Chopping wood can be a strenuous effort. Depending on the type of tool used, the effort can be made easier or more dangerous. Some people like to hold the kindling in one hand and try to chop it with an ax in the other hand. There is a marked danger this way: your hand is in the way of the very sharp blade. Instead of the possibility of losing your hand, the froe is safer and more efficient.
What Is a Froe?
The froe is in the shape of an "L." It is formed by a wooden handle, about 18 inches long, and an iron blade or wedge that measures 15 inches long by 2 inches wide and ¼-inch thick. The blade is driven into the log with a mallet. The wooden handle is used to torque the blade to complete the split. This tool provides a way to ensure a bloodless cutting of firewood. It was originally used for cutting shingles.
The Uses of a Froe
A froe is primarily for splitting wood. It is the right tool for splitting shingles, splitting logs or wood to be used for parts in furniture.
The froe was one of the most frequently used tools until the power saw was developed. Accuracy is the froe's best attribute. The user can determine exactly where the split will be.
The Froe by any Other Name
Another reference or name for the froe is the "riving ax."
The froe is also been referred to as frow, fromard, frower or rending axe.
Make Your Own Froe
Sometimes you can find a froe in a secondhand store. It might cost about eight dollars. If you can find an older farmer he might have one lying around. Or, you can make a froe.
According to Mother Earth News, here is how to make a froe.
A section of a leaf type automobile spring is heated so that one end can be bent into a circle an inch or 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The hot metal is wrapped around the wooden handle. Sharpen the metal end.