getting a froe

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getting a froe

Postby richnfamous » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:45 am

hi

i'm looking at getting a froe but the only ones i have used have been home-made, from a leaf spring

i think a 10-12" one would suit my purposes as it needs to be portable. i'd get my mate Smiffy to make one but leaf springs are quite rare, it seems

any tips about which make to buy and where to get it would be much appreciated
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Re: getting a froe

Postby ToneWood » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:14 pm

Forum member Quercus sells some that he makes (from leaf springs I think) on ebay & his website - I quite like the sound of them (~£45-ish depending on bidding - a true market price?). There is also somebody who regularly sells some on ebay (he has 2 or 3 sizes but not always for sale at the same time) that he has made for him in England for under £20 w/o a handle (handles are pretty easy & fun to make though - but it probably helps to have access to a good reference model).

Gransfors have a good but rather expensive froe. Particularly expensive of late but the pound has strengthened considerably recently, so perhaps pricing will improve? I think the Sundqvists use Austrian Stubai froes (among others). Not sure if the froe is a traditional tool for the Swedes (anybody know?). I've haven't seen many vintage English froes but the ones I have look very ..."sensible" (I like them).

Are leaf springs really rare though? A smithy made froe sounds quite appealing, esp. if he is a pal. Reckon that might be my first choice, given the choice - might both learn something useful in the process.
Last edited by ToneWood on Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: getting a froe

Postby Billman » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:22 pm

Leaf springs are pretty rare these days, certainly on cars - but some larger vans still have them, as do most lorries - you need to find a breaker of trucks and lorries, rather than a scrap yard that just deals with cars...
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Re: getting a froe

Postby jrccaim » Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:54 am

Sigh. Nobody makes a decent froe these days. Certainly not in the USA. But wait. I got a Stubai froe about four years ago, made in Austria, and after a bit of honing it has worked like a dream. Almost anything you get will need honing these days. I got it through Lee Valley; but you might get it cheaper in Europe. Stubai makes very high-quality mountaineer's tools. You know, Ice axes and all that stuff. So I risked it and am very satisfied; furthermore it can be sharpened without recourse to diamond stones. Most modern tools are way too hard.

You do not really need a leaf spring to make a froe, if you can forge. Or even grind. You can buy tool steel in almost any size. Avoid the exotic alloys; the tempering process is a nightmare. Get O-1 (oil hardening) or W-1 (water hardening) grade. An acceptable alternative to a leaf spring is a power lawnmower blade. People throw them out all the time because they do not know how to sharpen them. This stuff is really tough. I am currently making clock gear cutters out of it and it is quite difficult to machine! But with an angle grinder for the rough shaping, and a bench grinder for the rest I could make a decent froe (I think! I am quite happy with my Stubai. Except for the handle tubes). Get the longest blade you can because they have a canted-up section that is hard to deal with. You will still need to forge out the handle loops. This is really difficult, forge-welding stuff. But if you can (MIG, TIG...) weld, or have a friend who can, he/she can weld pieces of pipe on to the blade to take the handle.
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Re: getting a froe

Postby gavin » Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:33 am

jrccaim wrote:Sigh. Nobody makes a decent froe these days.

Oh yes they do and I have one: Gransfors Bruks. It is my 'go to ' froe and I have Bristol Design and have had Ray Iles models. Get thyself Gransfors. Ignore the cost, for you'll not regret paying for one froe what you could get 2 shite ones for.
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Re: getting a froe

Postby Ken Hume » Thu Jul 02, 2015 8:38 am

I was recently given a froe made up from a 10" Ray Isles froe blade fitted with an ash handle made by Derrick Dunthorne.

Image

I plan to use this to make timber-frame pegs, larch shingles, split stock for turning, etc. and in due course will report on the performance of same.

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Re: getting a froe

Postby Billman » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:14 am

Bristol Design always carry a few froes, new ones appear to be made by Leonhard Mueller& Sohn, the Austrian edge tool maker....

http://www.mueller-hammerwerk.at/en/froe-shingle-splitting-axe-2081.html

I note one answer above mentions honing the edge of the froe... Curious, as it's not a cutting tool, it's a splitting tool, and once in the wood the crack propagates some distance ahead of the cutting edge... Unless you are using it like a French 'coutre' to pare wood, there is no need to have the edge super sharp...
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