I finally have my blade quite sharp thanks to help and encouragement from Benjamin and others.
Now, I'm noticing how different things cut, especially grasses and especially my nemesis, Bermuda Grass.
I'm cutting a mix of johnson grass, fescue, clover, chicory, wheat and some other green non woody things along with bermuda grass. It is all cutting nice except the bermuda wants to lay down unless I cut almost into the dirt. I don't want to encourage it but in some places it's still standing after I've scythed everything else.
I'm using a 22" ditch blade that I thought was appropriate for the mix I would be cutting. Now I'm wondering if bermuda grass takes a more delicate blade?
The areas I'm mowing are garden edges, some lawn and open areas and anywhere from a foot to two feet tall.
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
Certain grasses are soft and tender, and almost "rubbery" in texture, some are firm but juicy, like a hard, ripe grape. Either of these types cut easily with a polished edge. Other grasses are more springy, dry, or waxy. These grasses tend to cut best with a toothy edge that more readily bites into the slippery surface of the "hard" grasses, but a crisp apex is always needed, and a more exaggerated slicing action may be needed as well. After setting a coarse scratch pattern, chase it with a light pass or two from a fine stone, then a whipping stick. Then focus on getting a good slicing action. The dry grasses shouldn't be much of an issue if you follow those guidelines, but they can be frustrating otherwise.
I had to go try to vary the 'slicing action'...got it and I see where even before I do anything different sharpening that makes a big difference.
'Setting a coarse scratch pattern' .....both sides of blade or just on the beveled side?
I keep forgetting to ask, just what is a 'whipping stick'? aluminum?, leather? wood?
Both sides of the blade. When sharpening the backside of a Euro blade you'll be running the stone so it's parallel with the flat region behind the edge apex. It'll be almost dead flat on the back. A whipping stick is just a wooden stick used like a strop to catch and draw out any micro mis-alignments of the edge so you have a crisp apex. A dowel can be used, but I prefer a piece of 1/2"x2" pine sanded to a slightly oval cross section since it gets better contact area.