A hand tool for cutting wood, originally with a head made of flint (in the Stone Age), later of copper then iron. The arched head is set crosswise to the handle (cf. axe) so that it has a chipping, planing or sculpting action, useful for many purposes. For instance, the adze was commonly used to make square-section or wany beams from roundwood logs before the advent of saws.

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
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