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Splitting Froe or Frower
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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A froe is a traditional construction tool used to create workable forms out of raw wood. The local blacksmith often made this simple tool which functions more like a wedge than a cutting tool. The blade is driven into a block of wood with a club or mallet which strikes the back of the metal blade. The wooden handle serves as a lever to pry the blade sideways deepening the split with further blows. Shingles or staves (for barrels) were typically split from a block of wood in this manner since it was faster than sawing. After industrialization power saws became plentiful and less expensive, making the froe largely obsolete.
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