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

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

Postby ToneWood » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:05 pm

[Originally posted on this old thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=638&p=19187#p19187 ]

Gavin, do you have a picture of your riving/cleaving/bodger's brake/break? I don't really have room for one as grand as Peter's. I've come across one design - http://allanshepherd.wordpress.com/2008 ... rdle-gate/ - that uses 3 vertical posts arrange in a triangle, with 3 cross-bars; the simplest and least costly (in terms of good wood required) I've so far come acroos but can't help thinking that it could be further simplified but perhaps the extra pole(s) are for strength/rigidity.

Here is one that is like a cross between the 2 designs mentioned above: http://www.hiltonhandcraft.com/BodgerTools.asp (not proper boy scout lashings though :().
Another, similar, using thinner rounds: http://www.westoverwoodlands.co.uk/Clea ... itting.htm

I'm wondering if I could make one with just 2 fairly large diameter vertical poles (rounds with the bark on) driven into the ground and just 2 cross-beams (flats from pallets or smaller diameter rounds): one horizontal (per Peter's) on the front and the other on the back, sloping down (again, per Peter's). Alternatively I have several old wooden ladders (at least one should be scrapped for firewood now), wondering if I might be able to use one of those flat on the ground, vertically or sloping.
Last edited by ToneWood on Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby Paul Thornton 2sheds » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:42 pm

ToneWood wrote:
I'm wondering if I could make one with just 2 fairly large diameter vertical poles (rounds with the bark on) driven into the ground and just 2 cross-beams (flats from pallets or smaller diameter rounds): one horizontal (per Peter's) on the front and the other on the back, sloping down


That ll work, that's how I have done hundreds of metres of riven oak rails. Bosched it up as a temporary measure, it worked, it stayed.
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby ToneWood » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:45 pm

:D Thought I hadn't saved this thread (added same post to an old thread). But I got the answer I was looking for, thanks Paul. :)

BTW Just came across this novel brake: http://www.dalzielbarn.com/pages/TheFarm/Tools.html - go to the froe section and click-on the phrase "drawing by C. W. Jeffreys".
Image
Presumably the Y-shape crotch piece is moved forward to clamp the block - and is also a seat :)
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby gavin » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:34 am

I assert this is no cleaving brake. The material sketched must split very readily and be straight-grained and knot-free. I think it is simply a way to hold the work and stop having to bend and pick it up. If he had had a car tyre of the right size, you'd see that in the sketch instead - tho' it would not look so cute.
Image
You want the thick side between you and the blade to prevent run-out . This sketch has the thin side toward the worker.
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby ToneWood » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:26 am

gavin wrote:...You want the thick side between you and the blade to prevent run-out . This sketch has the thin side toward the worker.
Good point, they say "froe towards the fat".
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby ToneWood » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:02 pm

I've got some heavy, quite long spas may 4-10" diameters, which are quite awkward to move around. I'm wondering if a floor-based brake like Curtis Buchanan's on youtube might be easier for dealing with these
e.g http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTQ2PWVw6ZE
His advice:
"Turn the weak side up"
"..you put pressure on the strong side"
"...always push down on the froe",
"..the run...dive(s) down"

I've got some big thick planks of "pitch pine" (which I was saving for my shave/bowl-horse) and some thick dowel (an old curtain rod I think) which would make a shorter version. Also came across a Japanese one that uses a big log on the floor, with an undercut slot cut into it to hold the end of the workpiece. Something to experiment with tomorrow - if it doesn't rain too hard (some hope!).

Another froe brake (Jack Hargreaves coppicing video, at the 15.00 minute mark): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Bl1HQg7aCo
And a draw knife brake at 16:00 min & 17:40.
If you look closely at 17:14, it looks to me like the 2 brakes are one and the same, just using opposite side of the brake for different purposes. The design is like the triangular design above, except with one vertical + one cross bar are replaced by a single sloping pole.
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby Andrew » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:37 pm

In that first video by Curtis he talks about discarding the sap wood and keeping the heart wood, is that not the exact opposite of usual practice?
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby ToneWood » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:13 pm

I thought he made a point of using both but pointed out that the sap wood was almost but not quite as good/strong as the heart wood. In my (quite limited) experience, the heart wood is the main thing, the sap wood around the outside is a bit softer & wetter but still used, the centre pith is soft & should usually be removed.

I left a bit of pith in the handle of one lime wood/basswood spoon that had a hook but the pith was so soft I scraped it out afterwards, which left a novel tube through the hook of the handle. Usually best to cut out the pith at the start though. I did that with my current oak bowl.
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby Andrew » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:42 pm

My greenwood working and pole turning experiences are extremely limited but on the occasions that I have used and seen people using a lathe they always have discarded or cut away I suppose the heart wood and just turned the sap wood at the edges of the log.

There are 50 odd excellent looking videos in that series and I haven't watched them all but they document the making a chair now it may be that when making a chair you use the heart wood, but Mike Ashton was showing me the pole late basics at the BB this year and he was joint winner of best in show for his chair!
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby emjay » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:07 pm

Is it possible that in the illustration he's splitting slate and not wood?
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby ToneWood » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:08 pm

Interesting idea. I saw a guy on TV who is running an old slate quarry, I think in the Lakes, single handed. He was splitting slates manually, I can picture him doing it but I can't recall the details of what he used. I doubt it though, I would think he probably used a cold chisel & mallet.

