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Author Topic: Poor man's froe...  (Read 33198 times)

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Offline Thehardway

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Poor man's froe...
« on: November 30, 2005, 04:24:48 PM »
An idea has just occured to me for building a cheap and easy yet sharp and durable froe.  I just picked up an old truck leaf spring to make a 3" slick out of.   The peice I got was free as it was broken and it is the top spring which already has the loop/bushing sleeve pre-formed to bolt to the truck chassis.  The idea is to drive the rubber bushing out of the loop, insert a handle and then sharpen the edge for a cheap (free), durable froe with little effort.  Leaf springs are made of fairly high quality high carbon chromium steel which should hold an edge well.  They can be had for free or at most scrap price at the local garage or junkyard.

 I will take some pics of the process so you all can see how it comes out.

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Offline Modat22

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2005, 04:41:37 PM »
Tom mentioned to me that I should try this a couple days ago. Its a danG good idea.

Post some pics when you can.
remember man that thy are dust.

Offline logman

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2005, 04:59:59 PM »
I think Roy Underhill mentions making a froe out of old springs in one of
his books.
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Offline ScottAR

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2005, 12:58:23 AM »
I use a propane torch to burn out the bushings...  kinda stinky but I 've never been able to drive a rubber bushing out. 
Scott
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Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2005, 08:10:21 AM »
My froe is an old spring. Don't use it much.....


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Offline sheneman

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2008, 11:21:08 PM »

What is the best way to sharpen a froe?  A file or a grinder or something else?

Also, how sharp does a froe need to be?  I've read somewhere that a somewhat dull edge is best as it tends to split instead of "cut".

Any ideas?

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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2008, 01:59:43 AM »
Froes don't need to be sharp.  It's a splitting tool, not a cutting tool.  I use a belt sander, but an angle grinder would work if you have steady hands.
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Offline WildDog

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2008, 05:14:30 AM »
I have made froes with mild steel, soft temper is fine, I use the forge followed by a grinder then a fine file to dull the edge after all it is a wedge. To hammer the edge hot I 1st bend the froe down like a bannana this makes up for the lengthening while I hammer the edge out, I like to start at the eye end and work out.

Have fun with it, like to see some pics when your done.

Rob
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Offline moonhill

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2008, 06:06:38 AM »
I would also weld the seam at the handle, as you pry the handle may loosen a bit and a loose handle is a drag.  As for a dull edge, I would have a crisp edge but it should be a steeper angle than a cutting tool.  You want to be able to drive the froe into the blank once it is in it is used as a lever, so it isn't a simple wedge it is also a lever there fore I feel a nice edge is a good start, yes, a bit blunt.   Tim B.
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Offline shinnlinger

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2008, 10:07:54 PM »
I have never thought I needed a froe...

BUt if I was making one I would throw the whole spring in a decent fire or forge and let it burn the bushing out.  If you allow the spring to cool on its own it should aneal or soften the steel a bit as well which will make sharpening with whatever method you use easier (I  have an old "free" radial arm saw with a steel cutting abrasive blade on it)

YOu can then polish the " blade" and temper it with your torch if you want some hardness back in it. I would think when  it turns"straw" and you throw it in a bucket of water it will be about right, but keep the back soft so it won't chip when you hit it with a hammer

That said sping steel is pretty tough stuff on its own so you shouldnt need to do much...

let er rip! I mean Split!
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Online Dave Shepard

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2008, 10:57:48 PM »
I have a froe about half made out of a piece of leaf spring. I don't think it needs to be very sharp, or tempered. It should be fairly thick at the back, about 5/8" or so, with an even taper from edge to back, not a bevel like a knife. You can buy froes new, but they are simply cut out of 1/4" stock, with a knife edge. You don't want to cut anything, just split it. If I make another, I'll start with some stock that is more square and draw it out. The leaf spring can be a pain to draw out, as it tries to form a rainbow when you work it.


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Offline thedeeredude

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2008, 08:48:16 PM »
Does anyone have the gransfors bruks froe?  Is that any good?

Offline M.Demetrius

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2009, 11:07:23 AM »
If I put an edge on a froe, what angle should I make it, relative to the flat?  For the first effort, I'm using an old lawnmower blade, drawing out the handle end and bending it over.  Is the angle of the blade likely to be close enough? 

This is sort of a prototype experimental model, and an excuse to put some coal in the forge and beat on some metal.  If I am not happy with it, and want another, I'll probably use a car spring or something like it from a junkyard.
Saepe veritas est dura -- Often, the truth is harsh

Offline pineywoods

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2009, 11:22:21 AM »
If I put an edge on a froe, what angle should I make it, relative to the flat?  For the first effort, I'm using an old lawnmower blade, drawing out the handle end and bending it over.  Is the angle of the blade likely to be close enough? 

