Friday, November 28, 2014

New Adze Blade Reproduction

Reproduction adze: the bit is on the right end in the photo
Fresh from the workshop - a new ground slate adze head reproduction.  This is a five inch chipped, pecked, ground, and polished piece destined for a university teaching collection.  I've been working on this set for a while - hopefully I can get the rest of the pieces finished up and sent off next week.  The style of this adze is based on Maritime Archaic artifacts from Newfoundland and Labrador.  It's generally rectangular in cross section, with a slight taper towards the end opposite the cutting bit, so that it would be wedged more tightly into the adze handle and lashings as it it used.

I used a local reddish purple slate for the adze.  I like to find a piece of stone that is already close to the dimensions of the desired end product, so that I have a minimal amount of trimming to do with the hammerstone as I rough out the blank.  Although, I do like having a few big flake scars visible on the finished tool, so that you can see the processes involved in manufacturing these tools.  Those chips help make it look more like the original artifacts as well.  After chipping the rough blank,  I'll start pecking the blank with a hammerstone as early as possible to get rid of rough edges and start smoothing the freshly fractured stone.  If the piece isn't solid, I want to know that early in the process.  Usually if something like this is going to break, it happens when you are hitting it with another rock. during the early chipping and pecking stages. 

As the adze blade starts to take shape there is less chipping and pecking done, and more grinding and polishing.  Most of the effort goes into shaping the polished bit.  On an adze, you want a beveled edge close to one face, rather than having the edge lined up symmetrically down the middle, like an axe head.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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