Re. sap wood, is it possible that the turners carved out the heartwood simply because they were making bowl and had to remove volume from the middle to make a bowl? I thought turners could carve anything, including rock hard old pallet wood. I've come across 2 popular approaches to hand carving bowl (rather than using a lathe), which might provide some insight. Both involve splitting the log/round in half first, then:

1. Normal method is to remove the pith and ensure the flat face is flat & level, then carve out the middle with an adze. I guess the sides will usually be sapwood, to make the most of the log's width & depth. The bottom may be sapwood (if left rounded) or heartwood (if flattened). The ends, which are usually left thicker than the sides, will be likely be both heartwood and sapwood, mostly heartwood though.

2. Less common but not uncommon: place the flat side down and carve in from the rounded, bark covered side. This involves cutting through the sap wood and then hollowing out the heartwood underneath. With this approach the top rim and handle of the bowl would likely be sap wood while most of the sides and bottom would be heartwood.

For a given piece of wood, I would expect #1 to yield a bigger, wider bowl & less waste. #2 will look different (often long & slim) and would typically include long handles, to make best use of the available long, slim top surface. Both approaches use both sapwood and heartwood without really discriminating between them - the real concerns are making best use of the wood and carving a pleasing bowl shape.
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby jrccaim » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:40 am

Ah, ToneWood, you have really started something here. There are almost as many brake designs as there are shaving horses! Simplest one is a tree fork impaled on two crossed poles. Traditional Appalachian (and they didn't invent it. They got it from England) style. This is what I use. Got it from Drew Langsner's book. Fast forward to contemporary times, and we have Peter Follansbee's Rolls-Royce (OK, Cadillac or Mercedes-Benz for nationalistic readers) splitting brake. If you go to his site and get his blog, search for "splitting brake" and you will get it. It is unfortunate that two common words are used for a single object. So you spelt it break/brake and this is a Good Thing(TM :)) because spelling is the bane of the English language. I will spell brake. It stops the wood from moving, just as the brake on a car stops it. But break is just as valid.

Object of a splitting brake is to hold the wood, namely a log, stationary at a convenient height while you apply the froe to it. There are lots of ways to do this. So there are lots of designs and ideas. All valid. In my very biased opinion, I think you should not build a Rolls before you build say a Model T ford. If the Model T does the job for you why waste your time? If you do a lot of splitting, be like software and upgrade from Version 0.1. So start with fork/crossed pole and work up. Just me. If you want a Roller, go ahead!

One last point. The gentleman in the pictures is splitting shingles from a short log, say 30 cm. This is a highly commendable activity but it ain't the same thing as riving a longer log. Different technique, and different brake. In fact most people I have read about use the good old ground as a splitting brake to split shingles. Works fine if your log has one square edge. Never done it; wooden shingles in Alaska are fire hazards.
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby ToneWood » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:19 pm

jrccaim wrote:... and we have Peter Follansbee's Rolls-Royce (OK, Cadillac or Mercedes-Benz for nationalistic readers) splitting brake...
I believe Peter claims English heritage and has always lived in New England, so cadillac/Roller might be appropriate.

I have a Y-shaped crotch piece of wood available, sycamore. I'll have to have a play with that - it's a reduction of 1-piece from the simple 2 post design! I can't quite picture it though. I've been to the Smoky Mountains (Appalachians), lots of distinctive hickory rocking chairs (possibly Amish) and witches' brooms (besums?) - the mother-in-law bought one (true).

I made an improvised ground-based brake this morning (image to follow) using a v. small but thick & heavy pallet that my wood-burner came on several years ago. I used it to split some birch, ranging from 5-foot to almost 8 foot long. Ranging from 3"-9" diameter, mainly about 4"-7". I had place the brake at the foot of a flight of steps so I could reach to top of the wood :D. The pallet was a bit to light, so I stuck a big chunk of wood on the back (which was formerly my drilled "bee haven" :D). The brake worked brilliantly for the first and longest piece - which split in halves. The next more gnarly piece split towards the upside, from both ends :(. The third piece was quite thick, had more knots and was generally more gnarly but it split ok but took some care and patience towards the much thicker end. I tried to split the thickest piece again but I got stuck near the end, which wouldn't sit in properly in the brake and by that point I was already stripped down to my T-shirt in the rain and feeling like I'd had enough for the day. I jammed a wooden wedge in, to release the froe and called it a day! :D Good work out. My beech froe mallet worked beautifully - I thought I might have slimmed the handle too much but it held up fine.

First froe brake - pallet & steps.jpg
Brake: Small, heavy pallet + log ballast.
The steps were necessary/helpful for dealing with these 8ft logs.
First froe brake - pallet & steps.jpg (54.3 KiB) Viewed 15919 times


Will need a better brake though. It's going to need to be pretty strong if I continue splitting wood this long, wide, knotty & twisted wood. Perhaps I should limit the sizes a bit more.
Last edited by ToneWood on Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:36 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby jrccaim » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:31 am

I was about to undertake scanning in some images from Scott Landis's The Workbench Book (1998) a great book BTW. But once again Google has saved me the trouble. Google on "wood splitting brake" and click on the Scott Landis link; today it's the second hit but tomorrow all may be different. The whole book has been scanned in! I suppose Mr Landis did not renew his copyright. Lots of nice drawings of cleaving brakes.
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby mstibs » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:32 pm

http://harmonyforest.org/books/titles/coppicecraft/content.htm pictures/sketches of smaller cleaving brakes are on pages 21 and 22

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