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  • Adze?

    Hi guys in girls, I’m along time lurker here on this forum as well as other carvings sites. I’d like to thank everyone for posting of their projects and valued knowledge about carving techniques that they use as well as their experience with different tools. I’d also like to thank the mods and the form organizers for making such a beautiful resource for everyone.

    I am in my mid 40s(but feels like mid 80s), I’m looking to retire soon and hoping that I can build a small side business of selling my artwork as well as making wood carved signs. I spend about 10 to 20 hours a week doing some kind of carving or artwork, I don’t sell much at the moment but I have a lot of interest in the carving or wood-burning that I do at local gallery’s. I generally make something for friends and families anniversaries or special occasions when I can pawn off something I’ve made as a gift. I’ve been Collecting carving tools since I was a young teenager, but I’ve only just started carving again since my teenage years in the last 2 years because of health issues and not being able to get outside as much as I wanted in my spare time.

    I been looking for a few adzes and a new carving axe but I am surprised at how few manufacturers there are and how expensive most smaller blacksmith tools are. I’m considering making my own but would rather spend my time carving instead of forging. I’d appreciate any feedback on adzes that you’re using to do medium size carving sculptures and bowls.

    Thanks much! Cheers
    Jay

  • #2
    I have several adzes and another one on the bench.
    I buy blades which come with handle patterns and the rest is entirely up to me.
    It is a fact that with shipping and exchange to Canada, the blades cost me approx $100.00 each.

    You don't show where you are. North Bay Forge and Kestrel Tool are in WA. Caroboo is north here in BC.
    All my blades have come from Kestrel. I'm convinced that you really do get what you pay for.

    http://kestreltool.com/index.html

    They are used on carvings in the 24 - 64 inch range of size.
    Start with a 5" x 5" x 64" western red cedar post. Make it round.
    Is that sort of what you had in mind?

    I have the 7/75 Stubai which feels and works like a rat-rod version of an ice axe. Not at all worth the new price.
    I have a Baby Sitka elbow adze that performs really well for the rough-out work but in weight, almost too small.
    I have a D adze that is an absolute dream to use. I can even push it like a Stanley plane if I have to.
    I have a full Sitka gutter blade on the bench for a bigger, heavier elbow adze.

    AdzesB.JPGKestrel 20s.jpg
    Brian T

    Comment


    • #3
      If it's quality that you're interested in I suggest that you pay a visit to the JAPAN WOODWORKER web site. I've never been disappointed in anything that I've purchased. https://www.japanwoodworker.com/sear...&button=search

      Comment


      • #4
        I see that Japan Woodworker is selling Swiss made adzes of a very specialized sweep.
        I suggest that for all of the massive and monumental carvings, for all the typical feast dishes which originate in the Pacific Northwest,
        that PacNW bladesmiths understand the genre.
        What I've learned in the past few years is how genuinely versatile these PacNW tools have turned out to be.
        Brian T

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
          I have several adzes and another one on the bench.
          I buy blades which come with handle patterns and the rest is entirely up to me.
          It is a fact that with shipping and exchange to Canada, the blades cost me approx $100.00 each.

          You don't show where you are. North Bay Forge and Kestrel Tool are in WA. Caroboo is north here in BC.
          All my blades have come from Kestrel. I'm convinced that you really do get what you pay for.

          http://kestreltool.com/index.html

          They are used on carvings in the 24 - 64 inch range of size.
          Start with a 5" x 5" x 64" western red cedar post. Make it round.
          Is that sort of what you had in mind?

          I have the 7/75 Stubai which feels and works like a rat-rod version of an ice axe. Not at all worth the new price.
          I have a Baby Sitka elbow adze that performs really well for the rough-out work but in weight, almost too small.
          I have a D adze that is an absolute dream to use. I can even push it like a Stanley plane if I have to.
          I have a full Sitka gutter blade on the bench for a bigger, heavier elbow adze.

