The tool known as the adze serves for smoothing rough-cut wood in hand woodworking. Generally the user stands astride of a board or log and swings the adze downwards towards her feet, chipping off a piece of wood, and walking backwards as she goes, leaving a relatively smooth surface behind. However in general it can be used for various cutting operations.

Examples of adzes from the olden days of the Maori people of New Zealand, used in their Maori wood carving, exist that are made from nephrite, also known as jade. Jade and/or stone adzes from other cultures emerge in various studies and excavations of these cultures.

More modern adzes are made from steel with wooden handles, and some people still use them extensively, probably those in semi-industrial areas, but particularly 'revivalists' such as exist at the Williamsburg cultural center in Virginia, USA. However adzes' traditional purpose has largely been replaced by the sawmill and the power-planer, at least in industrialized cultures.