initial prototypes clearly showed a weld where the extension was attached.
  • Shipwright's adze - A lighter, and more versatile adze than the carpenter's adze. This was designed to be used in a variety of positions, including overhead, as well as in front on waist and chest level.
    • Lipped shipwright's adze - A variation of the shipwright's adze. It features a wider than normal bit, whose outside edges are sharply turned up, so that when gazing directly down the adze, from bit to eye, the cutting edge resembles an extremely wide and often very flat U. This adze was mainly used for shaping cross grain, such as for joining planks.
  • Another group of adzes can be differentiated by the handles; the D-handled adzes have a handle where the hand can be wrapped around the D, close to the bit. These adzes closely follow traditional forms in that the bit or tooth is not wrapped around the handle as a head.
  • The head of an ice axe typically possesses an adze for chopping rough steps in ice.
  • A firefighter tool called the Halligan bar has a dull adze on one end of the bar. This bar is a multipurpose tool for forcible entry of a structure and demolition with a forked pry-bar on one end and an adze and spike on the other, called the adze-end.
  • Demolition adze - A demolition adze has a dull edge and is used for separating materials in the demolition or salvage of old buildings.

Hand adze

Cooper's adze
  • There are also a number of specialist, short-handled adzes used by coopers, wainwrights, chair makers, and bowl and trough making. Many of these have shorter handles for control and more curve in the head to allow better clearance for shorter cuts.

See also

Footnotes and references

  1. ^ Rice M (1999). Who's who in ancient Egypt. New York: Routledge. p. 25. ISBN 0-415-15448-0. A statue of the third dynasty boat builder Ankhwah is showing him holding an adze
  2. ^ Shubert SB, Bard KA (1999). Encyclopedia of the archaeology of ancient Egypt. New York: Routledge. p. 458. ISBN 0-415-18589-0.
  3. ^ Erman A, Grapow H (1926). Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache [Dictionary of the Egyptian language]. 1. Leipzig: JC Hinrichs. p. 214.24.
  4. ^ Schwabe CW, Gordon A (2004). The quick and the dead: biomedical theory in ancient Egypt. Leiden: Brill. p. 76. ISBN 90-04-12391-1.
  5. ^ Eyre C (2002). The cannibal hymn: a cultural and literary study. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. 54. ISBN 0-85323-706-9.
  6. ^ Diamond, Jared (1997). Guns, Germs, and Steel. New York, N.Y.: Norton. p. 67. ISBN 0-393-31755-2.
  7. ^ a b Salaman, R. A.. Dictionary of tools used in the woodworking and allied trades, c. 1700–1970. USA edition, New York: Scribner, 1975. 23. Print.


Adze-on-block (hieroglyph)

The ancient Egyptian Adze on a Wood Block, or Axe in a Block of Wood hieroglyph, Gardiner sign listed no. U20, is a portrayal of the adze. It is used mostly in the cartouches of pharaonic names especially, or other important names.

The adze on block has the Egyptian language value of stp and is the verb "choose". It is used as a determinative in 'stp', "cut into pieces", and as an ideogram for 'stp', "choose", "choice".

Adze (folklore)

The adze is a vampiric being in Ewe folklore. The Ewe are located in Togo and Ghana. In the wild, the adze takes the form of a firefly, though it will transform into human shape upon capture. When in human form, the adze has the power to possess humans.

People, male or female, possessed by an adze are viewed as witches ("abasom" in the Ewe language). The adze's influence would negatively affect the people who lived around their host. A person is suspected of being possessed in a variety of situations, including: women with brothers (especially if their brother's children fared better than their own), old people (if the young suddenly started dying and the old stayed alive) and the poor (if they envied the rich). The adze's effects are generally felt by the possessed victim's family or those of whom the victim is jealous.

In firefly form, the adze would pass through closed doors at night and suck blood from people as they slept. The victim would fall sick and die. Tales of the creature and its effects were probably an attempt to describe the potentially deadly effects of mosquitoes and malaria. There is no defense against an adze.


Adže is a village in the municipality of Maglaj, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


An alpenstock is a long wooden pole with an iron spike tip, used by shepherds for travel on snowfields and glaciers in the Alps since the Middle Ages. It is the antecedent of the modern ice axe.

