Froe Splitting

The froe is usually a right angled implement used to split wood to make roof shingles ( tiles ) small planks, pegs and kindling.

The blade is almost rectangular, the length of the blade considerably longer than the width.

It is joined by the haft (shaft) at a 90 degree angle. The blade is placed on the log and split down the grain by hammering the edge of the blade with a mallet.

Precise splits can therefore be made providing constant thicknesses for roof shingles.

The blade length should cover the entire circumference of the wood to be split otherwise the split wouldn't be even, however any unevenness is pared by a drawknife. I only have one to offer today which is the ShingleFroe along with a couple of drawknives which you can find by following this link to Froe Froe and haft

Free Mallet

Traditionally the mallet would have been a stake or small log with the bark intact. These would have become damaged quite quickly because of constant striking but easily and cheaply replaced, in fact if you happen to be working in a forest absolutely free.

Slitting of the wood is aided by twisting the handle slightly as the blade is struck encouraging the split.

Similar in shape to an axe ie 90 degree but much more precise and far less hazardous.

The varieties I have found vary from blade length of 5" up to 15" long with a blade width of 3".


Sharpen with a waterstone to maintain the old tradition.

I've found it easiest to secure the stone to my workbench, then sharpen the blade over the whole length, trying to use the whole stone area to prevent grooving of the stone.

I remove the burr from the blade by using an off-cut of timber at a slight angle over the blade edge and from both sides of it.

Footnote. Any blade longer than 15" wouldn't be easily manageable alone, perhaps you could find a friend and perform synchronised splitting. Is it an olympic sport yet ? Angled froe

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