I have a slope lawn and I think this is just the gadget for solving
the problem. Sadly at 16,000 Euros, about $US 20,000 it is a bit
pricy. But it sure looks like fun.
What it is is a Kawasaki 17 hp mower hooked up to a 4wD mower base. It
is made in the Czech Republic in Europe. There is even a YouTube video
about it. And it is also radio
controlled so the operator is always safe. Tipping over of the mower
is O.K. because the operator can be up to 100 feet or more away. It
has a run time
of six hours and runs on regular gasoline. So unlike battery powered
machines it really has the power to mow stuff.
Or get a scythe. http://www.scythesupply.com
It has to become a hobby though. I keep an acre mowed with a scythe,
a little each day.
An ``outfit'' will run you about $170. (snath, blade, stone, bar peen
hammer, larger anvil.) It will cost you about $1000 after you get
into it and get all the interesting blades, to get the perfect one
for each occasion. And of course you'll want extra snaths so you
don't have to swap blades so often just to cut over some uneven
terrain with a shorter blade, and so forth...
I'd imagine by now you have restored a few dead blunt blades to
Would you explain the process.
I pound out a few now and again -but all I ever see are ones that have
been abused or blunted by repeated grinding without having been peined
for a long time. I am tempted to take them to the forge and then
quench the edge in some melon.
The European style scythes I use have soft steel blades (I think the American
are hardened. The American are stamped out, the European are hammered.)
You stone-sharpen the European blades every 30 strokes or so, mowing a lawn,
to keep it sharp enough. It takes about 15 seconds, and it provides a rest
that factors into how hard you work between sharpenings, so it's not really
slowing you down.
Every couple of hours, you re-peen the edge, as you will have stoned away enough
so that you can't get a really sharp narrow-angle edge any longer. Peening
(with a bar-peen hammer and anvil) just amounts to repounding the edge so it's
thin again. The book has a hammer pattern of 4 hits working towards the edge,
I've never seen how you can control where you hit closely enough to do that,
you can't see where you hit. I just pound on and off the edge, as determined by
Then restone lightly to get a really sharp razor edge again, and you're back in
business. (Peening hardens the soft steel edge, as you create a new edge, as
well; a new
blade needs peening more often but quickly falls into a pattern of a certain
preserving the edge better, without going so hard that you can't sharpen it.)
This will have no effect on an American blade. It may be that you have to grind
You stone away the upper edge only, by the way, and only go over the bottom to
the resulting burr. Alternating top and bottom lightly afterwards seems to give
I am finding moving metal by peining even on the Austrian made blades
to require quite a heavy hand.
Of course we are talking very blunt akin to " it was in my grandpa's
shed and I'd like to have it sharpened" condition.
All in all it's nothing compared to what people manage to do to a two
man saw, they can easily swallow up a half day of labor.
I don't know. It sounds wrong.
Try just hammering the very edge. You ought to be able to produce
stray ``tabs'' of metal occasionally, if it's the soft steel that
peening is going to work on. (These tabs come off pretty fast when
you use the scythe to cut, but they really make it cut nicely while
they're there. I use the production of tabs as a gauge of peening
correctly, say rather than only hitting the metal too far from the
edge. It's about the only visible sign that you're hitting the edge
Peening is explained as forcing thick metal down towards the (new)
edge as thinned metal, like some kind of clay being squeezed by the
process. But it will not work on hardened steel.
Also are you using a bar-peen hammer? (Like a ball peen, but with
the ball shape replaced by a bar shape, so that the same forcing
happens over a short length of the edge rather than at a point where
the ball hits.)
Scythe supply also sells a ``jig'' that you run the blade edge through
and hammer on, to get the ``correct'' peening, but I've had no great
luck with it. It creates an enormous amount of noise, however. It
also leaves you with a strikingly dull edge, requiring lots of
stoning to restore, even though it may (for all I know) be the
correct base edge as advertised. I prefer the bar peen hammer
and (larger) anvil, which leaves you with a nearly cut-ready edge.
Also you can peen it very very thin for grass.
Incidentally, if you're scything the lawn, you need sharpening when
partly cut grass sticks on the edge (it will form a clot that keeps
grass at the leftward edge of the stroke from cutting). You can
persist a little by raising the snath at the beginning of the stroke
at the right, and lowering it on the left, thus exposing new blade
as the stroke proceeds, but you're actually better off stopping to
sharpen ; and if stone sharpening doesn't cure it, repeen.
Cutting grass requires an insanely sharp scythe ; ordinary brush
scything is not nearly so critical (nor would you use so light a blade
For less than $20,000 one can buy a mighty nice real tractor that can
mow any slope that Roomba toy can and do a lot more, plus leave enough
left over for a small herd of whatever cud chewers floats your boat.
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