French-speaking climbers called this item a "baton". Josias Simler, a Swiss professor of theology at what later became the University of Zurich, published the first treatise on the Alps, entitled De Alpibus commentarius. T. Graham Brown described Simler's observations on gear for travel over ice and snow in the mountains: "In 1574, Simler published a commentary on the Alps which is remarkable for its description of the technique of glacier travel and for its proof that Simler himself had practical experience. He describes the alpenstock, crampons, the use of the rope, the necessity of protecting the eyes on snow by veils or spectacles; and he mentions that the leader on snow covered glaciers sounds for hidden crevasses with a pole." Yvon Chouinard quotes Simler as writing, "To counteract the slipperiness of the ice, they firmly attach to their feet shoes resembling the shoes of horses, with three sharp spikes in them, so that they may be able to stand firmly. In some places they use sticks tipped with iron, by leaning upon which they climb steep slopes. These are called alpine sticks, and are principally in use among the shepherds."On August 8, 1786, Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard made the first ascent of Mont Blanc. Balmat, a chamois hunter and crystal collector, had experience with high mountain travel, and Paccard had made previous attempts to climb the peak. Illustrations show Balmat carrying two separate tools (whose respective functions would later be re-assigned to the ice axe): an alpenstock (or baton), and a small axe that could be used to chop steps on icy slopes.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, seeing that the traditional but unwieldy alpenstock might be a useful aid to climb steep slopes of snow or ice, Victorian alpinists fastened a sharpened blade (the pick) to the top of the alpenstock; this was used to provide stability. On the opposite end, a flattened blade was placed (the adze), which was used for cutting steps in the snow or ice, an essential technique for moving over steep icy slopes before the advent of the crampon. Gradually, the alpenstock evolved into the ice axe.

Celt (tool)

In archaeology, a celt is a long, thin, prehistoric, stone or bronze tool similar to an adze, a hoe or axe-like tool.

Danubian culture

The term Danubian culture was coined by the Australian archaeologist Vere Gordon Childe to describe the first agrarian society in central and eastern Europe. It covers the Linear Pottery culture (Linearbandkeramik, LBK), stroked pottery and Rössen cultures.

The beginning of the Linear Pottery culture dates to around 5500 BC. It appears to have spread westwards along the valley of the river Danube and interacted with the cultures of Atlantic Europe when they reached the Paris Basin.

Danubian I peoples cleared forests and cultivated fertile loess soils from the Balkans to the Low Countries and the Paris Basin. They made LBK pottery and kept domesticated cows, pigs, dogs, sheep and goats. The characteristic tool of the culture is the shoe-last celt, a kind of long thin stone adze which was used to fell trees and sometimes as a weapon, evidenced by the skulls found at Talheim, Neckar in Germany and Schletz in Austria. Settlements consisted of longhouses. According to a theory by Eduard Sangmeister, these settlements were abandoned, possibly as fertile land was exhausted, and then reoccupied perhaps when the land had lain fallow for long enough. In contrast, Peter Modderman and Jens Lüning believe the settlements were constantly inhabited, with individual families using specific plots (Hofplätze). They also imported spondylus shells from the Mediterranean.

A second wave of the culture, which used painted pottery with Asiatic influences, superseded the first phase starting around 4500 BC. This was followed by a third wave which used stroke-ornamented ware.

Danubian sites include those at Bylany in Bohemia and Köln-Lindenthal in Germany.

In Marija Gimbutas's speculative model of European prehistory, the Danubian culture forms the core of what she calls Old Europe, which she envisions as a relatively advanced matrilineal and "gynocentric" civilisation speaking Pre-Indo-European languages, which was eventually overrun by patriarchal invaders from the steppe, which she identifies with the Proto-Indo-European Kurgan culture.

Drafted masonry

Drafted masonry, in architecture, is the term given to large stones, the face of which has been dressed round the edge in a draft or sunken surface, leaving the centre portion as it came from the quarry. The dressing is worked with an adze of eight teeth to the inch, used in a vertical direction and to a width of two to four inches.The earliest example of drafted masonry is found in the immense platform built by Cyrus in 530 BC at Pasargadae in Persia. It occurs again in the palace of Hyrcanus, known as the Arak-el-Emir (176 BC), but is there inferior in execution.The finest drafted masonry is that dating from the time of Herod the Great, in the tower of David and the walls of the Haram in Jerusalem, and at Hebron. In the castles built by the Crusaders, the adze has been worked in a diagonal direction instead of vertically. In all these examples the size of the stones employed is sometimes enormous, so that the traditional influence of the Phoenician stonemasons seems to have lasted till the twelfth century.

