Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fine Toolmaking at It's Highest Level

I ended my last shop session with a bit of extra time, so I decided to make a new tool.  I'm officially naming it a "Froe Whacker."

Let the whacking commence!
Over the winter I picked up a new froe from Lee Valley.  The price was right at  $40, so I had to pull the trigger.  It appears to be a fine example:  the bevel is shaped just right, and the ash handle is perfectly straight grained for strength.

Lee Valley also offers what they call a Froe Mallet.  But I just couldn't bring myself to pay $26 for something intended to beat the snot out of a froe with, so I took the high road.

During my last walk in the woods with The Frau, I grabbed this fallen tree branch, and tossed it in my shop where it has been lying for the last couple months.  It happens to be beech, and if for some reason it doesn't work out, I'll have to find another one.

I cut the ends off to make it pretty and give it a length of exactly "that feels about right." I then used a hatchet to begin the shaping of the handle.  After all the bark was off where I wanted it, I finished it up with a spoke shave.  I figure the rest of the bark will come off on it's own soon enough.

This seems to work to hold this piece.

After making sure it felt good in my hand, and chamfering the ends with the spoke shave, I declared it done.

Proudly showing it to The Frau, she took it in her hand, and with a big smile and an evil look in her eye, she said, "Is this for me?"

Perhaps I should go buy some flowers.


  1. Replies
    1. So far, I seem to be doing OK. She hasn't used it yet.

  2. You made a stick! Seriously, nice work, I would have probably just used the branch as is and complained about the blisters

    1. Honestly, that thought didn't occur to me. Maybe next time.

  3. That's a nice price for a froe. Where is it made?

    1. Check out Lee Valley tools, in their gardening section. The link in the text of this post will take you right to it.

    2. Thanks, I already checked the link. It doesn't say where the froe is made. I try not to buy cheap Asian imports. I much prefer North American or Western European manufacture. I'll spend a little more for that every time.

    3. I just found on the froe that it is made in China.