Does anyone have directions for sharpening a scythe? I take it there's
a technique as opposed to just winging it.
Mine's gotten noticeably duller, and I read it's common to sharpen them
in the field in fact. Not that they're common in the field, but given
that you have one there, odds are that it's being sharpened.
Bless google :> A couple of years ago I used to watch a gardening
show with husband/wife hosts. In one episode the husband showed how
to use and take care of scythes. I could only remember that her name
was Barbara and they were in/from New England. With a few good
keywords I found it was Barbara Damrosh and Eliot Coleman. Then I did
a search on "Eliot Coleman" + scythe, and following the trail of leads
I found this webpage which has info on sharpening (peening and honing)
with how-to photographs!
It seems that there is a lot on the internet on scythes.
Well, at least I accomplished *something* today :>
Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
There are two different materials that scythe blades are made from: high
carbon steel and low carbon steel. The high carbon steel blades are
harder and are fairly easy to sharpen, but when (not if) they hit a
rock, they get a gouge in the edge. To get the gouge out takes some work
with a stone and eventually will thin out the blade. The low carbon
steel blades are softer and will bend when it hits a rock. The rough
sharpening is done with a hammer and (small pocket size) anvil, cold
working the steel. Final honing is done with a water stone.
The blades have a lip on the dull edge that defines the angle for the
In addition to the materials, the blades come in different lengths. The
grass blade is 3-4 feet long and fairly thin. The brush blade is
shorter, 18-24" long and is thicker, since it is built to cut heavier
stuff. I generally use the brush blade since I'm not usually mowing
fields, but just trimming around edges. I have the high carbon steel
blades and generally carry the stone in my back pocket.
The scythe is the 4th level weeding implement, coming after the rake,
torch and hoe, but before the chainsaw and backhoe.
I sharpen all kinds of things (I have an active woodshop). I'd use a
wet Arkansas stone, maintaining the same original angle and using
equal number of strokes on both sides of the blade. It may help to
secure the scythe in a vise during the operation. For field
sharpening, I'd use a diamond file (these are more expensive than a $1
Arkansas stone). I don't use any special guides or tools for
sharpening garden tools. Sharpening with direct sunlight is best.
Actually a scythe is single edged like a chisel so you stone it on the
upper edge after beating out a little bit of metal with a cross pein
hammer and a small anvil (which can be made from a bolt).
You can stone it a few times between beating the metal out again but
after a while the edge becomes too thick and needs to be thinned out
by beating again.
A scythe stone is about 5$
The steel appears to be softer than you would think at first but
beating out the edge work hardens it a bit also.
from email@example.com (paghat) contains these words:
That completely misrepresents the UK situation, and btw, there is no
rubber-waste-for-your-garden industry here.
From 2006, shredded tyres will be banned **only from landfill** in the
UK. That just means, that after that date shredded tyres can't be
disposed of in landfill/dumps (whole tyres are already banned from being
buried in landfill/dumps). This is an EU directive.
In the UK, govt policy is that used whole and shredded tyres will be
recycled; material made from recycled tyres is NOT banned.
I have no idea what PN is talking about here. I have never seen, or
heard of, minced or crumb rubber being advertised or sold to the
gardening public in the UK, or used for any kind of garden mulch or soil
amendment; so it's hard to imagine for what other outdoor purpose she
claims it's being sold to the public,(how else could run-off from it be
getting down their drains?)
In the UK, minced rubber has never been sold as a garden mulch
I don't know about the UK, but here is the USA, you can get the stuff at
Lowe's - a large hardware retail chain. I saw it for the first time last
year and asked about it here. It just didn't seem like a good idea and I
wouldn't have bought it just based on my intuition.
That's YOU misrepresenting. The majority of crumb rubber is used in the UK
as artificial filldirt -- including in park areas, new development &
construction areas, many of these places being intended for future gardens
as well as future buildings, but which are now known to be irreversibly
damaged. A lot of this use will be banned as of 2006, but with enough
loopholes in the new regs that it will probably continue to be misused for
some while unless watchdogs document continued harmful use, & get the regs
tightened over time.
Until then, there are no restrictions at all in the UK to continue using
granulated rubber as fill dirt, including as part of gardening landscapes.
The artificial filldirt is sometimes a combination of silica sand &
granulated rubber, but increasingly it has been 100% granulated rubber.
UK companies misrepresent this artificial filldirt as a suitable medium
for lawn turf.
You may call that "not for gardens" but you're splitting hairs. Lawn,
garden, soccer field, riding trails -- it's a hell of lot of toxic waste
dumped intentionally for profits & misrepresented as a healthy thing to be
Vast amounts of rubber & plastic waste product mixtures have been dumped
in British parks, thick upon riding trails, misreperesented as "all
season" riding surface allegedly "superior to" wood shavings for all the
same lying reasons pioneered by American politicians & business
scoundrals. This toxic matter migrates throughout the parks & kills
plants, & leaches zinc & other heavy metals into water, until the UK EPA
finally admitted it was causing overt damage to the environment.
It is also being widely used in playgrounds. The first major inroads for
spreading this toxic waste all over tarnation was the recommendation to
put it under children's feet in America too.
It has been sold to UK farmrs by the millions of tons to coat training
corals. Masses of mixed plastic & rubber particles not rotting away as do
woodchips. The growing farm use of crumb rubber caused toxic run-off that
damaged forage in pastures.
Wherever woodchips are used, this criminally minded industry in the UK has
tried to horn in with their blend of rubber mulch & PVC particles.
Tyre Shredders in Surrey is active in attempting to stop the coming ban,
financing an international organization wonderfully called CRUMB (Crumb
Rubber Universal Marketing Bureau), only an acronym like EVIL or
HERETOFUCKYOUBAD could've been more apropos!.
