Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What is a froe? Tool making in the blacksmith's shop.

We have just completed a blacksmithing class at The Farmers’ Museum. This was a two day blacksmithing tutorial for two students. The diverse background of our students makes the classes a lot of fun. One of the projects we made in the class was a froe.
The froe is a simple tool that is struck with a mallet to split wood. Historically they were used to split shingles from a round of cedar trunk. In the Field's Blacksmith Shop we use one to split ash wood for hammer handles. One of my students builds and repairs musical instruments. He built a froe to split wood to make violin soundboards! Tool making is great strength within the blacksmith’s trade. We can build the tool to build just about anything. If we need nails, we make a nail header, if we need shingles, forge a froe, and if more timber is needed we forge an axe.
To use a froe you place the blade on top of the piece of wood you wish to split. Strike it sharply with a wooden mallet or maul. Twist the handle to control the direction of the split, and split the wood into two pieces. You might say you twist the handle to and froe!


  1. Bad pun alert bad pun alert!

  2. What can I say? I just had to froe that joke out there!


  3. I loved the punny joke!

  4. I am going to make a froe once my steel gets in. I have been needing one of these for a while and think it will be a great addition to green woodworking. Thanks for sharing.


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