Kindling splitter

I don’t know how many CT readers spend much time splitting wood to make kindling for their fireplace or wood stove. But when I think of tools that I love, this one is near the top of the list.

Most folks will tell you that the way to make little sticks (kindling) out of big sticks (chunks of firewood) is to hold the firewood chunk upright on a chopping block in one hand and take a good swing at it with a hatchet. It’s pretty obvious what’s wrong with this picture: you have a sharp bladed instrument moving at high speed in the direction of your bare hand. After some practice, you’ll get the hang of it; the problem is reaching that level of skill without a few trips to your local suturist or finger-reattachment specialist.

There’s a better way: the Froe. Traditionally used for splitting shingles, it serves equally well for bloodless, fear-free kindling. The iron blade is driven into the log (another piece of firewood makes a perfect “mallet” for this), and then torque is applied using the wooden handle to complete the split.

Your fingers will thank you.

-- Karl Bunker 11/15/04

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