This is the original form of the Japanese adze, used mostly by carpenters and timber framers. Before the introduction of long saws, these tools were used to rough shape timbers and planks split out of tree trunks. The timbers were then further shaped with a now archaic tool, the Yarri Kanna, which is the original form of the Japanese plane. Toshio Odate wrote in his book, "Japanese Woodworking Tools", that the adze, with the framing square (Sashigane) and the ink line (Sumitsubo) used to build a temple, were traditionally kept as treasures in the new building.
The traditional adzes we offer have straight cutting edges. One works with these tools standing up. The edges are double beveled, and so the cutting edge is in the middle of the thickness of the blade. In use, the angle at which the blade contacts the wood dictates how fine or thick the chip removed by the adze will be. Experiment for yourself to find the best angle for the different types of work. We recommend that only fairly experienced workers use these tools, and even then one should be very careful. It is too easy to take a chip not out of a beam but out of one's foot or shin when using them. Also remember that we do not sell spare handles! These adzes were manufactured by Master Takagi in Yoita, Niigata Province, one of the last remaining adze smiths in Japan.
Something to note about the wooden haft on these adzes: the bark left on the shaft to improve the grip can loosen and fall off if the tool is kept in dry conditions. This is normal, as wood is a natural product that changes over time and must be accepted as such.
At just 400 g light, with a cutting width of just 30 mm, and total lenght of 230 mm, these small adzes are the ultimate in handy little tools. As in many traditional Japanese cutting tools, the heads are made of a two-layer laminated steel - a cutting edge in hard "Hagane" steel, forged to a softer, tougher body to provide strength.
We have two models of this type of adze: one with the cutting edge outside and the bevel on the inside, and one with the cutting edge in, and the bevel out. The second model is more familiar to us, as all adzes in Europe are made with the bevel on the outside and the cutting edge inside. Given the same cutting angle, an outside bevel permits one to remove more wood at a stroke.