But the first Google result is pretty interesting. I think the last section answers your question, but the parts near the middle are of more interest to me.
paul wheaton wrote:
Well, I think most folks think I'm crazy. So the value of my opinion is pretty small.
Back on topic: I just tried a youtube search for "cleaving brake" hoping to see a demo and got stuff featuring "cleavage" or the brakes on cars.
reminding me just how much more useful Google searches are, especially for terms that are unique when enclosed in quotes.
There is a photo at the bottom of this page of someone using a cleaving brake and a froe to split a log.
According to this, the cleaving brake is the support used for the log while cleaving it with a froe.
Joel Hollingsworth's link about cleaving brakes: https://web.archive.org/web/20090416061417/http://handbooks.btcv.org.uk/handbooks/content/section/3762
Wobat's cleaving brake link: https://web.archive.org/web/20100525215125/http://www.koanga.org.nz/articles/134783.html
And here are the cleaving brake graphics from those links:
Care should be taken when riving in a brake, it is easier to allow the split to run out, and you have more control if it does, but it takes a lot of experience to control it well.
The best ones for me are made of three hardwood tree crotches, that's the one I have, if the trees are large enough the weight of them allows for more work to be done more efficiently.
The glass is neither half full or half empty. It is too big. But this tiny ad is just right:
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