Reply by Tim

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Posted on Bandsaw alternatives (axe/froe, etc)

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3812 posts in 2202 days

#1 posted 04-27-2014 05:50 PM

A froe is useful for riving (splitting) longer pieces along the grain lines. You use the handle as a lever and you can direct the split either to the thinner or thicker side to some extent. Without a froe your split is going to run out to the thinner side because it’s weaker.

But if you don’t need longer thinner pieces then an axe and maybe a maul and some wedges could do fine. Depends on what you have. You can use an axe head as a wedge with a large wooden or even rubber mallet or wooden club and drive it into the end of a piece you want to split. Then you can use gluts (wooden stakes you use as wider wedges) to further widen the split if needed.
Curtis Buchannan does a lot of riving and splitting with wedges and gluts in his series, but be aware he doesn’t really follow safety recommendations.

Or if you’re preparing bowl blanks you can definitely chop them with an axe. Watch Ben Orford talk about it here:
But you see even he cut out the blank on a saw.

Oh and lastly even the Lie Nielsen froe is only $85. Depends on what’s in your budget, but at least it’s not $400 like a new plane.

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