          AdzesB.JPGKestrel 20s.jpg
          RV thanks for the responce. this is the first time I'v looked at this site with my computer and not my tablet. I could never see Jpeg pictures( thanks apple) thanks for showing your tools. they are beautiful! Ive alwaty wanted to make some elbow adzes up never trusted the wood handle style. Has the string/cord ever come lose? I would be very interested to try a D adze. I can imagine youd get some great control up close.

          I live in central New Hampshire USa, we have some black smiths tucked away up here in the mountains but are hard do get a hold of. I would love to have a Hans Karlsson of course but would not turn my nose lesser know Smith. Im planning to get a knew carving axe as well and like to have as much of my tool from the same supplier. I do enjoy my North bay cooked knifes and was thinking of getting some of his smaller knifes if in dont have time to make them myself. Ive looked at Kestrels tools a few times. they look to like they make a quality product

          thanks for your advice
          cheers

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Eddy-Smiles View Post
            If it's quality that you're interested in I suggest that you pay a visit to the JAPAN WOODWORKER web site. I've never been disappointed in anything that I've purchased. https://www.japanwoodworker.com/sear...&button=search
            Goodmorning Eddy, I love your profile pic, your smile is very infectious! I love my pfile chisles, but have herd they still need to work on their adze, and arent the best for bolwes

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for your interest in my tools. Making and using them has been a pleasure.
              All blades are surface hafted and they don't move. Slop is a myth if you do it right.

              I have 15+ years of mallets and Pfeil gouges before I turned to the carving tools of the Pacific Northwest.
              My preference for Kestrel is because they sell all kinds of blades. And very responsive to questions.
              I need to make all the handles to fit my hands, not somebody else's ideas.

              The Japanese and Scandi designs are all wrong for versitility = you cant't do well on a convex surface
              and texturing is just about impossible when compared to the speed and ease of using a PacNW elbow adze.
              Maybe another 40-50 years experience and I'll get better at it.

              You will not find the 2-handed, dog-leg planer knives for sale anywhere. I make those up entirely for myself.
              The blades began as Mora #188 farrier's 2-edged hoof trimming knives.
              I split all my own carving wood from log sections. Then I need to smooth the surfaces for drawing.
              The surfaces always get carved away so "flat" is irrelevant. You should see a 36" curly x 1/4" shaving!

              The whipping cord is tarred #18 nylon seine line. It is wrapped so tightly that the blade deforms ever so slightly to fit the concave blade seat.
              There's no chance whatsoever for the cord to ever come loose. Same as the thread whipping for the guides on a custom fly rod.
              The steel quality is as good as or better than anywhere on earth.
              The elbow adzes are the most versitile, the heads are pegged so I never have any thoughts of damage.
              Of course, an elbow adze is a carving tool, not for hacking at firewood.
              The yellow is #18 nylon surveyor's cord which marks the "Holm Constant," an important hand placement for endurance.

              If you want to get serious beyond using farrier's knife blades, build a few elbow adzes. Mine are and will be 55 degrees.
              Some carvers like 45 degrees but I've never taken the time to fool with that. I'm using local birch for adze handles.
              What you're looking for is pre-1965 leaf spring metal from Volkswagen beetle cars.
              The other really good stuff is leaf spring metal from pre-1970 Ford F350 trucks.
              Brian T

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
                Thanks for your interest in my tools. Making and using them has been a pleasure.
                All blades are surface hafted and they don't move. Slop is a myth if you do it right.

                I have 15+ years of mallets and Pfeil gouges before I turned to the carving tools of the Pacific Northwest.
                My preference for Kestrel is because they sell all kinds of blades. And very responsive to questions.
                I need to make all the handles to fit my hands, not somebody else's ideas.

                The Japanese and Scandi designs are all wrong for versitility = you cant't do well on a convex surface
                and texturing is just about impossible when compared to the speed and ease of using a PacNW elbow adze.
                Maybe another 40-50 years experience and I'll get better at it.

