Blacksmithing from a woodworkers perspective #6: Froe for splitting wood - Swedish sled runner steel

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Blog entry by mafe posted 02-10-2019 01:36 PM 1918 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Anvil stand from a solid block of wood. Part 6 of Blacksmithing from a woodworkers perspective series Part 7: Pocket drawknife - One for the road »

Froe for splitting wood
Forged from Swedish sled runner steel

Back at the forge again and once again to make some tools for woodworking, since this is the reason I started forging.
Have to say it again; ‘there are no greater joy in woodworking, than using a tool made by your own hands’.

Lets burn some gas in the little forge!
Heating up some Swedish sled runner steel, found in an old barn up there.

Trying to bend a curve, to make an eye.
(I wrote trying).

This was acually where I tried to cool down a part of the eye and the steel broke in two, while trying to bend it…
Yeps learning by doing is what this is all about for me.

That’s better!
Once I had something to bend and hammer around, the eye quickly took shape.
The eye need to be tapered, so it will hole the handle, the taper must open up towards the cutting edge.
(Bending while red hot, just not easy to take pictures while holding hot iron).

Welded the eye up.
This is not needed, but will make a stronger froe.

After cleaning up with a file and grinder.

Fair try.
Now time to forge some shape to the blade.

My little forging setup.

Here the piece that broke of…

Now heating up the blade in parts and hammering a wedge shape into the steel, while making it wider towards the splitting edge.
The hard part is keeping it straight.

But I manage to control the beast and end up with this.

Then sanding the edge, so it gets smooth and wedge shaped.
Again breaking something, this time the sanding band… The heat I guess…
No worse than a new band and some more sanding / grinding.

Time to do some woodworking, spinning the lathe.

Making a handle for the froe.
Tapering in the end of the blade.

Testing time.
Beating the froe down into a piece of fire wood, with a mallet on the top of the blade.

It works!

You control the split, by pushing the froe in the one or other sideways direction.

Fair leverage, compared to size, it splits the wood as easy as nothing.

Hmmmmm new things can be build now, new doors just opened.

Here next to my antique French froe.
The new one is meant to be brought out in nature for bush craft.

That’s it, another one down on the bucket list.
Hmmm perhaps I should harden it… and make a sheath… and….

Hope this post can inspire others to make their own tools, after all this is why I take a detour out the black road now.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

10 comments so far

View lew's profile


12823 posts in 4209 days

#1 posted 02-10-2019 02:57 PM

Nicely Done, Mads!

That little forge is really neat and seems to work very well.

Thanks for taking us along on the build!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4551 days

#2 posted 02-10-2019 03:23 PM

Awesome blend of skills. Where is the leather blade guard? Lol

I’m currently building my metalworking skills to complement my woodworking skills. Have a bunch of things to build for the parrots out of metal and wood (Nest Box, Feeder, Screens to put around the cages). My next major project.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View madts's profile


1903 posts in 2793 days

#3 posted 02-10-2019 03:26 PM

There in Houston USA we do not need forges. In the summertime we justs put on the driveway and let is toast for an hour.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Chris's profile


445 posts in 4540 days

#4 posted 02-10-2019 03:31 PM

That seems like another fun build. I’m also big into making my own tools. I agree, it’s a feeling of great satisfaction to work with your own tools. It’s that pioneer that’s buried in us.

I love your little forge. Awesome setup Mafe. Therapy at it’s apex!!!

-- Chris Harrell - custom callmaker "Quacky Calls" Eastern NC.

View stefang's profile


16711 posts in 3788 days

#5 posted 02-10-2019 04:40 PM

Wonderful work Mads, your project really came out well. If I were younger and not worried that I would burn down my shop I would like to do some metal working.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4065 posts in 1036 days

#6 posted 02-10-2019 04:54 PM

Nice tool, Mads! I hope you were inspired by the one my friend made for me.

I forgot to mention it there, but rather than bend the eye, he used a piece of pipe for the eye, and welded it to the blade. There’s more than one way to do it.

Thank you for the smile this morning!

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View Brit's profile


7753 posts in 3296 days

#7 posted 02-10-2019 06:20 PM

Your skills know no bounds Mads. What a lovely froe and a wonderful blog. I just bought mine. LOL.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Don W's profile

Don W

19295 posts in 3021 days

#8 posted 02-11-2019 12:26 AM

That looks so much better than the first one I made !!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23006 posts in 3559 days

#9 posted 02-11-2019 04:31 AM

Hi Mads, thanks for the process shots. That is a nice forge you have. You have a very complete shop!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View mafe's profile


12096 posts in 3543 days

#10 posted 03-23-2019 12:34 PM

Jim, I love that little forge, all I need is to turn up the gas and open a window, then my woodworking workshop is transformed into a blacksmiths workshop. You know like me the joy of; thinking it – making it. ;-)
Don, laugh, yes learning by doing, I have learned that calmness is a virtue, when working with hot iron, in the beging I felt that it was all about eaw power and fire. :-D (But I guess you learned that, while making all your wonderful infill’s).
Brit, Thank you Andy, big smile. Making tools – makes me happy. <3>t get around here so much as I would like these days, life is full of beauty and there are too little time.
Best thoughts and a smile,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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