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Adzes
Imagine a world with no knives or cutting blades made out of metal. This was the world of the Hawaiians. The primary tool for cutting, chopping, forming and shaping was the stone adze (adz). On a grand scale the adze was used for cutting trees and shaping canoes. On a smaller scale, the adze was used to carve idols, shape calabash bowls and cut plant material. The Bishop Museum has adzes in their collection from almost two feet down to an inch. Adzes were made out of dense basalt. The finest were made at the Mauna Kea quarry on the Island of Hawaii. This preserved area shows evidence of large-scale quarry, which had permanent workers. Mauna Kea black adzes are among the most prized. Their cutting edge could be razor sharp. The following Adzes are but a few samples. The Hawaiian Adze is unique among Pacific cultures and is called a hafted adze. The adze would be fastened to a special handle that would enable the user to swing it in a cutting motion. Sometime the adze would be fastened at the end of a stick and used like a chisel. Other adze were in fact fashioned like chisels and hit with a stone. Along with the Poi Pounder, the adze was the Hawaiian's most important stone implement.
Small Hawaiian basalt adze. Approximately 3" Small Hawaiian basalt adze approximately 2.5"
Small Hawaiian basalt adze. Approximately 3"
A collection of four hafted Hawaiian adze the longest being 10." View is looking at the top of the adze with blades facing up.
A side view of four hafted Hawaiian adze the longest being 10".
A 10" Hawaiian hafted adze. This substantial adze could have been used for canoe building and cutting. Most likely this adze came from the Mauna Kea Quarry.
This adze is approximately 9" long and is made from gray basalt. It comes from Maui.
This 6" Hawaiian hafted adze is from Oahu.
This 8" Hawaiian hafted adze is from Kauai.
This is a photo of a Hawaiian adze on a handle.
This is a photo of a Hawaiian adze chisel.
The Gallery at Hawaiian Stones & Artifacts
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Email:hawaiiancollectibles@gmail.com