Adze Article

Fine Woodworking Magazine gave me a chance to write about adzes and the article is in the current issue, just out, in case you’re interested. I focused on the concepts, as I understand them based on my experience, that allow a hollowing adze to work sweetly along with some techniques to shape yours up accordingly.

What is the effect of raising or lowering the angle of the outer bevel? How does your swing and handle affect the orientation of the cutting edge to the wood? Understanding such things will help you evaluate various adzes for the work you plan to do and/or make adjustments to the one you have.

The article centers around principles, rather than specific brands or makers. I certainly haven’t been able to keep up with the adzes offered by an increasing number of talented blacksmiths recently. I have no direct experience with most of their adzes, although some look good to me from the photos I’ve seen.

I had the pleasure of working with Fine Woodworking editor Barry Dima on this one, and it was a great experience. He and the rest of the FWW team brought everything together beautifully — and they even let me draw some pictures.

The rest of issue #285 is filled with gems: Pete Galbert with a brilliant treatise on spokeshaves, a sweet desktop organizer design from Mike Pekovich, milk paint technique on bowls by Mark Gardner, and lots more. I’ll be learning plenty.

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18 Responses to Adze Article

  1. dchernoff says:

    Your article and Peter Galbert’s are great and more than enough reason to purchase the issue of FWW if one doesn’t already have a subscription. Wonderful artwork on the illustrations btw!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barry Gordon says:

    I’m not a reader of FWW but believe I will follow dchernoff’s recommendation and purchase a copy, primarily for your article, but for Peter Galbert’s on spokeshaves too. Are those your drawings Dave?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barry Gordon says:

    I read again, more carefully ,and see that they are (your drawings)! At the scale of the images shown above they’re reminiscent of Eric Sloane. I hope you find that to be a compliment.


    • Dave Fisher says:

      Thanks, Barry. Like many folks, I’ve long admired Eric Sloane’s work, so I appreciate the compliment. Although I didn’t have him in mind when I drew the illustrations. The originals were drawn larger, but scaled down to fit the layout at FWW. They did a great job.


  4. Paul Anderson says:

    Thanks for the heads up Dave. I will have to go find a copy to purchase. I look forward to your insides.


  5. Steve Gardner says:

    Another great article in FWW to follow the many others by Dave Fisher. I started carving spoons and bowls after finding you online a few years ago. My limited experience has emphasized how talented and creative you are! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jed Dillard says:

    Another good one and a great reminder of what you showed in Tampa.
    Pictures are better for the way mind works.
    If and when it does

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Peter Bion says:

    Hi Dave:

    My timing couldn’t be worse, maybe I should have waited, I already purchased a Hans Karlsson Adze as per your suggestion but I am looking forward to your article in Fine Woodworking Magazine.

    Peter J. Bion

    BCG Construction Ltd.

    1825 San Juan Ave.

    Victoria, B.C. V8N2J1

    Phone: 250-386-7755

    Fax: 250-386-4430

    Cell: 250-361-6502


    • Dave Fisher says:

      Let me put you at ease, Peter. If you got your hands on a Hans Karlsson adze, you won’t regret it. You should NOT have waited. The article will only enhance your understanding of such a well-made tool.


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  9. Bob Easton says:

    Just modified my adze handle. It’s much better now!
    I left your FWW article on my bench for a few weeks while completing another project, and finally got back to it and fixed my adze today. I’ve known from the start that his adze had a handle that was way too long. Beautiful forging and smith work, but a handle so long that it was actually interfering at times, keeping the head from rotating as much as I wanted. Your “get the hang” geometry gave me enough reason to severely amputate the original handle.

    VERY much better now. THANKS!


  10. Dave Fisher says:

    Great to hear that, Bob. Thanks for letting me know. That is a pretty common problem, even on tools like you’ve described where the metal work has been done so well. Glad yours is working better now!


  11. Byron Channon says:

    Your writing translated the physical aspect and the mental grasp of the most efficient use of the adze into a concept that I could really visualize as I was reading and imagining my adze in my hand. I took your article with me when I went out to my shop and it was very helpful when I used my adze on some practice wood. Your explanations are much like your drawing and your wood work; very well thought out and detailed, yet efficient and sufficient.

    Liked by 1 person

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