This is sort of a prototype experimental model, and an excuse to put some coal in the forge and beat on some metal.  If I am not happy with it, and want another, I'll probably use a car spring or something like it from a junkyard.

Angle not that important, but needs to be on both sides of the blade. A froe is not a cutting tool,actually a wedge. Pound it into the wood, then use the handle to pry open the split. I have several genuine antique froes. The blade is usually quite thick, around 3/8 inch. Most folks think making shingles, but I've seen them used to make boards..
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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2009, 02:20:37 PM »
As pineywoods mentioned, it's just a big v I've seen them as thick as 5/8". Most of the ones available today are made from 1/4" thick bar stock, with a double bevel edge ground on to it. They are not as effective.
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Offline Banjo picker

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2009, 07:35:06 PM »
A froe should not be sharp as has been stated several times.  Therefore the expression sometimes used "Dull as a froe" .  Is that just a southern thing?  I have heard it all my life.  Tim
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Offline ksu_chainsaw

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2009, 02:54:52 PM »
A large Belt Sander would work to put the edge on the froe.  I am in the process of removing a bunch of old lineolum from my floor and keep sharpening an old flat end shovel on the belt sander to scrape it up.  The blade started out about 12" long, now it's down to about 5" ;D
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Offline M.Demetrius

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2009, 09:12:56 AM »
Well, based on what you gents say, a lawnmower blade probably wouldn't be thick enough.  I do get what you're saying about the angle, now that I think about it.  You don't want a "sword edge", or that would not necessarily follow the grain/fibers of the wood.

The other day, I amazed my son in law by demolishing an 8" mesquite stump with a 5# hammer and splitting wedge.  Got right down underground broke it up, and filled in the hole.  He'd been sawing on it a while.  I decided it was time to git r dun.  The wedge isn't sharp, either. 

I think I'll still do the lawnmower, just because there's nothing else that metal is good for.  Likely too soft for a knife or other tool.  You never know about those things.

Thanks.  I'll let you know how it turns out and I'll look around for another, thicker bar of metal for the real McCoy.
Saepe veritas est dura -- Often, the truth is harsh

Offline Tom

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2009, 03:08:04 PM »
Lawnmower blades are prized by knife makers around here.

The best froe's I've seen were made from the leaf springs of trucks.
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Offline jander3

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2009, 04:36:00 PM »
Anyone have a good picture (or link to one) of a froe that shows the blade and handle arrangement?  I am going to have a local welder make one up for me; I need to show him what I'm after.  The main use for my froe will be splitting out blanks that will be chiseled and drawknifed out to use for pegs.


Offline Tom

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2009, 05:05:05 PM »
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2009, 05:54:36 PM »
Google Eric Sloane froe pic and see some as well.

Tom had good shots in his links.

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Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2009, 06:54:06 PM »
Thanks for posting those links, Tom.

Some good reading there as well....

Jim Rogers
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Offline jander3

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2009, 10:34:02 PM »
Photos are perfect.  Thanks.

Offline M.Demetrius

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2009, 01:41:07 PM »
Try here:  http://www.knivesbynick.co.uk/images/hi/tools/froe.jpg
or here:  http://www.retiredtractors.com/tools/pix/TheFroe2.jpg

It looks like the handle can be just some hardwood stick, like hickory or ash.  I have a mockernut hickory in the front, so I'll prowl for a handle or two whilst setting up to make the blade.  It also seems like some are larger than others. 

The curved blade model sets the brain to humming.  Barrels.  Hmmmm.  Maybe, just maybe!  Heckuva lot easier than milling the blanks with a router, or ending up with a polygonal barrel shape.  Hmmmmm.
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Offline red

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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2019, 11:31:36 AM »
Any newer ideas or pictures of homemade Froes  ?
We have a lot of good boys and girls in harms way
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Re: Poor man's froe...
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2019, 02:42:25 AM »
Does anyone have the gransfors bruks froe?  Is that any good?
I have one. I use it to cut blanks for oak pegs. I am very satisfied with it. It's hand-forged and it will last forever, though a cheaper one would likely perform as well. Their axes are delivered very sharp, but the froe much less so. As mentioned above, a froe is not a cutting tool. They do clearly state, "when you strike with a mallet..."; they are not intended to struck with a metal hammer. The handle is wedged in to the eye when in use, but is easily loosened so it packs "flat".

(I see now I've responded to an 11-year-old post... ;D.)


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