Fagatele Bay Site

The Fagatele Bay Site is an archaeological site on the shore of Fagatele Bay on the south side of Tutuila, the main island of the United States territory of American Samoa. The site shows evidence of habitation from prehistoric to historic times, and is well preserved in part because of the relative difficulty of land access to the area. It has ten distinct features, including raised platforms, stone walls, and a stone-line path. In one feature, interpreted as a house site, a complete prehistoric-era adze was found. When surveyed in 1985, these features could not be chronologically organized or correlated.The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Halligan bar

A Halligan bar (also called a Halligan tool or "hooligan bar" for its effect) is a forcible entry tool used by firefighters and law enforcement.

Ice axe

An ice axe is a multi-purpose hiking and climbing tool used by mountaineers both in the ascent and descent of routes that involve frozen conditions with snow and/or ice. An ice axe can be held and employed in a number of different ways, depending on the terrain encountered. In its simplest role, the ice axe is used like a walking stick in the uphill hand, the mountaineer holding the head in the center. It can also be buried pick down, the rope tied around the shaft to form a secure anchor on which to bring up a second climber, or buried vertically to form a stomp belay. The adze is used to cut footsteps (sometimes known as pigeon holes if used straight on), as well as scoop/bucket seats in the hillside and trenches to bury an ice axe belay. The long-handled alpenstock was a predecessor to the modern ice axe.

An ice axe is not only used as an aid to climbing, but also as a means of self-arrest in the event of a downhill slip.

Most ice axes meet design and manufacturing standards of organizations such as the Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA) or European Committee for Standardization. There are two classifications of ice axe, Basic (B/Type 1) and Technical (T/Type 2). Basic ice axes are designed for use in snow conditions for general mountaineering, and are adequate for basic support and self-arrest. Technical ice axes, which may have curved shafts, are strong enough to be used for steep or vertical ice climbing and belaying on such ground.

Specialized ice axes used for vertical ice climbing are known as ice tools. Ice tools have shorter and more curved shafts; stronger, sharper, and more curved picks which can usually be replaced, and often ergonomic grips and finger rests. Used in a pair one is usually equipped with an adze whilst the other has a hammer to aid gear placement.

For ski mountaineering and racing, where weight is of paramount concern, manufacturers have produced short (~45 cm [18 in]) and light (200–300 g [7–11 oz]) ice axes. Some of these have aluminum alloy heads/picks which are unlikely to be as effective or robust as steel heads/picks.

Ice tool

An ice tool is a specialized elaboration of the modern ice axe (and often described broadly as an ice axe or technical axe), used in ice climbing, mostly for the more difficult configurations. Ice tools are used two to a person for the duration of a pitch, and thus in some circumstances such as top-rope-anchored climbs, a pair may be shared among two or more people, where only one of them at a time is climbing. In contrast a classical "ice axe" is used one to a person for the hours or days a party is traveling across snow or glacier. In communities where it is common to refer to an "ice tool" simply as an "ice axe", classic "ice axes" are often referred to as "traveling axes", "walking axes", or "general mountaineering axes" to distinguish them from "tools".

In climbing of vertical ice, two tools are needed in order for the climber (supported by cramponed feet) to use each tool in turn in maintaining balance with the body's center of mass nearly straight above the toes, while repositioning the other tool to a higher level, before raising the body weight with the legs and thereby setting the stage for repeating the process.

Jean-Marie Adzé

Jean-Marie Adzé (born January 1956) is a Gabonese politician and former diplomat. He was Gabon's Ambassador to France from 2002 to 2008 and has been Mayor of Akiéni since 2008.

Adzé was born in Akiéni. He was adviser to the Director-General of the National Bank of Rural Credit from 1989 to 1991 before being appointed as Deputy Director of the Presidential Cabinet, in charge of Administrative and Political Affairs, in 1991. He was also a leader of the Association of Democrat Renovators, along with Emmanuel Ondo Methogo, in the early 1990s.Adzé retained his post as Deputy Director of the Presidential Cabinet for a decade, although his responsibilities were reduced to only administrative affairs in 1998. On 8 January 2002, he was appointed as Gabon's Ambassador to France, replacing Honorine Dossou Naki; he presented his credentials as Ambassador to France on 20 February 2002. While posted in Paris, he was also accredited as Ambassador to Portugal and Switzerland.Following the April 2008 local elections, he was elected as Mayor of Akiéni and Félicité Ongouori Ngoubili was appointed to succeed him as Ambassador to France on 6 June 2008.

