adze, tool similar in purpose and use to an axe but with the cutting edge at right angles to the handle rather than aligned with it. The details of construction of a particular adze will depend on its intended application. Some types have a single cutting edge with the rear side of the head formed into a hammer or a picklike tool. Other types have a head with two identical cutting edges back to back. The principal use of the adze is in dressing and squaring large timbers. However, since these two processes are now usually performed by machine tools in factories, the adze is no longer commonly used.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.