                You will not find the 2-handed, dog-leg planer knives for sale anywhere. I make those up entirely for myself.
                The blades began as Mora #188 farrier's 2-edged hoof trimming knives.
                I split all my own carving wood from log sections. Then I need to smooth the surfaces for drawing.
                The surfaces always get carved away so "flat" is irrelevant. You should see a 36" curly x 1/4" shaving!

                The whipping cord is tarred #18 nylon seine line. It is wrapped so tightly that the blade deforms ever so slightly to fit the concave blade seat.
                There's no chance whatsoever for the cord to ever come loose. Same as the thread whipping for the guides on a custom fly rod.
                The steel quality is as good as or better than anywhere on earth.
                The elbow adzes are the most versitile, the heads are pegged so I never have any thoughts of damage.
                Of course, an elbow adze is a carving tool, not for hacking at firewood.
                The yellow is #18 nylon surveyor's cord which marks the "Holm Constant," an important hand placement for endurance.

                If you want to get serious beyond using farrier's knife blades, build a few elbow adzes. Mine are and will be 55 degrees.
                Some carvers like 45 degrees but I've never taken the time to fool with that. I'm using local birch for adze handles.
                What you're looking for is pre-1965 leaf spring metal from Volkswagen beetle cars.
                The other really good stuff is leaf spring metal from pre-1970 Ford F350 trucks.
                Brian thanks so much for all the useful info. Very appreciative! I’m definitely interested in that style adze now. I was going to make one a few years ago but never got around to it. I broke my springs on my ford f550. I still have those springs for make some things. My new springs which were much heavier than stock with 3 extra helper spring we’re from Mexico. I do plan on hitting a junk yard that has some old beatles for some leafs.

                Im impressed with your two handed knifes! These must be great finishing off a bowl. I’d love to give those a go
                cheers Jay

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hello Jay:
                  The leaf spring steels are what my First Nations carver friends recommend.
                  Lots of anglo carvers are willing to reject those recommendations but if you have no money. . . .. . ..
                  I was never prepared to make adzes so I bought adze blades from Kestrel.

                  Crooked knives: I assumed every carver made their own. Then I watched a FN carver using farrier's hoof knives.
                  I have made up maybe 2 dozen(?) of those? The used ones still have a lifetime of carving steel in them.
                  My kids gave me a real Kestrel 'C' knife blade for my birthday, still on the bench to be hafted.

                  The planers are the most dangerous blades I own.
                  I have been cut to the bone before I knew what was happening.
                  Proud to say that I didn't get any blood on the carving.
                  One of many reasons why I carve wearing leather gloves.

                  I suppose I could bash up a Mora #162, #163 or #164 and haft that to a 2-handed stick.
                  I have carved a lot of dishes and the regular crooked knives work OK.

                  BTW: don't get the hots to buy a Mora #164 spoon knife.
                  I hear some smells that they are going to change the design.
                  Into just what, no carvers that I know in Europe seem to know.

                  Before I forget: you can buy a 12-page booklet from Kestrel that has handle patterns for both of their Sitka elbow adzes and also the D adze handle.
                  Might be some plans for crooked knife handles also. I went to the UBC Museum of Anthropology and studied the crooked knife handles in the collection.
                  Then I went outdoors and sat on a bench and carved a prototype for myself ( I brought my own wood and tools to the museum.)
                  Last edited by Robson Valley; 03-03-2019, 02:55 PM.
                  Brian T

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
                    Hello Jay:
                    The leaf spring steels are what my First Nations carver friends recommend.
                    Lots of anglo carvers are willing to reject those recommendations but if you have no money. . . .. . ..
                    I was never prepared to make adzes so I bought adze blades from Kestrel.

                    Crooked knives: I assumed every carver made their own. Then I watched a FN carver using farrier's hoof knives.
                    I have made up maybe 2 dozen(?) of those? The used ones still have a lifetime of carving steel in them.
                    My kids gave me a real Kestrel 'C' knife blade for my birthday, still on the bench to be hafted.

