They started clearing old ash trees from the lot where I work. There was lots of nice wood there so I took a couple pieces. One in particular a piece of green ash about 17" in diameter.

I have been of fan of traditional tools since I started wood working as a hobby. I don't have much in the way of flea markets in my immediate area so I am giving up hope of running into a froe after about 6 months of looking.

I recently found out there was a really good junk yard that has all kinds of metals available. So I figured that I should be able to find what I was looking for there. Maybe even get him to help me with shaping it.

Problem is that I don't know what we be a good choice. I understand the basic concept of a froe. Long edged blade with a handle. Typically wooden. I think what I need to worry about is

  • Ensuring the blade is straight. That means thickness
  • Able to take and hold a double edge.
  • Smith easy enough that you can create a loop on one end for a handle. (I have no intention of being able to in the near future.)

Is the answer just steel? I feel it is steel but wonder, price aside, if there was another option.

3 Answers 3


Leaf springs from the pick&pull junkyard. Already has an eyelet, reasonably straight, beefy, sharpen-able, ... what's not to like? Heck, just come by my yard and see what you want. (Though from the looks of it, you're 2,928 miles away. Maybe start driving soon.)

  • That is indeed one fairly well-known solution. solution.
    – keshlam
    Nov 22, 2015 at 3:11
  • Those do sound perfect. I might be able to save myself the gas I find one a little local. I'll come by the yard another time.
    – Matt
    Nov 22, 2015 at 3:17

Leaf springs are by far the most popular retrieval from junkyards because they are made from carbon steel and have convenient, simple, useful shape.

Leaf springs are made from a wide variety of different steels so there will be no way to know what you are dealing with.

Axles are also good steel, although finding rod axles is harder and harder these days.

A steel frame or hitch will not be as good because it will just be mild steel.

You can judge a steel by using a propane torch on it. If it turns a rainbow of color, that is an indication it is good carbon steel. Any other result is bad.


The other answers correctly state that leaf springs make excellent froes, especially if you can find ones with the eyes already attached.

However, any kind of steel will work for a froe. The edge isn't used for cutting wood and is only active at the very beginning of the splitting, otherwise it's the wedge that gets the job done. Thus, the steel has no need to hold an edge and therefore it does not need to be hardenable.

  • I didn't know if it mattered or if using it on green wood would help exacerbate its inevitable decline. Thank you.
    – Matt
    Nov 23, 2015 at 3:40
  • Nah, that won't make a difference. You should dry off your tools after use, regardless of the state of the wood.
    – grfrazee
    Nov 23, 2015 at 3:41

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