Re: The Froe
Hank.....no one has even mentioned the word in my 9 years of reenacting....and I haven't seen one at any ACW Period living history, reenactment, encampment, etc.
in these days of superb steel alloy block planers, joiner planers, dado jigs, and table saws the need for a froe as a means to come up with precise stock dimensions has gone done..... I'd agree with you that violins and cabinetry/joinery woodworking has slipped in the last few centuries. replaced by improved craftsmanship in metals, plastics, man made materials, and robotic / machine tools.
There is a froe hanging on a hook at Garfield Farms (an 1840's living history farm that's actually being worked)....but it hasn't moved since I first saw it 6 years ago.
My great grandfather's brother used a froe to fashion Wagon Wheel SPOKES...... then he'd rim the wheel in iron (a blacksmith and farmer). My great grandfather was a leather craftsman.....harness, shoes, traces, saddles, belts, luggage, machinery belts, et al.... he used a froe in a fire wood kindling creation capacity.
wouldn't be surprised if artillery wheel spokes were made using wood split with a froe.....
but have never read about it's use..... and haven't seen one used at an ACW reenactment....
Horniste! Blas das Signal zum Angriffe!
"But in the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of 'tomfoolery' can explain away conduct that in the end makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong. "