                    The planers are the most dangerous blades I own.
                    I have been cut to the bone before I knew what was happening.
                    Proud to say that I didn't get any blood on the carving.
                    One of many reasons why I carve wearing leather gloves.

                    I suppose I could bash up a Mora #162, #163 or #164 and haft that to a 2-handed stick.
                    I have carved a lot of dishes and the regular crooked knives work OK.

                    BTW: don't get the hots to buy a Mora #164 spoon knife.
                    I hear some smells that they are going to change the design.
                    Into just what, no carvers that I know in Europe seem to know.

                    Before I forget: you can buy a 12-page booklet from Kestrel that has handle patterns for both of their Sitka elbow adzes and also the D adze handle.
                    Might be some plans for crooked knife handles also. I went to the UBC Museum of Anthropology and studied the crooked knife handles in the collection.
                    Then I went outdoors and sat on a bench and carved a prototype for myself ( I brought my own wood and tools to the museum.)
                    I can see using a good file for the steal in an adze. It’s kind of already the stock size needed.

                    I have ave a friend that makes up a lot of his own knifes but he’s had a hard time using a cooked knife because of his arthritis. But he’s tried the conventional smaller knife that you twist your wrist. I want him to try the north bay style.

                    I can can see why the planner adze would cause destruction on your flesh. Looks like it could be an useful tool. I don’t own a mora style knife, but I’d like too.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have not looked at more than 50 different examples of Mocotaugan knives.
                      I see that most were bashed out of files, of course, those came already with a tang!
                      I do know that the forge was a dirt-covered trench in the ground.
                      Let's face it, the eastern First Nations were straight out of the stone age, the Neolithic, and successfully forging iron.

                      Some ancient, rusty, old Nicholson junker 6" mill file ought to be perfect. I have coffee cans of them.
                      I have no desire to have one made, it is not an edge that I can apply to any carving that I do.

                      The quickest crooked knife to get the feel of is a farrier's hoof trimming knife.
                      If your local farrier tosses the worn-down ones into a box, you'fe got it made!
                      I buy them (Hall brand) for $5.00 each. New is $50.00 each.
                      Change the bevel from 25 degrees to 12 degrees and go to it.

                      Can you find a country Farm store? A Feed & Seed store? Some place that sells horse tack & rope.
                      You might even pick up a business card there from a farrier.
                      Brian T

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
                        I have not looked at more than 50 different examples of Mocotaugan knives.
                        I see that most were bashed out of files, of course, those came already with a tang!
                        I do know that the forge was a dirt-covered trench in the ground.
                        Let's face it, the eastern First Nations were straight out of the stone age, the Neolithic, and successfully forging iron.

                        Some ancient, rusty, old Nicholson junker 6" mill file ought to be perfect. I have coffee cans of them.
                        I have no desire to have one made, it is not an edge that I can apply to any carving that I do.

                        The quickest crooked knife to get the feel of is a farrier's hoof trimming knife.
                        If your local farrier tosses the worn-down ones into a box, you'fe got it made!
                        I buy them (Hall brand) for $5.00 each. New is $50.00 each.
                        Change the bevel from 25 degrees to 12 degrees and go to it.

                        Can you find a country Farm store? A Feed & Seed store? Some place that sells horse tack & rope.
                        You might even pick up a business card there from a farrier.
                        Brian I kind of feel like we could talk all day about this. The natives must have not believed what the new European settlers dumped as trash. I love old files, farrier files seem to make wonderful knifes. I think I have a few hoof knifes kicking around and for some reason I missed that’s what you used for your cooked knifes. Did you make them double edged? When you’ve got a minute I’d love to see the other side of them and hear how you attached them

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The Mocotaugan blades were ordered by the wooden barrel-fulls from the blade smiths in Sheffield England.
                          This is recorded in the Hudson's Bay Company files from 1770.
                          They are poor. Thin and flexible. That is precisely the blade that I have ( trade with a carver in England.)
                          No wonder that the First Nations bought 6" mill files and made their own out of better steel.
                          Here is some very dry bedtime reading for you:

                          http://www.mocotauganthebook.com/

                          Brian T

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Blasted software would not let go of the link!

