How long should a froe BE?

discussion of anything related to tools

Moderators: jrccaim, Bob_Fleet, gavin, Robin Fawcett, HughSpencer

How long should a froe BE?

Postby Andrea L Willett » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:35 am

With all tooing and froeing :oops: (sorry, couldn't resist) that's been on the list lately, I've decided I probably need a froe sometime very soon. Having tried to match the prices on-line against my wallet it wasn't too hopeful until I found a thread in the greenwood working forum on http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/ which was talking about making them from the eye leaf of an old spring pack. Much closer to my budget.

Down the road and round the corner I went to Spark's Trailers (the ones at work being truck springs, 4"wide by 12-16mm thick material seemed a wee bit excessive) and asked, pretty please, might they have an old eye leaf or spring pack with an eye leaf in their scrap metal bin. They did and helpfully lifted it into the back of the station wagon and away I went. Our mechanics are going to pull the eye leaf out and press the bushes out of the eyes this afternoon which will leave me with an eye leaf 70mm wide by about 7mm thick with an eye at each end so I can make 2 froes. This brings me to the pertinent question: How long should I get them to cut the froes?

Andrea whose favorite price is free
Andrea L Willett
Regular
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 2:20 pm
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby RangerKris » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:07 am

I would say 12 inch is about max i would use, Depending on what you plan on splitting i guess i have a small froe ans used wedges to split larger stuff at the moment. sounds like you shoud get 2 good froes from your find at the scrap yard please show a picture when there done
RangerKris
Regular
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:27 am
Location: Capstone Country Park Gillingham Kent

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby Andrea L Willett » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:24 am

RangerKris wrote:I would say 12 inch is about max i would use, Depending on what you plan on splitting i guess i have a small froe ans used wedges to split larger stuff at the moment. sounds like you shoud get 2 good froes from your find at the scrap yard please show a picture when there done

Hello Kris!

Whatever European woods I can get my hands on. How long is your small froe?

Here it is so far.

Froe 001a.jpg
The spring pack
Froe 001a.jpg (13.86 KiB) Viewed 13726 times

Froe 002a.jpg
The eye leaf
Froe 002a.jpg (14.2 KiB) Viewed 13724 times


Andrea
Andrea L Willett
Regular
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 2:20 pm
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby Mark Allery » Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:33 am

Hi Andrea,

thanks for raising this - I find it an interesting subject. As I do some coppicing as well as turning I tend to use froes in cleeving breaks as well as for simple splitting of straight grained woods.

I will try to post some pictures of my froes this evening. I have one original froe and 3 or 4 recently made froes - mainly from car or landrover springs by blacksmiths. Recently a good friend of mine who is a local blacksmith made a froe from an old landrover spring and we discovered a number of things in the process.

I've often thought of doing as you are - but never got around to it, and given all my old springs to the blacksmiths instead.

All of the froes made from old springs that I have come across have been forged by blacksmiths and not reused the eye of the spring. This is because when levering the wood in a break the symmetry of the eye is important in being able to apply subtle pressure on both sides. I imagine an offset eye (as on the end of the spring) would be harder to use on a break, but for straight cleeving of straight grained wood it should not be a big problem. Most of the car spring froes have been a narrower gauge than my original froe - but with your truck spring it does sound like you should have a better solution. Again the gauge is only really an issue for putting levering pressure onto larger wood -rather than straight splitting.

Additionally the tempering of the reused metals has often been wrong - resulting in me either bending or breaking the froes in use. I think this is a combination of the gauge and the reforging, but in your case if you are not reforging it this is not likely to be a big issue. However you are going to have to put a bevel on the tool. If you aren't going to forge it you will most likely need to grind it - with the metal hard as it is this will be an effort. I've seen a lot of froes recently with too narrow a gauge and to low a bevel angle - ie not enough shoulder on the bevel. The froe is primarily a splitting and levering tool and should have a relatively high bevel angle more like a splitting maul and not be sharpened as a blade. The main danger when you put the bevel on it is that you will overheat the metal and lose its temper as you do so - so you may end up softening the bevel and edge inadvertently - so keep the temperature down if you can. One method of doing this is to grind with water - if not possible then grind for short periods of seconds and quench often in water. If you see colour changes on the bevel metal (straw or bluing) or even glowing then you are overheating the bevel.

When all is said and done though I doubt that this will matter for simple splitting of short lengths of straight grained wood.

On the length - the tool needs to be easy to use and does not need to extend all the way across the diameter of wood to be split. As was said by Kris if the wood is wider than 10 or 12 inches then it's often better to use wedges (I use old axe heads) than your froe. So a 10 inch froe should be more than sufficient, especially if the spring material is heavy stuff. You see old froes in all sorts of blade lengths, from 4 inches through to massive, but the most common appear to be between 8 and 10 inches. If in doubt have the 2 cut to different lengths - and remember its easier to cut one down than to lengthen it!

