Pocket Froe - a Pocket Friendly Wood Splitting Tool

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About: Professionally I have been a summer camp counselor, a Draftsman/designer, salesperson, bicycle mechanic, laminate flooring machine mechanic, teacher, and designer of the OP Loftbed. Personally I am a human...

Do you ever have an idea that has been in the back of your mind? I was a draftsman for years. I still use CAD (computer aided drafting) But when I have an idea it starts in BAD (brain aided drafting). This design had gone thru many different revisions. I bounced my idea off a coworker and he had a great suggestion that got me thinking down a different design path. I knew that it was going to be exactly what I wanted. A froe that could fit in my pocket.


Step 1: What Is a Froe?

What is a froe? It is a traditional green woodworking tool and is not pocket friendly. I made an Instructable on the froe I made: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Fro...

Step 2: Why a Pocket Size Froe?

I love pocket tools. I love camping. I wanted a wood splitting tool that would fit in my pocket. You could use a pocket knife to split wood, but a froe is made for splitting wood, so a pocket froe would be perfect.

Step 3: Materials

I used all stainless steel.

(1) 1/2" x 6" long pipe nipple

(1) 1/2" elbow

(2) 1/2" couplings

The blade was cut out of a 1/8" thick piece of stainless steel

Step 4: Tools

Very few tools were used. A grinder to cut and shape the blade and a bench grinder to sharpen the blade. A TIG welder was used to weld the pieces together.

Step 5: Safety

You will be grinding and welding. You need to wear safety glasses and gloves. When you are welding, you will need to wear a proper welding mask suitable for TIG welding.

Step 6: Cutting and Welding

One coupling is welded to one end of the elbow. One coupling is welded to one end of the pipe nipple. The other end of the pipe nipple is screwed into the other end of the elbow. DO NOT WELD THIS CONNECTION. Use this assembly to determine the size to cut and shape the blade. The blade height should be from the top edge of the bottom part of the elbow to the top of the coupling welded to the elbow. The length should reach from the edge of the coupling welded to the elbow to almost the end of the coupling welded to the pipe nipple. You will have to make a notch in the blade for the elbow, or grind off that part of the elbow to fit flush with the end of the blade. Once you are happy with the fit of the blade, weld it to the elbow and coupling welded to the elbow.

Step 7: Sharpen the Blade

Use a grinder or angle grinder to sharpen the blade. Also round off the opposite corner of the blade to fit comfortably in your pocket.

Step 8: Using the Pocket Froe

Take the froe out of your pocket. Unscrew the handle from the elbow. Screw the handle into the coupling welded to the elbow. Hold the handle of the froe in one hand and with the other hand, use a stick to hammer the blade into another stick. You can hit the blade on the end or near the handle. Once the blade is hammered into the stick, pry on the handle of the froe to pry the split open and split the stick. When you are finished using the pocket froe, unscrew the handle and screw it back into the bottom part of the elbow.

Step 9: Video

As Always, I made a video.

Thank you for watching.

If you have already subscribed to my YouTube channel, thank you. If you haven't, please subscribe.

Pocket Sized Contest

This is an entry in the
Pocket Sized Contest

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    17 Discussions

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    RJF

    8 days ago

    Maybe it just my background in making things very sharp. I like this alot, but when you stick it in your pocket, what stops it from cutting right through? RJF

    2 replies
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    CHARLESCRANFORDRJF

    Reply 2 days ago

    The handle unscrews from the one socket and screws into the other socket. The handle covers the sharp part of the blade in pocket mode. Thank you for the question.

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    sixsmithRJF

    Reply 8 days ago

    A froe doesn't need to be particularly sharp, it's more like a splitting wedge or maul than a knife or ax.

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    definingsound

    Question 11 days ago

    What did you use for the blade? Kind of looks like a piece of an old lawnmower blade? Did you have to worry about whether the steel was soft or hard? Would you consider to temper the blade?

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    CHARLESCRANFORDdefiningsound

    Reply 11 days ago

    A scrap piece of stainless that was 1/8" thick. I think it was 316 but it may be 304. I was going to polish it, but I like the natural look, I think it is kind of steampunk. As far as tempering the blade, froes do not have to be really sharp. They are more for splitting and if they are really sharp, the blade would dull quickly from the prying motion that you use with a froe. I would be afraid that if I tried to temper the blade that I might overdo it and the blade would be susceptible to snapping from either the hammering or prying. The stainless edge is holding up well. I made a couple smaller ones out of steel that were easier to grind the edge, but since they are softer steel, I may need to redo the edge more often than the stainless version. Thank you for the question.

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    DavidF15

    12 days ago

    So, you click the "Vote Now" button to give you mad props for the contest? Done!

    1 reply
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    interceptor

    14 days ago

    I love your idea. You could also use a T in place of the elbow and have a pocket from/machete.

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    CHARLESCRANFORDinterceptor

    Reply 13 days ago

    After this one I made an even smaller version using two coupling nuts welded together in a tee and a long screw as the handle. This was much less expensive than pipe and pipe fittings. Just like you envisioned, you can use it like a froe or a splitting knife, or if you have two screws, you have a froechete. Thank you for the comment and love of my idea. If you make one, let me know how it turns out for you.

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    Ham-made

    19 days ago

    Hey CHARLESCRANFORD!
    This wood ;) be perfect for chopping up kindling on a camping trip! Clever mechanism for having it fold up, pocket and froe is a combo I would've never thought of! Makes me want to make a pocket sized version of my Ham-mer!
    Cheers!
    Mr. Ham

    1 reply
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    CHARLESCRANFORDHam-made

    Reply 18 days ago

    Thank you. I saw your Ham-Mer Yesterday and had to do a second take. I saw the thumbnail, but I didn't see the pun at first and was wondering about the shape, very catchy.

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    CHARLESCRANFORDtomatoskins

    Reply 19 days ago

    Thank you. It turned out better than I thought. If you build one, please post a picture.