                            I like single edges crooked knife blades.
                            You can turn them over, change hands and push on the spine with your thumb for great control of fine work.
                            If steel is a rare commodity then a double edge would be of value.

                            I guess that's the Pacific Northewest First Nations tradition.
                            They got junk for centuries (iron) on rubbish floating across the Pacific to Canada on the Japan Current.

                            Like the PacNW knives, all the blades are surface hafted. Middle hafting is a myth and also very clumsy for fine surfaces.
                            I cut the handles all at 15 degrees then traced the blade to make a relief cut-out as the blade seat.
                            The boat-tail allows you to hold your thumb up the side without so much reflex strain.
                            I like very squarish handles that show me by feel where the blade angle is.
                            The wood is a glue up of rosewood and mahogany, just to look cool.

                            OK = Will you use a couple of rivets of some sort? Kestrel uses big fat copper rivets.
                            Mora uses brass 2-piece cutlery rivets which do work loose, a little tap with a drift punch snugs them up.

                            OK = will you mix up a puddle of JB Weld epoxy and squish the blade into that?
                            After trimming, I added a whipping for cosmetic reasons. No, they have not come apart. Not ever.

                            Back to adzes:
                            Once you get a handle shape for an elbow adze, you have to figure out where to cut the blade seat.
                            So you work with a couple of hose clamps (turn the screws underneath) and move the blade in and out.

                            I'll find a knife picture, too. If the handles are all square, it's an old picture!

                            Kestrel 003.jpgHaidaA.JPG
                            Brian T

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
                              Blasted software would not let go of the link!

                              I like single edges crooked knife blades.
                              You can turn them over, change hands and push on the spine with your thumb for great control of fine work.
                              If steel is a rare commodity then a double edge would be of value.

                              I guess that's the Pacific Northewest First Nations tradition.
                              They got junk for centuries (iron) on rubbish floating across the Pacific to Canada on the Japan Current.

                              Like the PacNW knives, all the blades are surface hafted. Middle hafting is a myth and also very clumsy for fine surfaces.
                              I cut the handles all at 15 degrees then traced the blade to make a relief cut-out as the blade seat.
                              The boat-tail allows you to hold your thumb up the side without so much reflex strain.
                              I like very squarish handles that show me by feel where the blade angle is.
                              The wood is a glue up of rosewood and mahogany, just to look cool.

                              OK = Will you use a couple of rivets of some sort? Kestrel uses big fat copper rivets.
                              Mora uses brass 2-piece cutlery rivets which do work loose, a little tap with a drift punch snugs them up.

                              OK = will you mix up a puddle of JB Weld epoxy and squish the blade into that?
                              After trimming, I added a whipping for cosmetic reasons. No, they have not come apart. Not ever.

                              Back to adzes:
                              Once you get a handle shape for an elbow adze, you have to figure out where to cut the blade seat.
                              So you work with a couple of hose clamps (turn the screws underneath) and move the blade in and out.

                              I'll find a knife picture, too. If the handles are all square, it's an old picture!

                              Kestrel 003.jpgHaidaA.JPG
                              Thanks again for the great insight! Very appreciated!!! It took a little while to get used to the double sided north bay hook knifes. After a few slices on my thumb I stated using cut resistant gloves but hate wearing them. I definitely need to make up some large two handed knifes. I do some PNW flat plane totems that a two handed knife would move things along faster.

                              I forgot if if I asked, it probably needs a different thread but do you use a carving axe? I use a smaller norlund hatchet but would love a Karlsson type axe

                              Comment

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