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Forum topic by loiblb posted 07-19-2016 10:42 PM 548 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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loiblb

109 posts in 522 days


07-19-2016 10:42 PM

I have some wood that I think may lend itself to being worked by a froe. Never having used one I would like to ask about what to look for in one.
Thanks


13 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4036 posts in 1818 days


#1 posted 07-19-2016 10:54 PM

If you are looking for a used one, look for usual nicks on the cutting edge and look at the back edge to see if has been spalled over with a steel hammer, or plan on grinding it back if it isn’t too severe. One of the common abuses of this tool is that someone has beat on it w/ a steel hammer and that rolls the back edge so it “hangs” in the wood and makes splitting a lot more difficult or impossible.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3554 posts in 1234 days


#2 posted 07-20-2016 10:35 AM

You want it to be heavy with a good handle. The blade should be wide enough to help you with the leverage; mine is about 3-4” and certainly look for what bondo said.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

879 posts in 2284 days


#3 posted 07-20-2016 12:19 PM

Both mahdee and Bondo give good advice. If you’re lucky enough to find one used in good shape. There are not a lot of new ones to choose from. Lie-Nielsen sells one that I’ve used once, it was very nice (85$). I own the one sold by Lee Valley, which I like. It sells for $49 (and free shipping if you order it before the end of the day today). The LN one is a smaller froe, perhaps a bit nicer in the hand (designed by Drew Langsner, green wood guru), but the LV one is a nice tool.
Neither is as wide as mahdee’s (2.5 inches for the LV and 1.5 inches for the LN), but I’ve found the one I have to be adequate for chair-related splitting.
Highland woodworking sells a couple of others, including a hand-forged Gransforth-Bruks for $175 and a Peavy Company one for $59.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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mahdee

3554 posts in 1234 days


#4 posted 07-20-2016 12:28 PM

Jeremy brought up a good topic I should have asked first before giving any answer; what is it going to be used for? I bought mine to split shingles for my homestead in Alaska. It would be too bulky for splitting saplings and small diameter trees.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4457 posts in 3427 days


#5 posted 07-20-2016 12:30 PM

Or you can buy an old, hand forged, well made one from a flea seller for $15.00, put in a new handle, and go about your business.
That’s what I did, and mine is a beast.
Find a dogwood tree and cut your maul from the area including the root. You’ll be amazed as to how tough that dogwood is.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View loiblb's profile

loiblb

109 posts in 522 days


#6 posted 07-20-2016 12:32 PM

My needs are for making the English style joined stool of the 17th century. Nothing very long.
Some of my white Oak is very dry and I may have a real job working it.

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3554 posts in 1234 days


#7 posted 07-20-2016 12:35 PM

Maybe you are better off using wedges.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

879 posts in 2284 days


#8 posted 07-20-2016 01:02 PM

I haven’t found a froe to be a lot of use for splitting wood for short boards in the Follansbee style. I made a small oak kneeling/meditation stool out of green wood, but found that wedges worked better. 1-inch thick by 4-5 inch wide oak is too strong to be able to direct the split very much, which is the only advantage of a froe over wedges. But maybe if I’d gone to the trouble to make a riving brake the froe could have been more useful for this purpose.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Tim's profile

Tim

3119 posts in 1428 days


#9 posted 07-20-2016 05:00 PM

Splitting dry wood I also think would be easier with wedges. I also think that used froes aren’t common enough to waste your time looking for. Given that they are uncommon, my bet would be they are either in bad shape or more expensive than the LV and LN options. Those new options seem reasonable if you decide you really do need a froe.

I ended up making my own out of a large flat lawnmower blade and an old shovel handle. I cut off and split the metal part of the shovel that surrounds the handle and put bolts through the metal shovel part, the handle, and the free blade.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7934 posts in 1847 days


#10 posted 07-20-2016 05:52 PM



Or you can buy an old, hand forged, well made one from a flea seller for $15.00
- Bill White
If you bought one for $15 then you got super lucky or bought it a long time ago.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4457 posts in 3427 days


#11 posted 07-20-2016 08:26 PM

Yep! I’ve had this puppy for at about 20 yrs.
NO! You can’t have it. :)
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View loiblb's profile

loiblb

109 posts in 522 days


#12 posted 08-06-2016 03:05 PM

I just got the Lee Valley froe in. It is a heavy well made tool. The handle fits the blade very well.
The blade is over 1/4” thick and the eye is forged with no seam.

View Tim's profile

Tim

3119 posts in 1428 days


#13 posted 08-06-2016 08:41 PM

Good to hear, thanks for updating us on it.

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