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#20632 - 10/27/03 04:23 AM To and Froe
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Last Sunday the boys and I fabricated a charcoal-burning forge - they've been bugging me to do a little blacksmithing. We tinkered a bit - it was dark by the time my impatience wore thru and I let them build a fire in it, but they make some bodkin arrowheads from round stock. I started a froe - just formed the eye before I shut them down for the neighbor's sake. I've got a couple 20 gallon drums with lids coming my way this week so I guess next weekend we'll be making a couple of charcoal retorts with them and a couple of 55 gallon drums I've had stashed for a while. Durned if I'm gonna buy lump charcoal - too expensive.

Today, in between other things, we fabricated a smaller forge (brake drum style) so they could work on smaller projects if the larger forge is occupied. More bodkin arrowheads were enthusiastically produced - starting to look like a medevial armory around here... anyway, I welded the froe eye, swaged it tapered, and bent the blade preparatory to forging the edge (that was NOT fun - 3/8" x 2" - two man job - been a long time since I've messed with this stuff) Tomorrow evening I'll finish forging the blade and turn a handle from some ash out in the firewood pile - I want to take it to the scout meeting Tuesday PM and show the scouts what a froe is and how to use it.

So this all gets me pondering about scouts, axes, hatchets, batoning a knife thru wood, etc. I've previously taught them how to carefully baton a knife to make tiny splits from a short section of small diameter hardwood (all we have to speak of around here is hardwood). I've taught enough boys how to make fires to conclude that they really need to know how to (safely!) split things up - using the foraged kindling and smaller stuff is a bit more advanced and not as sure - these are city boys and they don't get to play with fire often enough to be real experienced. Naturally, some sort of non-locking folder is what the vast majority of boys have for knives.

A lot of folks assume that Scouts are not allowed to carry fixed blades - not true. BSA discourages it, but it is not forbidden - local policies usually forbide, but that's knee-jerk nonsense. I can go along with forbiding on-person carry - think of some of the shoddy sheaths out there... so, I'm thinking, gee, if they had a stout fixed blade with NO POINT, that should handle some of the "fears" about scouts with fixed blades and still let them do small diameter wood splitting with a baton - much safer with a fixed blade than any folder.

I'm thinking a top-half rounded point - no "edge" on the point (break the edge to a small radius is all). But what other uses might there be to a tool like that? Discount chopping - first, I don't want them doing Rambo-hacking tricks with it (safety), and second, I don't want to put weight forward - nearly neutral balance, probably - I'd also like to keep the weight down.

Maybe make it so it can be "converted" in the field into a draw knife? I can think of a couple of effective ways to do that, although for best compromise between knife tasks, froe-like tasks, and draw knife, the handles will be assymetrical - left one axial to the blade and right one at an angle (45 - 60 deg, probably).

Before I make one of these up, I'd like to hear reactions / ideas from folks here - not just Scouters, but outdoorsmen. Assume I'll make it up with about a 6" edge plus one tang (left handle/ "knife" handle).



#20633 - 10/27/03 04:01 PM Re: To and Froe
billvann Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 780
Loc: NE Illinois, USA (42:19:08N 08...
Okay, I'll admit it. I had to look up froe to see what the heck it was. Once I saw a picture, "Oh, that's what they call that thing." <img src="images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

Everytime we revisit the scout sheath knife ban myth it get's my rankle up. You point out another example where a folding knife is not a safe tool in certain applications.

Chris mentioned a few years back about a Barnekniven (child's knife) by Brusletto sold by Ragweed Forge (scroll to the last item on the page. It has a blunt tip but the blade shape does not seem to lend itself to wood splitting.
Willie Vannerson
McHenry, IL

#20634 - 10/27/03 04:11 PM Re: To and Froe

The link for the google disabled is Forging a Froe

#20635 - 10/27/03 07:25 PM Re: To and Froe
frenchy Offline

Registered: 12/18/02
Posts: 1320
Loc: France
Thanks for that link !!

I was about to ask what a froe is, as I didn't find that word in my dictionnaries.

Now, I have learned 2 words, one in english and one in french.

I had already seen a "froe", without knowing it was named "fromard" in french.

I told you, on ETS forum, every day I learn something.... <img src="images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />



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