How a Froe is Made

| 1/28/2013 2:41:00 PM

Tags: Froe, Blacksmithing, Woodworking, Splitting logs, Woodburning furnance, Axe, Forging, Plane, Tools, Jennifer Sartell,

One of the more fascinating things about blacksmithing is the process of making tools. In this respect, it is a fairly sustainable craft. Take a bit of steel, an anvil and hammer and you can make the tools to well…make more tools.The Froe blade splitting a log 

The froe is a perfect example of this useful cycle in action. First, the blade is forged and then the blade is used to make the handle that the froe will eventually attach to.  

What is a froe, you might ask? They’re not readily available in most woodworking tool supply stores, but the froe is an amazingly useful tool. The froe is used mainly to split lengths of wood along the grain; similar to an axe, but with less blunt force and more care. Where the axe uses more of a blasting action, whacking a log apart haphazardly, the froe’s long blade allows more control and with straight grain wood like hickory, you can make a beautiful, useable board. The blade is wedged into the wood, then using a mallet, the blade is driven through the log by hitting the protruding side opposite the handle.  

The popularity of the froe has been lost and replaced with more complicated electric power tools, and the availability of mill cut lumber. If you want a froe to add to your collection of traditional woodworking tools, you might consider making one yourself. The following is the process in which my husband, Zach makes a Froe.   

First, he heats a 3/8 x 2 X 18 inch bar stock in the forge.  He is using mild steel, recycled A36, which refers the amount of carbon in the steel.   

Bar stock in the forge 

Billy Joe's Food Farm
1/29/2013 5:44:12 PM

Do you sell these? I would LOVE to have one. Really great post, I've shared your article on my website, with a link back to yours.

1/29/2013 2:55:36 PM

Jennifer, I'm with you. Wielding an axe with power to split wood is not my expertise either. I usually use the axe with a light blow to start a notch in the wood and then use iron wedges and a sledge hammer to actually split the wood. I'm just not to actuate with an axe. It's fascinating to see how Zach's skills are so in touch with the pioneering ways. Just having a forge to heat metal is awesome. Is it a gas fired forge? Even though I'll never make such a thing it certainly is great to be able reading about how to do it from folks that actually do it. Have a great forging day.

1/29/2013 2:08:41 PM

That is so cool to be able to make your own tools on the farm! Your pics are great too.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening, real food and more!