Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Froe or cleaving axe.

The froe has made a bit of a comeback in recent years after fading into total obscurity.

It is a curios looking tool, “L” shaped with a sturdy eye, sharp edge and a long stick handle.  Froes and froe-like tools have a heritage going back at least a thousand years as a pivotal tools for working greenwood, (a method that principally deals with split, not sawn timber).

Traditionally used in the production of wooden roof shingles or lathes for traditional lime plaster work, the Froe has been recently been rediscovered as an alternative to the axe as a log splitting tool.

Placed on the log, and struck on the back of the steel blade with a heavy wooden maul, a sturdy Froe can make short work of even twisted or bent timber as all of the energy of the strike will go between the natural grain.

If the timber doesn’t split cleanly, the tool is sharp enough to sever any lingering fibres. 

The froes I have made were hand forged from my own laminated carbon steel with mild steel core and mild steel outer layers.  This composite structure imparts a very high level of toughness and tolerance to the kind of twisting and percussive force that goes with this kind of tool.  It is very similar in composition to a well-made sword!

These have been made using what is known as an “asymmetric wrapped eye”, forged from the same piece of steel as the body and then forge welded back onto itself. This forms one of the strongest eyes, but also is one of most elegant methods in blacksmithing and is more often seen in ancient axes as it causes the material to “flow” around the eye.


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Carpenters Side Axes

These Hand made side axes are intended to prepare split or sawn timber for planning or used to directly hew timber to finish. They used to a ubiquitous tool for traditional furniture making or even timber framing.

These axes were made after discussing a particular pattern of German hewing hatchet seen here
This form of the axe – the “Fuchs” hatchet, seems, to me to be the best considered and most beautiful  side axe design.  The two axes that I have made are my first explorations towards producing axes that are similar to that form.
The starting stock was 35 x 35, which was first split with a grinder and then opened up with the hot chisel.

Carbon steel inserts were hammered in to the hot mild steel which makes a very tight fitting joint.

The internal faces were cleaned to aid the welding phase



Illustrating balance

Shown next to my old Kent style hatchet for scale
Despite their apparent size, each head weighs only 2.2Lbs (1Kg) making them very wieldable

The broader of the two has had a temporary helve fitted and was sharpened and it cuts beautifully.
I am proud to say that I am now stamping all of my work with my touch mark.
These axes are for sale for £180 each, or if you would like to commission a new piece to meet your exact specifications please contact me by leaving a comment or by finding me on my Facebook business page.
Thank you.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Fire screens

Work For a private client, All hand forged mild steel with a raw beeswax finish and brass wire wrapped joints.