The adze ( f, regionally in Switzerland and Bavaria m;. Plural - s), also tow bar, adze or adze is a tool used in woodworking for losing large quantities of chips as well as for finishing and smoothing. Unlike with ax and hatchet the Journal of the adze is hafted transversely to the handle. Their cutting edge on one side at the side facing the stem is ground, and therefore the stem is inserted from the top into the conical eye and not engaged. To sharpen the stem is removed from the head. The wedge angle of the cutting edge is approximately 17 °.

Older dictionaries and part of the literature lead the masculine name of the adze, even in the spelling of adze, the modern Duden only the feminine gender, the adze (see paragraph on → etymology ).

Prehistoric adzes

To see scarf: scarf ( pre-and early history )

Adzes of flint, referred to by archaeologists as Scheibenbeil or Kernbeil, have there been since the Mesolithic period. During the first farming cultures in the Early and Middle Neolithic the adze made ​​of polished rocks ( amphibolite ) was the typical woodworking tools. Work, traces of adzes were often found on the planks LBK for wells. The narrow high Dechseltyp the band ceramic culture is also known in archaeological parlance shoe last wedge.

From Ancient Egypt pictures of stone masons have been handed down with adzes. During Roman times, the adze was represented as an attribute of the carpenter, has been handed down like a Roman grave stone from Bordeaux.


There are a number of versions with longer and shorter stem and leaves of different shapes for different purposes and work methods. They found in carpentry and shipbuilding use. Because of the position of the blade, the metallic Dechsel can be well used for the smoothing of surfaces. The small Handdechsel (size of the hatchet, not an ax ) can be found in all sorts of activities in which it comes to the crude preparation of wood - the fine work ( cleaning) is done with the hoop iron or planing. With the small adzes also find forms with hammerartigem head on the back, which are also used as a hammer ( approximately at the carpenters and coopers / Coopers ). The employment and longitudinal curvature varies (about crooked at Stellmachern, especially for saddlers, where you can also punched leather with it). Depending on the transverse curvature of the sheet a distinction is Flachdechseln for finishing ( smoothing ) and Hohldechseln for hollowing. It is also U-shaped, and for the treatment of V-shaped inner edges adzes, as with chisels analogously named. To achieve good results, the cutting edge of adzes must be extremely sharp.

For hollowing of wood ( historical use as canoes, fountain basins, wooden gutters, wooden container ) to be replaceable so far only by the saw and special freehand milling machines.

In the Rodehacke ( Reuthaue ) there is a transitional form to pick, which also is good for earthworks as for chopping roots, stumps or small timber.

In addition to the above, there are regional variations in the Dechselformen in Spain, Portugal ( there as Aleppo called ) and Greece ( with about 60 ° turned, bent or asked at an acute angle cutting ).


In carpentry especially the Adze and shaped Adze be used for woodworking. Both are available in the variants " short handle " to (see picture) to handle at chest height, and " long-stemmed " the workpiece at base height. In some places, the short adze was widespread with hammer head instead of Latthammers, since it can be both nailed and beaten and realigned the wood and aligned with it. Often these Einhanddechsel had a nail hole for pulling nails. Since the use of engine and power tools, the adze is no longer used by carpenters in the new building, but is still, for example, the restorer in carpentry and timber-frame building used occasionally. The adze gives the timber a characteristic surface structure ( chopped wood ) as it is also produced by the trimming with the Beschlagbeil.

Adzes in the Pecherei

The molds used in the pitches are very short handle to a precise work even under difficult conditions (on high ladders and close to the tree trunk ) to enable. There are two forms of these tools Plätzdechsel Fürhackdechsel and which differ by the width of the blade. While the Plätzdechsel was used with the narrow blade to with blows from top to bottom the bark of the round trunk of the tree to remove (where a broad blade would be useless due to the curvature of the trunk), was with the wide blade of the Fürhackdechsel Let ( an oblique downward groove) hacked into already excluded from the bark trunk, which then served to accommodate the pitch slits. More recently, the adze was replaced as a tool for removing the bark through the planer, which was easier to handle and with only one transverse section could pay off a large strip of bark.

Since the adzes were the most important tools of Pecher, they were also to their guild signs and can be found on the coats of arms of many places where the Pecherei was operated.

Occupational safety

Due to the sharpness of the adze and the direction of impact on the body to the use of the adze is associated with a high risk potential. Especially the long, two-handed adze aims in their strike movement to the feet and lower legs and was one of the most common causes of injury in carpentry and shipbuilding. Also the constant carrying the short adze as a universal tool of the carpenter was dangerous and is prohibited by most of today's health and safety regulations.


The work of stone with an adze can already be seen on ancient Egyptian representations. Even in Roman antiquity was this tool widespread. From the Middle Ages, however, is much more common in contemporary illustrations normal Flächbeil with cutting seen parallel to the handle, this form will be used exclusively in Germany today. In France, a multi-purpose tool of normal ax and adze under the name polka is still used today. It's used for hard to reach corners. In contrast to the wooden tools shown here, the angle between the handle and the blade stone tool is less pointed.

A common variety is the adze with serrated edge.


The term comes from Old High German dëhsa adze, dëhsala, dësla and Middle High German dëhse, dëhsel derived therefrom developed dialect also Texel, Tegsel, drawbar, Dessel, Dissel, Thistle, Daxel. Johann Christoph Adelung resulted in his first published 1774 Dictionary of the High German dialect the wood tool " tiller " on the stem, sting '= standing with the term drawbar - the restraint on the car - together. The Brothers Grimm in their name created in 1850 adze concept of the German dictionary only ahd dëhsen the stem, swing ' as best explain the sound change to " i" and "a" from the " ë ". As evidence of the flax is called swing, for which a was used "wide, the blade of a sword -like rod of iron or wood," referred to in Middle High German with dehsîsen or dehsschît. The different derivation could be responsible for that in southern Germany and Switzerland to this day - different from the dictionary - by the adze (m.) is spoken. The related Nordic name of the tool Danish " tængsel " and Variants, Swedish ( dialect) " tängsla " and Norwegian " teksle " are derived from Old Norse runic Þexla and Þæxla " ax ".

The adze in heraldry

The adze is found as a common figure in the coat of arms. This heraldic representations are also werkzeugkundlich interesting because they depict respective regional forms of adzes.