List of Young Dracula characters

This article lists the characters and related details for the CBBC children's television series Young Dracula.


A mattock is a hand tool used for digging, prying, and chopping. Similar to the pickaxe, it has a long handle and a stout head which combines either a vertical axe blade with a horizontal adze (cutter mattock) or a pick and an adze (pick mattock). A cutter mattock is similar to a Pulaski.

Pulaski (tool)

The Pulaski is a special hand tool used in fighting wildfires

which combines an axe and an adze in one head. Similar to a cutter mattock, it has a rigid handle of wood, plastic, or fiberglass. The Pulaski is used for constructing firebreaks, able to both dig soil and chop wood. It is also well adapted for trail construction, and can be used for gardening and other outdoor work for general excavation and digging holes in root-bound or hard soil.

The invention of the Pulaski is credited to Ed Pulaski, an assistant ranger with the United States Forest Service, in 1911, although a similar tool was first introduced in 1876 by the Collins Tool Company. Pulaski was famous for taking action to save the lives of a crew of 45 firefighters during the disastrous August 1910 wildfires in Idaho. His invention (or reinvention) of the tool that bears his name may have been a result of the disaster, as he saw the need for better firefighting tools. Pulaski further refined the tool by 1913, and it came into use in the Rocky Mountain region. In 1920 the Forest Service began contracting for the tool to be commercially manufactured but use remained regional for some years. The tool became a national standard in the 1930s.Raising the tool above the user's head while swinging may, according to one author, waste energy and create a safety hazard.An initialed ("E.P.") tool, which purportedly belonged to Pulaski himself, is part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution at the Wallace District Mining Museum in Wallace, Idaho.

Shell tools in the Philippines

Shell tools, in the archaeological perspective, were tools fashioned by pre-historic humans from shells in lieu of stone tools. The use of shell tools during pre-historic times was a practice common to inhabitants of environments that lack the abundance of hard stones for making tools. This was the case with the islands surrounding the Pacific, including the Philippines.

Shells were fashioned into tools, as well as ornaments. From adzes, scoops, spoons, dippers and other tools to personal ornaments such as earrings, anklets, bracelets and beads. These different artefacts made of shells were unearthed from various archaeological sites from the country.

Tangaloa (Tongan mythology)

Tangaloa was an important family of gods in Tongan mythology. The first Tangaloa was the cousin of Havea Hikuleʻo and Maui, or in some sources the brother or son or father of them. He was Tangaloa ʻEiki (T. lord), and was assigned by his father, Taufulifonua, the realm of the sky to rule.

Among his offspring the following are found: Tangaloa Tamapoʻuliʻalamafoa, Tangaloa ʻEitumātupuʻa, Tangaloa ʻAtulongolongo, and Tangaloa Tufunga. But different sources disagree about the exact family relations between any Tangaloa. Tangaloa Tufunga (T. carpenter) was known as an adze maker. Tangaloa ʻEitumātupuʻa is known in Samoa as Tagaloa Eitumatupua (T. ghost and riddle; an eitu or aitu is a second rank god of somewhat malevolent nature).

The Band Apart

The Band Apart (ザ・バンド・アパート, Za Bando Apāto, sometimes abbreviated as バンアパ, and stylized as "the band apart") is a Japanese rock band formed in Tokyo in 1998. Since their formation, they have released 7 albums, 11 EPs and 6 DVDs. Their album Adze of penguin (2008) reached number 9 on the Oricon Albums Chart.

Wairau Bar

The Wairau Bar, or Te Pokohiwi, is a 19-hectare (47-acre) gravel bar formed where the Wairau River meets the sea in Cloudy Bay, Marlborough, north-eastern South Island, New Zealand. It is an important archaeological site, settled by explorers from East Polynesia who arrived in New Zealand about 1280. It is the earliest known human settlement in New Zealand. At the time of the occupation it is believed to have been a low scrub-covered island 2 to 3 metres (7 to 10 ft) high, 1.1 kilometres (0.68 mi) long and 0.4 kilometres (0.25 mi) wide.


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