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Country Discussion Topics
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Old Wood/Cedar Shingle Tool...HELP...need info...F
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Lynch in E.TX    Posted 04-22-2004 at 12:52:32       [Reply]  [Send Email]
First of all, it's been months & months since I have posted here...maybe a few will remeber me...anyway...I have a problem finding out ANYTHING about this old tool I found...I know what it is, but I don't know if I have the spelling correct...it's called a "Fro"...and it was used to split shingles from logs, and possibly had a few other uses...and i have spent hours searching the internet with no luck whatsoever...it's like this tool never existed...but I have it right here...it's about 16" long including the 2" tapered hole where the handle would have been....it's a blade type tool and tapers from 3" wide to 2" wide as you go out the length of it...and it's sharp on the side that that would face down if you were holding it like an axe or hammer....it's like a pickaxe size tool head but just has the blade on one side...it was made in England by an outfit called "ALLCOCK" and that is stamped into it, and below that it is stamped "WARRANTED" and the old "logo" is a rooster head or something like that...I thought it was a little 1" handprint at first, but know I am pretty sure it is a chicken or rooster silohette or footprint...I wish it was more clear, and not so worn, so I could see it easier. Anyway....I am desperate to find out more about this old tool...I found out it was a "Fro" by taking it to our local livestock auction and showing it to a few of the old-timers...but I would like to know alot more about it...any info anyone could provide would be precious to me. My wife and I collect old chicken & poultry stuff, as well as raise the real thing...right now we have over a dozen differnt purebreeds of chickens...I just find it hard to believe that I can't find anything about this tool anywhere...I know it's probably over 100 years old, and maybe alot older than that, but surely there has got to be some info out there somewhere....anyone knowing a link to a site where I can find some info would really be a help...Thanks! Lynch in E.TX.


Ron,ar    Posted 04-22-2004 at 18:48:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
what part of East Texas you in?


Doc    Posted 04-22-2004 at 18:10:08       [Reply]  [No Email]

Lehman's Hardware down the road from me stills sells the Froe as well as the wooden mallet (and a thousand other really neat stuff). I've seen them used by some of the older Amish fellows I know. Pretty handy thing to have around if'n you don't have any power tools.


TimV    Posted 04-22-2004 at 17:28:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
Lynch: The link below gives a picture and short explanation of how a froe (the only spelling I've ever seen, though obviously there are others in common use) was used. The rest of the site is also very interesting if you like logging and/or big equipment!


TomH    Posted 04-22-2004 at 17:06:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
They're still made. Garrett Wade sells them new, but kind of pricey.


mud    Posted 04-22-2004 at 15:04:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
howdy lynch-
i got a froe. used it. white oak splits.

mine was a hand me down. they are slick to use but you got to split off of 1/4s or 1/8thz. wont work out good otherwise.

so to get good size shingles you need a big round to start with.


bill b va    Posted 04-22-2004 at 13:32:49       [Reply]  [No Email]

FROW: Dictionary Entry and Meaning
Webster's 1913 Dictionary  Definition: 
\Frow\, n. [Cf. {Frower}.]
A cleaving tool with handle at right angles to the blade, for
splitting cask staves and shingles from the block; a frower.


screaminghollow    Posted 04-22-2004 at 13:26:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
First check for "froe" then check the site for Francis Marion University which has some pictures about shingle making.


screaminghollow    Posted 04-22-2004 at 13:11:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
a Fro is short vernacular for Afro, referring to big hair of the 1970's.
Seriously, I remember seeing something about the use of a fro on the Woodwright Shop. They often come up for sale around here, but were rendered obsolete by shingle mills. The guy on the wood wright shop gave a 10 minute thing about them, and made a few shingles out of a piece of cedar log about 18 inches long. After he got it started into the end grain a certain depth, he pulled on the handle and the leverage caused the shingle to split off completely from the piece of log. They are probably still sold by Lehman's. I am sure most of them were local made by individual blacksmiths.


Stan ETenn    Posted 04-22-2004 at 13:01:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
A lot of cedar shake shingles are sawed today. If you look close you'll see how smooth they are on both sides. The shakes split with a fro are rough and follow the grains. See what you can find in the Foxfire books. Later, Stan


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