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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Default Affordable adze?

I have a few cedar logs I'd like to roughly "square off" for a landscaping project. I don't have a chain saw - it looks like an adze is the right hand tool for the job. Unfortunately, the cheapest price I've seen locally for an adze is $100. Way too much for essentially a sideways axe. Has anyone ever tried to make an adze out of a landscaping mattock? One of those can be had for about $25 around here, and I have a grinding wheel... Or is there another tool I'm overlooking that would do this job well enough without having to splash out $100?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 09:26 PM
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An old railroad (cross) tie maker that I knew told me that when they were made by hand
(around 1950-ish) they would score the log to the proper depth with a bucking saw and then use an axe to flatten them. Be aware that there two main axe types; a splitting axe for firewood and a chopping axe for this job and cutting trees down.
I have spent many hours on the end of a "Pulaski", and it would be a little blunt for what you want. You would need to taper it down, preferably all on the edge towards you. If you use a chalkline to mark straight lines and then saw to the line before chopping out the waste, you should be able to make a reasonable job of flattening them.
You will have to straddle the logs to do this so please be very alert and very careful. Never put any body parts in the line of fire. Don't take big swings. Careful measured ones work way better.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Chuck. I ended up giving it a go yesterday with my buck saw, chisel and rubber mallet, and a hand plane. I put a bunch of cuts of more or less equal depth along it with the saw, chiselled it out, and cleaned it up with the plane. It worked pretty well, would have worked even better if I had a 2" chisel. A good workout!

Maybe if I do more, I'll splurge for a real adze or chainsaw, but for a one off I think I can make do with the tools on hand.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 09:40 AM
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Default Spare adze if needed

Rob; I do not know where you live but I have 3 adzes, one I made from a track adze, and the other 2, I acquired from guys retiring from work. The track adze is modified by making it narrower and putting in a gradual bend in the blade, and reducing the size of the poll at the back end. We used adze's all the time for framing bridge timbers. You are welcome too one if you want it for future projects.

I'm located south of Hamilton if that is any help.

Michael
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bobbotron View Post
Thanks Chuck. I ended up giving it a go yesterday with my buck saw, chisel and rubber mallet, and a hand plane. I put a bunch of cuts of more or less equal depth along it with the saw, chiselled it out, and cleaned it up with the plane. It worked pretty well, would have worked even better if I had a 2" chisel. A good workout!

Maybe if I do more, I'll splurge for a real adze or chainsaw, but for a one off I think I can make do with the tools on hand.
Yep, more than one way to skin the proverbial cat. I have used a sharp faller's axe and pushed and pulled it like a draw knife with the occasional chop to do the same job a few times, although I did my scoring with a chainsaw. I made a machete out a car spring years ago and it worked pretty good for that too.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-27-2012, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cayuga Kid View Post
Rob; I do not know where you live but I have 3 adzes, one I made from a track adze, and the other 2, I acquired from guys retiring from work. The track adze is modified by making it narrower and putting in a gradual bend in the blade, and reducing the size of the poll at the back end. We used adze's all the time for framing bridge timbers. You are welcome too one if you want it for future projects.

I'm located south of Hamilton if that is any help.

Michael
Hi Michael,

I'm in Ottawa. Thanks for the offer - I think I'll be ok for this job, but thanks for the offer, that's kind of you.
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