I think thats more than enough blathering from me, I look forward to seeing how yours turn out and will try to post some pictures of mine this evening,

cheers

Mark
Polelathe Turner, Woodsman & Green Woodworker. Demonstrations and Coppice Products
http://woodlandantics.wordpress.com
woodland.antics@virgin.net
User avatar
Mark Allery
Regular
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 5:50 pm
Location: Lynchmere, Western Weald

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby SteveW » Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:42 am

Funnily enough, I was thinking about posting some alternative Froe ideas myself the other day...

Leaf springs, like yours would be a good start as the eye is already formed and they have only to be cut to size and a handle fitted to start work, old large Strap hinges would work for much the same reasons. if you have access to a welder, you can make a quick and easy Froe from some suitable sizes pipe ( scaffold pole works)and a blade from thickish steel of some kind, maybe an off-cut from one of your springs or even some angle iron ground on the angle to make a flat plate.Garages will usually do you a weld for nothing or next to nothing if you ask them nicely and all the bits are easy to find and cheap or free.
Now I know this Froe will not be as fine in finish as a shop bought one, but it will last a fair few years and be easy to replace when needed.

Alternatively if you do a bit of Forging, you can make a simple Froe in just a few heats.
SteveW
Regular
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:23 pm
Location: North Cornwall

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby RangerKris » Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:12 am

My smaller froe is blade 6inch long and ideal for smaller stuff
RangerKris
Regular
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:27 am
Location: Capstone Country Park Gillingham Kent

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby woodness sake » Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:15 pm

The length depends on what you will be splitting the most. I have one (got from ebay for a reasonable price) that is about 16 inches long and was probably originally used to split shingles. The extra length and weight comes in handy for splitting difficult wood as I have the protruding end to whack in order to drive it farther down the split. I have never had much success in such cases with trying to lever the wood apart but once I can get the froe about half the way through, I give the billet a good whack on the outside and it pops apart.
You do need a little bit of sharpness at the edge to get a bite into the wood and a wood club to strike it with. Dogwood is a favorite club wood here or a root burl from a sappling could be used. Unfortunately, mine was struck with some sort of metal hammer which mushroomed the back edge. I had to waste some of the blade to get a flat surface that doesn't get stuck when it gets buried as above.
Gotta split now. Time for work. Good hunting.
User avatar
woodness sake
Regular
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:59 pm
Location: hartly, Delaware USA

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby Mark Allery » Tue Oct 21, 2008 7:45 pm

Hi Andrea,

here are most of the froes currently in my collection. You can see that they are all 10 inch blade or less by the 1 ft steel rule. The old one at the bottom is the one that I use all the time. It has the right weight and balance for me, and is long enough for most uses. The others are all made from car springs, the thin one I snapped and had to reweld, the other 2 I bent. I will be moving them onto to more considerate homes in due course,


S5001763.JPG
S5001763.JPG (254.49 KiB) Viewed 13626 times


good luck and let us know as soon as you give it a try,

cheers

Mark
Polelathe Turner, Woodsman & Green Woodworker. Demonstrations and Coppice Products
http://woodlandantics.wordpress.com
woodland.antics@virgin.net
User avatar
Mark Allery
Regular
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 5:50 pm
Location: Lynchmere, Western Weald

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby Andrea L Willett » Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:49 pm

Mark Allery wrote:Most of the car spring froes have been a narrower gauge than my original froe - but with your truck spring it does sound like you should have a better solution. Again the gauge is only really an issue for putting levering pressure onto larger wood -rather than straight splitting.

Hello Mark!

Actually I’d still class this as a H/D car or ute spring. I sell parts for heavy commercial vehicles & the springs I sell start at 8mm and go up to 18mm before we even get to parabolics. That’s why I had to go around the corner to Sparksies. There were no spring packs in our scrap metal bin at the moment under 12mm.

Mark Allery wrote:I've seen a lot of froes recently with too narrow a gauge and to low a bevel angle - ie not enough shoulder on the bevel. The froe is primarily a splitting and levering tool and should have a relatively high bevel angle more like a splitting maul and not be sharpened as a blade.

Given that the material is 7mm thick and I’m not very good with angles as such; How many millimetres from the edge would you recommend I mark the line I’m going to grind to?

Mark Allery wrote:On the length - the tool needs to be easy to use and does not need to extend all the way across the diameter of wood to be split. As was said by Kris if the wood is wider than 10 or 12 inches then it's often better to use wedges (I use old axe heads) than your froe.

RangerKris wrote:My smaller froe is blade 6inch long and ideal for smaller stuff

OK, I cut the leaf into 6” and 12” proto-froes yesterday lunchtime at work. Here’s what I’ve got at the moment.

Froe 004a.jpg
Proto-froes with 6" and 12" blades, 7mm thick and 70mm wide
Froe 004a.jpg (36.57 KiB) Viewed 13519 times

Grinding next.

Andrea
Andrea L Willett
Regular
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 2:20 pm
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby Mark Allery » Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:51 pm

Hi Andrea,

Most of the bevels I have seen seem to be around 1/2 inch or so in depth. I doubt its that critical except that a bevel that is too deep would act less as a wedge and more as a cutting tool and I suppose that a shorter bevel will mean removing a bit less metal.

