Galoots, That tool may take the prize for being butt ugly, but
it appears very utilitarian. I have a soft spot in my
heart for home-made tools.
I have an old
two-faced froe hammer that I imagine used vertical grain white
oak. The faces were worn down to the metal so I popped out
the the old ones and turned some green Osage Orange to replace
them. They were just about as purty as anything you ever
did see. And, they would whop that froe right down with
barely a dent in the face.
But, then I was
laid up for a period of time and the froe hammer was left to age
for a long period without any adult supervision. That was
something of an error.
When I next got
around to using the old tools and started banging the froe
through some recalcitrant wood of dubious grain and character I
found out why the original faces were made of Oak instead of
orange-brown hedgewood had hardened into something akin to
glass. When I'd hit the froe sometimes I'd get shards of sharp
wood flying off the face. A smarter person would have no
doubt used safety glasses at this point, but I was fascinated
with wood that behaved like glass and kept banging away long
after I'd split what I needed.
So I learned that
hard and tough are different characteristics and shouldn't be
confused - think lignum vitae! Since I haven't gotten the
faces changed out again I simply went to using a very old froe
club that I bought in the early 70s in southern Mississippi.
It is big, heavy and hard and I think it is swamp Oak, but I do
remember it cost me $7 at a flea market. It is a mud fence
of a tool, but we've grown old together!
My only advice
would be not to let that copper tool out of your sight.
Copper is disappearing in these parts at an alarming rate if it
can be got at without getting shot! A few folks seem to have
just traded lead for copper and a few can't tell when the
electric power is on, which mostly goes to show that you
shouldn't try to plug in hand tools.
Paul in Normal