Every month, I make my pilgrimage (er, it’s really just a short trip, I guess) to the local flea market, the so-called Dog and Gun. Usually I go in search of old hand tools, especially woodworking tools. The latest find was this very old froe.
A froe is a tool used for cleaving wood — very often they are associated with splitting shakes, but they can be used to pare down wood for making handles, or whatever other reason you would have to cleave wood. They are used by striking a wooden mallet on the top of the blade (seen at right in this image). They are not sharp — they are basically a glorified wedge on a stick.
They are extremely useful, however. Recently, I spent a lot of time starting to split out blanks for wood pegs for the future timber frame. The handle is shot, so I need to make a new one, but for $20, it was a nice deal. This one’s quite old, too. I like when you can tell that an old woodworking tool has a lot of history.
(New froes are at least $50 or more, by the way.)