Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby ToneWood » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:56 pm

[Found the other stubby splitting wedge, will add to the above post later - it's got a chunk missing.]

It took a while to understand what jrrcaim's Y-shaped brake was, I think I found a rather unclear sketch at one of his references. However, I just came across the same kind of brake on Country Workshops excellent website, which shows it a little more clearly, if you look carefully. Prob. needs a pretty big, heavy Y-shaped log though: http://www.countryworkshops.org/newsletter24/
(Nice, concise explanation of froeing technique too)
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby jrccaim » Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:22 am

ToneWood wrote:It took a while to understand what jrrcaim's Y-shaped brake was, I think I found a rather unclear sketch at one of his references...

Like that picture! That's the idea.

For my money that Y is a lot too low. Drew Langsner, by the way, is one of my favorite people; most of what I learned I got from his books. I respect what he is doing! I would prefer the crotch of the tree slightly below waist-high, but that does depend on how long a piece you are riving. And yes you do need a hefty Y-shaped piece.
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Re: Riving/Cleaving/Froe/Bodger's Brake/Break

Postby ToneWood » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:17 pm

Recently I had need of a brake to "upgrade" my gate hurdle (see gate hurdle thread), I didn't have time to make the "real-deal" but thought I could usefully knock up a prototype quickly by nailing together timbers from an old wooden bed that I was given for firewood. I tried to emulate one of Brian Williamson's brakes:
Brian Williamson wrote:...I'll try to explain:

There are three, vertical posts/legs. The front two hold the main business end of the brake, the back one gives it stability. They are joined by an assortment of horizontal rails and diagonal braces.

Across the front two legs are four more or less horizontal rails. This is basically what you are looking at in the picture.

The bottom rail is merely part of the construction of the brake.

The next one up is used to support rake heads when I am drilling them.It is horizontal. It plays no part in the actual brake.

The third one is the lowest of the two brake rails. It''s angled up slightly from right to left and notched and nailed to the front of the posts.

The fourth one up (which is actually morticed through the legs) is the top rail of the brake. It is horizontal, so there is a very slight opening-out effect, but this is minimal as I use it now mostly for very thin stuff like laths and shingles. The 'signpost' effect is merely because it is too long and I've not got round to cutting it off! It is a replacement for the original which was notched and nailed to the back of the leg. I wanted to close the gap between the two rails to help with fine work (it didn't make much difference).

If you approach the brake from the back, you can put rake handles and similar through the two brake rails and 'spring'it up so it sits on top of the back leg. Holds it firm for drawknifing.


The fact that it is moveable was also appealing but not essential for my needs.

My prototype didn't work terribly well and my son said "it's ugly", being made roughly but of machined & finished timbers. The front part with the cross-bars worked very well - probably better than I expected. I tilted the bottom bar down slightly to the left (not obvious in the image), so that if work pieces move they tend to slide left towards the narrowest end and I tilted the upper bar even more - to support a range of different diameter work-pieces. The problem was that the weight of the work pieces levered the entire frame forward. Probably this design is not intended for such long and/or heavy work pieces (maybe 6'-8' x 4"-5") - Brian mentions (above) using his only for shingle & laths - or perhaps I simply need more weight at the back leg? If I were to make it again, I'd add more mass at the back, either add a 4th leg or a much heavier leg at the back as a counterweight. Even then, I don't think that would be enough...I suppose I could peg the back to the ground :D However, I now understand why several designs above have much larger, heavier frames that tilt backwards,

FroeBrake3Legs2.jpg (91.19 KiB) Viewed 5311 times

Coincidentally, I finally found a Y-fork piece of wood of just the right sort of size and weight (i.e. just about light enough & small enough to carry) for one of the "Y+X" froe brakes, like Drew Langsner's shown above. The wood is oak, so it is dense and full of tannin, which should help it survive the outside conditions better than most. For the X-cross, I cleaved a short, thick piece of sweet chestnut in 2 (using the brake with 2 temporary poles as the X).

FroeBrakeYX.jpg (120.91 KiB) Viewed 5311 times

I appreciate the simplicity, solidity and surprising versatility (in terms of work-piece sizes that can be handled) of this brake. No nails, screws, bolts, mortices or ropes required.
I guess the main drawbacks are:
(1) It takes up quite a lot of precious floor space (at trip height!) and
(2) It's heavy and hard to move.
The height/tilt is somewhat adjustable*, which I hadn't expected - but you need to be careful of hands & feet when adjusting it, the timbers are large, heavy & leveraged.
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