Today, we are lucky to be experiencing a revival of traditional toolmaking, and there are many smiths making excellent tools. However, there has been a bit of an exception when it comes to the adze. About six months ago, I wrote a post about the shortage of quality adzes available without a long wait and what a challenge it is to make an adze that works well. Jason Lonon is up to the challenge, and I hope that it will help end some of the adze-deprived frustration out there if I mention him. But keep in mind, I don’t have any connection with Jason and he did not seek my endorsement. I just think this information may be helpful to those waiting for a good adze.
Although tools tend to build up over time, I try to keep a relatively small basic toolkit. Of course, there are lots of tools I’ve never tried. For all the bowls I have made, I have really only used two adzes — primarily the Hans Karlsson adze that I highlighted as part of my thoughts on adze design nearly a year ago. The Karlsson’s have found it difficult to keep up with the increased demand over the last couple of years, and admirably, they won’t compromise the quality of their tools in an attempt. I certainly won’t give up mine.
Recently, I bought an adze from Jason, sort of a smaller version of my HK, with a 1 3/4″ wide edge and a weight of about 24 ounces. I like this style with the shallow sweep in the middle of the edge and the raised lips that allow for a big bite. However, Jason makes adzes in different sizes and with different profiles.
Jason lives in North Carolina where he has practiced many types of woodworking in addition to blacksmithing. This background has helped him produce a tool that works sweetly. He has thought long and hard about the geometry of the head, the bevel, and how it all relates to the handle. The handle is hand carved and fitted very well. In short — this is a great adze.