A Froe is a relatively uncomplicated tool used to split wood along the grain, often used in conjunction with a cleaving break to control where the split goes.
This might be the biggest range of froes you will see in any one place.
Dispite being an uncomplicated tool, they come in a range of weights and sizes as it's unlikely that one froe will be universally suitable for all tasks.
We fit froes into 3 general categories:
- Robust - Use this type of froe when splitting larger tougher woods such as oak or sweet chestnut. Typically, shingle makers and riven fencing makers will use a robust froe. Oak swill basket maker Owen Jones MBE has used Muller froes for more than 20 years to bust down oak butts into smaller riven sections so it can be boiled ready for finer riving into weavers. A robust froe will usually be quite heavy, made from thicker material upto 10mm (3/8") along its back with a substantial socket for the handle. As the forces involved in levering apart thick tough wood are considerable the welding connecting blade to socket needs to be very strong and the blade needs to be tempered correctly to withstand severe twisting forces. With larger section riving jobs the ability to control the direction of the split is less possible so gently convex bevels are less important, however both Muller and Gransfors Bruks froes feature convex bevels. We welcome Ray Iles' latest froe, the XL Froe into the 'Robust' category.
- General Duty - Froes for everyday green woodworking tasks such as busting apart short sections of timber and longer sections of small diameter stuff.
- Ligfhtweight - useful for cleaving rods such as hazel and making
There are two robust froes from Austrian manufactuer Muller, one has a 35cms long iron and the other 22cms long. These are formidable tools for bigger jobs which we are pleased to include in the line-up, for the most demanding professional use.
Also a fairly new froe from UK tool maker Ray Iles..........the Micro Froe, a smaller finer version of the Ray Iles Small Froe, suitable for splitting small wooden pegs and smaller diameter hazel.
As a general rule froes are not cutting tools therefore the edge does not need to be kept sharp like most axes for example. However, the bevels need to easily and accurately enter end grain therefore need to be maintained wedge shaped. It's normally only after many years service that the edge needs to be looked at. In your workshop or woodland there is is no need to be precious about protecting the edge of a froe.