In this current day, when one needs something one would go to an online shopping site and search until that something is found, bought, and delivered. Just a few years ago (ok a few decades), people were incredibly more resourceful when the need of something arose.
Say for example one needed a basket, or bowl, or a shelf, or cupboard, or a set of table and chairs, they would make one to suite their need. And if a person needed tools of some sort, typically, they’d make them to fit the applications needed.
Sometimes I feel as though I was born in the wrong century. I long for a time when life was more bespoke, more genuine, more authentic, more everything except the ever convenient big box store termite barf that’s here today and quite literally gone tomorrow.
Thats some relatively deep stuff brought up by a really simple tool that I recently acquired.
When I first saw it I heard and felt it instantly. It said “I am necessity. I am useful. I will remain.”
I’ve seen this before. Not this specific tool, yet something else made from an old bastard (That probably won’t get old). I found a chisel made from an old bastard file in my Gramp’s garage up in Vermont. It was made into an inch and a half firmer, “foah [for] framin’ a small bahnn [barn] .” he said. I now have that chisel and have used it on a few special projects.
Are you ready?
Here it is…
A clever little cleaver…
It is beautifully crafted. Yet I believe it’s all utilitarian (aside the volute at the end). The sweeping tail on the butt end helps with leverage when riving.
When the grain is straight the split runs true.
I will be using this for riving pegs for various uses, making trenails, rake tines, and all sorts of shorts and smalls.
Lie-Nielsen sells a froe, though the business end is ground in a flat V shape. My friend Peter prefers the convexity of the prototype that Tom had sent him, yet they still opted for the flat V bevel. Peter says the convexity splits the fibers out better and more efficiently. And the V shape tends to bounce out when starting. After using both types of grinds myself, I must concur. The convex shape of the bevel is perfect.
I do wish the temper of the steel was more consistent, as the spine has mushroomed over and the heal of the bevel (near the handle) is softer than the toe. But that’s something I will take care of at some point.
Here’s how it measures up.
It really is a joy to use. It fits very comfortably in the hand and is very effective. I’m looking forward to the many years of service this piece of true utilitarianism will serve in my hands.