The images look good to me - I think the short froe looks very handy. I look forward to seeing them in use. I will have to give it a try as well - but I only have the Landrover springs to work with,

cheers

Mark
Polelathe Turner, Woodsman & Green Woodworker. Demonstrations and Coppice Products
http://woodlandantics.wordpress.com
woodland.antics@virgin.net
User avatar
Mark Allery
Regular
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 5:50 pm
Location: Lynchmere, Western Weald

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby gavin » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:40 pm

woodness sake wrote: The extra length and weight comes in handy for splitting difficult wood as I have the protruding end to whack in order to drive it farther down the split.


I have the Gransfors 300 mm froe and another shorter one approx 250 mm. I always use the Gransfors. It is at least 10 mm wider than the other froe, as well as being longer.

Being able to hit BOTH sides of the log makes the process much easier. If your club is 50 mm diameter, you can split logs up to 200 mm diameter with 50 mm of froe protruding either side. I split a lot of 200 mm logs for bowls, so I'd recommend a least one long 300 mm froe in your arsenal. To go any longer than this though demands really easy splitting timber, free of knots, to allow a froe to be used. Otherwise you are better with an old ax head or splitting wedges.

woodness sake wrote: I have never had much success in such cases with trying to lever the wood apart but once I can get the froe about half the way through, I give the billet a good whack on the outside and it pops apart.

Since I made a cleaving break, I am astounded at just how much better this is for riving any work that you can set into it.
I'd heartily recommend you make one.
Gavin Phillips


- teacher, demonstrator & supporter of greenwoodworking & human-powered turning
- Supplier of Fun & Confidence

info@shed-therapy.com
http://www.shed-therapy.com
User avatar
gavin
Regular
 
Posts: 1595
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 4:17 pm
Location: Dalbeattie, near Dumfries, Scotland

froe and riving brake

Postby Follansbee » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:09 am

I've been reading the froe thread, and meaning to chime in. I think that the ideal length depends on what you're splitting. the blade needs to be longer than the width of the stock you are splitting. If the tip of the froe's blade is buried within the stock, you can ruin the stock by having it break 90 degrees from your intended splitting plane. This is particularly critical when trying to split wide-faced stock like the panels I use in joined furniture. These panels are about 10" wide.
Image


I have several friends who swear by froes made from springs, or flat stock, etc. I have used them, they work, but I prefer a smith-made froe. Mine are usually old ones. The two examples pictured are about 10-12" long, beyond the eye. They are wedge-shaped, right from the thick back, thus no bevel to really speak of. One of these I lost when an apprentice tried to split stock that was too thick, I forget if it broke or just bent...but it's gone. I bought the next one on ebay, about 8 years ago. I doubt I spent more than $40 for it...
Image


Gavin mentioned the benefit of using a riving brake, and I use one for all my longer stock, say anything over 2 feet...the one I use is a tripod with 2 cross pieces nailed or bolted to the front legs of the tripod. The lower of these rails is set horizontally, and the upper one meets the lower at one end, and rises up at the other end. this creates the fork you jam your stock into. the advantage of this over the first brakes I learned about is that the stock is held horizontally, thus you can exert pressure straight downwards. works great. I'll get better pictures next time I'm out riving some oak.
Image
Follansbee
Regular
 
Posts: 156
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 7:26 pm
Location: Kingston, Massachusetts USA

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby Robin Fawcett » Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:23 am

Anyone know what happened to Matt Sears ? I got in touch with him after seeing details in Mike Abbott's book "Green Woodwork" and bought a very nice froe.

I think he was John Brown's son and got fed up trying to scratch a living in Pembrokeshire so went to seek his fortune in the USA . . .
http://www.facebook.com/GreenWoodwork?ref=tn_tnmn[url=http://www.treewright.co.uk/]
Green woodwork courses, treen, demonstrations & talks http://www.treewright.co.uk[/url]
User avatar
Robin Fawcett
Site Admin
 
Posts: 974
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:47 pm
Location: Essex/Herts/London

Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby ToneWood » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:38 pm

Moved new brake post to new more specific thread: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2424&p=19193#p19193
(& unable to delete this post).
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: How long should a froe BE?

Postby jrccaim » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:20 am

Somehow missed this thread. How long should a froe be? Good question! I see all kinds of interesting answers. My own opinion: depends on what you want to do with it. Are you trying to split logs, say for chairs? Are you trying to split a cedar (or other wood) log for shingles? Are you trying to make baskets , and splitting "splints?" All of these applications really want a different length of froe. An "all-around" froe is probabably 30-45cm length. The proverbial foot. I've got a 45 cm froe. I have split quite a few logs with it! But it is too big for some purposes, such as splitting say 15 cm for tool handle stuff. So I need something about 20 cm long, maybe even less. I will make my own; "never buy anything you can make, and never make anything you can find, as George Dyson says. A "basket froe" it was called in olden (USA) times, because basket-weavers used it. General recommendation: figure the largest thing you want to split. Add 2-3 cm to that. Bob, as they say, is your uncle. Be prepared to suffer frustration as your froe is too big/too small for the log you have to split.
User avatar
jrccaim
Regular
 
Posts: 1082
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:53 am
Location: Willow, Alaska USA

Next

Return to Tools

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests