Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Nota Bene: Know "Froe"

     "Batonning" is yuppie-prepper for "using a froe."

     Geez-o-peet, how often do you people have to reinvent the wheel -- and make it hexagonal?  Looky here, the froe was designed to be hammered into a log and rive off sections, all day long.  If it's too old-fashioned for you, spend $1.298 for a darned hacking knife (link is to a slightly nicer-than-average one, so here's a budget-friendly version), also designed to be whupped on, albeit on a smaller scale.

     Most of the skills a prepper/survivalist/outdoorsperson needs were bog-ordinary activities a generation or three ago, and most of the tools and techniques are either still around or at least written down in books.  The old-timers had learned some things moderns have missed, like, "Don't hammer on hardened steel, chips fly off and lodge in your eyes."

     If you wanna abuse wood, go here, drool all over the very very nice hand tools and maybe learn something.  They built Mount Vernon with that kind of stuff, you know, and Mr. Washington thought it turned out right well.  Every clever high-end tool you will find there has a simpler antecedent -- but use some common sense when simplifying.

     "Batoning."  Hmpf.  If my Dad caught you boys doing that stuff with a good knife, you'd'a met shoe leather where you sat down, and in a hurry.  It ain't right.


Drang said...

Not like this is the only case of two terms for the same thing.

If my Dad caught you boys doing that stuff with a good knife, you'd'a met shoe leather where you sat down, and in a hurry. It ain't right.
And he'd be absolutely correct -- unless my plane had crashed* and all I had was a knife and a stick.

"Prepping" and "wilderness survival" should be treated as separate albeit closely-related topics. A lot of people forget that.
Me, i like to include tomes like Jaeger's Wildwood Wisdom in my prepping library.

*canoe overturned, cabin burned down, etc.

Roberta X said...

It still takes a heap'o'stretchin' to get to the point where one is A) in the deep wilderness and B) equipped with only a knife. TSA has done their very best to ensure it can't happen, albeit by preventing you having a knife.

Carry a decent knife, one that will stand up to such abuse if it has to -- but don't do it routinely.

IMO, for most "survival" type purposes, a hacking knife is a pretty good choice. Probably not the best *fighting* knife. So you carry two knives. I carry more than that to go work downtown!) --And if you're a bush pilot, you might consider carrying a hatchet in the plane. A two pound weight penalty vs. felling trees with a belt knife? C'mon.

Anonymous said...

And to think, we just used to call it "splitting some wood" or "making some kindling", depending on the mass of the wood beingseparated from its brethern fibres.

How rustic and ignorant we were!

In an age of political correctness and video-watching wannabes, we should hardly have expected any less glorious terminology from these clowns.

The same thing that led to garbagemen becoming "sanitary engineers".

Oh So Dignified!

Tam said...

"It still takes a heap'o'stretchin' to get to the point where one is A) in the deep wilderness and B) equipped with only a knife. TSA has done their very best to ensure it can't happen..."

There are people who read these blogs that take flights that aren't controlled by the TSA.

Also, not everybody takes their entire tool chest with them on back country hiking trips.

Dave H said...

Thanks for the link to Lie-Nielsen. I've been looking for a drawknife for a long time. It's not something you'd find at Home Depot, and most of the barn sales around here have been picked over already by collectors by the time I get there.

Ken said...

Lie-Nielsen brings back fond memories of my days as a WoodenBoat magazine subscriber and (mostly) all-oilskin, no boat sailor. :-)

Paul said...

Dunno, I feel pretty well equipped with a pair of pliers, a pocket knife and a bit of twine. Kind of like duck tape, you can fix anything needs fixing.

Anonymous said...

"The right tool for the job" is a common phrase that is commonly ignored, I think. Much of this is due to our national fetish for technology: "it's a thousand-in-one tool that can replace EVERYTHING in your toolbox!"

Further, there's always something BETTER than what they had way back when. Americans have (relatively speaking) lots of money to spend on the latest 'n' greatest, too, whether it's a $200 "survival knife" that can chop down a California redwood, a $1000 custom pistol that will turn even the most lazy cubicle dweller into Bill Jordan, or even a "body wash"* that will attract hot women like ants to a picnic.

I can see why some people would need a knife that COULD be used to build a log cabin from scratch but, in general, anybody who buys a knife because he expects to chop wood with it probably should consider a new hobby!


(*) When did it stop being "soap"???

aczarnowski said...

If you're hitting the back of your knife (or froe or hatchet or whatever) with a steel object you're doing it wrong, yes.

I'd say batonning can be a useful technique to expose dry interior wood when camping by foot or canoe or you're just flat screwed and need a fire now. You don't bring a froe along in that situation but you hopefully have a decent sized knife. It relies on a wooden striker, the other wrist sized log you're about to put on the fire usually. If you have a hammer you aren't in the woods camping.

*shrug* Different techniques for different situations. I'll take the hydraulic wood splitter when given a choice. ;)

Bubblehead Les. said...

Took a Wilderness Survival Course last summer. The Instructor taught us all the different ways to make Fire, get Firewood, etc, including Batoning.

But he stressed over and over that these are Tools and Skills of LAST RESORT: "We live in the 21st Century. Sure, you now know how to use a Bow Drill to make Fire. But Bic Lighters are Cheap, and sticking one into every pocket on the Clothes you are wearing is LOT easier than breaking your back rubbing Wood together."

Kinda like taking Fencing and having a Sword handy. It'll work, but a J-Frame works better.

YMMV, of course.

Roberta X said...

_1, Les, or maybe 100. I carry a butane lighter, even though I don't smoke -- fire can be very handy and I'd as soon not have to make it from scratch.

Anonymous said...

At risk of invoking Godwin's law, very funny vid about battoning your knife here:

Roberta X said...

Dammit, that was SUPPOSED to be +1, Les. PLUS one. ::sigh::

LCB said...

Old wood working tools can be found in almost any antique shop. The good planes are hard to come by, but draw knives, hand drills, awls, etc. can usually be found in good shape for not much money.

Dr.D said...

So, can it be used to go too and froe?

Fr. D+
Anglican Priest

Roberta X said...

Yessir. Yes, it can.

LCB's right about old tools, too. Oh, it's extremely caveat emptor and some of the more desirable items like planes sometimes have unrealistic price/condition relationships, it is a good way to get hard-to-find tools at decent prices. You do have to have an eye for what can and cannot be made to work and how much effort it will take (I have a 3/8" socket chisel that stands as a reminder: Previous Owner applied a grinder to the sole and I didn't catch it until I got home with the thing).

Gregory Cotton said...

Same principal with POWER...