Some shop tools for hewing bowls

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Project by StevenAntonucci posted 04-13-2013 02:00 AM 2362 views 9 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are a couple of Northwest Indian style adzes and hook knives I made for carving bowls. The blades are forged from steel by me in my shop from leaf springs and old lawnmower blades, and hone to a razor polished edge. They cut with very little effort and leave a very nice surface. I used them to make bowls like this spalted apple rough out in the last picture.

The blades are bound with seine twine, which is impregnated with tar to withstand salt water (it is used for fishing nets). Making tools is almost as much fun as using tools…

-- Steven

9 comments so far

View murch's profile


1380 posts in 3634 days

#1 posted 04-13-2013 06:37 AM

Cool tools Steven. Agree totally about making your own. Never buy what you can make yourself.

Keep up the good work.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4344 days

#2 posted 04-13-2013 09:26 AM

Great looking tools Steven. It really pays to have metal working skills. The old time turners used to rough hollow out bowls with an adze before finish turning them on their pole lathes.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View GerardoArg1's profile


1014 posts in 3003 days

#3 posted 04-13-2013 02:12 PM

Wonderful! What treatment do you wrought? Adzes interest me, because here are not achieved. Are Indian styles? Never seen anything like it.
Very well done.

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 3063 days

#4 posted 04-13-2013 02:55 PM

great tools

-- Joel

View waho6o9's profile


8997 posts in 3586 days

#5 posted 04-13-2013 02:58 PM

Interesting, thanks for posting.

View Bluepine38's profile


3388 posts in 4095 days

#6 posted 04-13-2013 05:42 PM

Great looking small adzes. I have make my own hook knives, but had not tried an adz because I could not
figure out how to make an eye for the handle, but your method of fastening the small adz to a handle would work good for small work, so I will have to try it. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 4948 days

#7 posted 04-13-2013 11:57 PM

Some additional things for anyone making this style of adze.

1.) The irons probably need to be 1/4” and taper to an edge. Any thinner and they bend. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to have the extra weight.

2.) I set them into a groove in the top of the handle. The handles are desert ironwood, so they are pretty heavy. (Mass is good). The groove keeps the irons from twisting, and you can see that the iron stands proud of the groove so that the seine twine can contact it to hold.

3.) I also carve a little tang at the back of the adze that sits in a little groove. I was experimenting with how to hold the irons (also have one with a hose clamp). Putting the little tang at the back of the iron keeps the back end from lifting out.

If I was to take the best of the three that I made and what I have learned (and I will..I have another iron in the fire!) I would do as follows:

Shorten the handles about 3”

Heavier irons (1/4”)

Longer irons for more mass in the head and lashing surface

No screws or hose clamps (work great, looks terrible)

FYI- The amount of “metalworking skills required are very little. If you own a plumbers torch, a heavy hammer, and something to hit it on (I have a section of railroad track)... you can do this.

-- Steven

View mmh's profile


3682 posts in 4732 days

#8 posted 04-14-2013 02:51 AM

Those are some serious looking tools!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3185 days

#9 posted 04-16-2013 02:18 PM

Very interesting and beautiful tools! Great job on making such tools. Learned something new today. Thanks for sharing.

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