What the hell does material manufactured from recycled material have to do
with anything? Damn straight, if it's made into welcome mats & carpet
pads, great. No one ever said rubber shouldn't be recycled into actual
physical products. It's polluting the landscape with it that is the
problem, & in the UK that's become a very big problem.
To get the ban through concessions were made. In fact, the tire industry
helped write the new restrictions so there would be plenty of loopholes.
One loophole is that artificial filldirt can still be used under buildings
for new construction. Obviously there will be no one monitoring this & yes
it will still end up in the landscape proper, where it will continue to
kill gardens & the environment generally. The INTENT though is t o stop
the widespread use of artificial filldirt in the environment generally,
gardened or not -- in the hope tha it will be recycled as a percentage of
concrete instead, or new methods will be developed so that finally rubber
can be recycled as rubber (as now formulated, old tires cannot be used to
make new ones). By letting the tire industry shape the regulations,
however, there is no certainty much good will actually come of it. Baby
steps though, & the industry IS scared.
Pauline's been an activist on this for four years, but if you read better,
she never once used the word "garden." I qoted only one of her paragraphs;
in the entirety it might've been more clear to you she is addressing the
widespread use of crumb rubber in parks on horse trails, & on playgrounds.
These scatter physically plus put leechates into forests & gardens &
So you said. Never mind taht you're wrong -- crumnb rubber is used in
England under the disguising term "bulking agent" as a truly second-rate
carbon source. "Bulking agent" can be straw, sawdust, woodchips, rubber
chips, crumb rubber, or even plastic particles; if the product does not
guarantee itself organic, veryr likely the bulking agent is pulverized
rubber, introducing excesses of zinc into the garden.
But that was not the subject & not what is thus far part of the pending
ban. I mention it because it just shows how wrong you are. It's what
happens when you care insufficiently -- you're easily tricked into doing
harm to the environment even if you thought you were doing pretty well.
The real issue is it is used in England as a substitute for fill dirt in
vast expanses of landscape that will afterward be put to any number of
uses (including areas to be planted), & on park trails & bridal trails &
on playgrounds & on farms in corrals. That it is not sold in garden shops
as a pure crumb rubber recommended as a SURFACE mulch is hardly an
improved situation; when it is deeply packed in as fill dirt & cannot even
be scraped off for future gardening!
You may play with the truth here by relying on the idea that you can't buy
it in the garden center in tiny bags labeled "mulch," but since it is used
in the UK by the millions of tons as a replacement for filldirt in many
types of UK landscapes, really that's AT LEAST as bad as making the
individual gardeners do it a little bit at a time. That it's "secretly" in
commercial composts as "bulking agent" makes even your limited sense of
"no it's not sold here like that" rather less than factual, because, well,
yes it is.
And the harmfulness of this junk has been worse in the UK than in the US
because in the UK these monsters have combined multiple waste disposal
problems & permitted powdered plastics to be mixed into the artificial
fill dirt -- all stuff that will practically never degrade.
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
You completely misrepresented a UK activist's clear statement about crumb
rubber used as filldirt as being directly about gardening. You then
revealed that you just completely didn't even know that crumb rubber is in
commercial compost sold in UK garden centers, used as surface coatings &
mulches & worse yet worked into soil, which will kill plants. Though truly
the bigger issue is it being heaped up as filldirt even in areas that will
be gardened & from whence it leaches heavy metals into waterways.
In combination you failed to read correctly simple clear sentences about
crumb rubber as artificial filldirt, & you proved only your lack of any
information at all (except what I told you & which you blindly reject)
about crumb rubber as used in UK landscapes. You have not refuted a
thing, & the only disinformation is yours.
Just because the toxic crap you buy in your garden centers to smear in
your yard is categorized under "bulking agent" instead of honestly as
"crumb rubber" doesn't make it magically less there. IF your "correction"
had been that UK g ardeners are tricked into using it without even knowing
it, then you might've been onto something. And even so, what I quoted was
about crumb rubber packed into all sorts of places as filldirt, including
most certainly where gardens are afterwards planted. So it's in the
gardens, & its in the products sold to gardeners, & its in the parks,
playgrounds, & sports fields. In 2006 it will be banned for many of these
uses, with too many loopholes to use it anyway.
So just stop pretending your disinformation is refutation; that degree of
dishonesty should be beneath you.
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
The two local big box stores sell it in various
colors........personallly I don;t like it. They have it listed for
use in playgrounds, and anywhere a long lasting rot proof mulch ground
cover is needed. Even if I liked it, I could not afford the price of
it anyhow, but to me it looks tacky.
How about those formed rubber mulch collars that they sell. Pretty
pricey as well, $30.00 for a 24" diam collar IIRC.....and how long
will it last if you happen to catch it with the mower?
Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com
Opinions expressed are those of my wifes,
I had no input whatsoever.
Remove "nospam" from email addy.
They sell a little stone and belt pouch you carry with you. If I remember
correctly the pouch holds water to keep the stone wet. It's a long stone with an
oval cross-section. There's also a little anvil(sort of like a railroad spike)
you hammer into a stump to work on the blade.
Extreme caution is advised when sharpening a scythe blade. Even when the blade
is not at its sharpest it can cut skin pretty well. After you nick yourself a
few times you'll get used to the right way to hold the stone and the blade. ;)
Go to the nearest home improvement store and buy a scythe stone. Wet
it; then use it to sharpen the blade by moving the stone back and
forth along the edge. It's easy.
BTW, sharpen only one side of the edge. You want one bevel, not two.
J. Del Col
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