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Re: [pfaf] Scythes and scything

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  • Griselda
    Scythes ­ of the traditional kind, with a long curved handle, secondary handle halfway down, and curved blade set at right-angles at the end ­ are dead easy
    Message 1 of 3 , May 31, 2007
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      Scythes ­ of the traditional kind, with a long curved handle, secondary
      handle halfway down, and curved blade set at right-angles at the end ­ are
      dead easy to use. They are in common use in France to this day and can be
      bought in any small market town for a few euros, made of modern materials
      (aluminium handle, for instance).

      With the modern ones, you can change the whole thing to be left or right
      handed ­ maybe you have one the wrong way round for you?

      You hold it so it¹s comfortable, not taking the weight with any strain. You
      swing it from side to side in front of you, letting the weight of the scythe
      do the work. You work along from side to side, or forward, as you choose.

      You sharpen it with a Œstone¹ - carborundum. Again, it should be easy ­ you
      are using the hard stone to create a new sharp edge along the blade, so you
      just stroke the stone along, taking care not to cut your fingers. The stone
      is harder than the steel of the blade so as it sweeps along it smooths it
      back to a new edge. This is the same as using a hard steel knife-sharpener
      to sharpen a kitchen knife made of soft or Œcarbon¹ steel. Imagine the
      angle you want to create right along the cutting edge, and hold the stone at
      that angle as you sweep along. Give it three or four runs along the blade
      to make a new edge. You only need to do one side of the blade. On my scythe
      I sharpen the top edge ­ following how it was made.

      You do not need it to be razor-sharp. The cutting is done by the weight of
      the scythe pushing through the herbiage. Depending on what you are cutting,
      you might need to re-sharpen every 15 or 30 mins, so you keep the stone in
      your pocket.

      Scything is a really pleasant job, something which you can do for quite long
      periods of time without needing a break. I really like doing it, and I am a
      middle-aged woman, not terribly athletic or strong, middle height. It¹s
      tremendously satisfying, quiet, simple, ancient and effective.

      Griselda





      > Hey Guys
      >
      > We've been through this catalogue many times
      > can we get this info out again or refer to past sources once and for all
      > We are referring to all tools and implements
      >
      > Martin
      >
      > Dear Sue,
      > This all starts getting very Grass Roots magazine, but I'm sure there
      > are ways of adding a Permaculture design twist to the "back on the land"
      > interest we share.
      >
      > I have a scythe (the Restorer's Barn in Castlemaine Victoria had a
      > bunch of them a while back too) and a few blades that I have tried out, but
      > my technique, or perhaps my sharpening is not up to scratch. I've had
      > the same issue with cut-throat razors, I just can't get them sharp
      > enough to do a good job. I'm hoping to learn from an old barber before they
      > all die, but it might be hard to find someone alive that ever used a
      > scythe for a living.
      >
      > I'm on the lookout for a chaff cutter too in the hope that I can use it
      > for hand shredding/mulching of light garden prunings. Is this a
      > realistic hope, or can they only handle chaff?
      >
      > Feel free to reply off list if you feel this is getting to particular
      > for the general edification of the other list members.
      >
      > Cheers,
      >
      > Joel Meadows
      > jmeadows@... <mailto:jmeadows%40portphillip.vic.gov.au>
      >
      > ---------------------------------
      > How would you spend $50,000 to create a more sustainable environment in
      > Australia? Go to Yahoo!7 Answers and share your idea.
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >




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    • bslark@aol.com
      Hi all For all you need to knnow about scythes go here: _http://www.thescytheshop.co.uk/index.html_ (http://www.thescytheshop.co.uk/index.html) My group just
      Message 2 of 3 , May 31, 2007
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        Hi all

        For all you need to knnow about scythes go here:
        _http://www.thescytheshop.co.uk/index.html_ (http://www.thescytheshop.co.uk/index.html)

        My group just starting to work with scythe here in Wales, we spent some
        happy hours clearing footpaths through our coppice woodland using some restored
        english style scythes. We were taught by our resident woodsman who showed us
        how to fit the scythe to our body and how to create a rythmical and
        consistent swing, we also learnt about sharpening and peaning.We will probably start
        teaching this at at one of our courses, if anyone is interested please let me
        know.

        visit my group at:
        _http://www.coppicewoodcollege.co.uk/index.html_
        (http://www.coppicewoodcollege.co.uk/index.html)
        Happy swinging.

        Bruce Slark






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