I brought a straight carvers adze off ebay a while back for about £20, It was very blunt and looking pretty tired. A prime candidate for restoration.
It was clearly a good tool at some point, anything that was hand forged in sheffield is going to have a certain quality about it. You at least know the steel is going to be good.
Unfortunately I think the previous owner had used it for maisonry work, as the edge that was on there would hardly dent wood let alone cut it. It was so rounded off it basically had two bevels, so I refiled it down to a single bevel at a much shallower angle than it was before, for a better bite into the wood. Then spent considerable time shapening it up, I managed to get a decent edge in the end, will have to wait and see if it will hold it though.
The paint had to go, I'm not a fan of painted tools. Tools were generally painted to hide mistakes and flaws in the manufacturing process, but I think they add character, especially on a hand forged tool such as this.
I also dislike varnished handles, If something has a wooded handle I want to feel the wood. So I sanded it down with 40 grit, working up to 180 grit and finished with linseed oil. I didn't want to make it too smooth and reduce the grip on the tool.
The finished article
I'm definately pleased with the end result as I've changed what was essentally a paper weight into a quality working tool.