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Sharpening a scythe safely

 
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I started scything about 1949 when I was 9.  There was a long history of scythe use in my family and there were ferns that had to be cut to suppress them in the pastures.  To sharpen the scythe I imitated what I saw done and you have probably seen in videos and possibly do yourself. stand the scythe on ten end of the stave and run the stone out the length of the blade.  I have scares on my knuckles from doing that.  Here is an alternative which also takes advantage of the modern oval scythe stone.
 
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Hans, thank you for posting this video. I have a scythe and have not used it yet, because I’m unsure how to maintain it. Your instruction was clear and helpful.
 
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Hans - Thanks for showing how to use the new oval stone.  I bought one when I broke out my last old scythe stone and was not sure how I would use the new shape.  I have been using scythes perhaps 15 years less than you have, but I found that when using the old shape stone, I would not grab the stone like a handle.  I found that it was far safer and easier to grip the sides of the stone such that when I finished the edge feather, I could slide the stone upward and not get my skin anywhere near the sharp edge.  I also did my initial sharpening runs from back edge toward the front, but find my final edge is sharper if I finish with an upward stroke diagonally along the edge.  Fingers and knuckles are always safely back on the stone.  If one was worried about slight slices, they could also purchase some butcher knife-proof gloves.  

Maintaining close attention to what one is doing, of course, is the best practice.  Sharpening a scythe is not a multi-tasking situation.
 
Hans Quistorff
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Angela Wilcox wrote:Hans, thank you for posting this video. I have a scythe and have not used it yet, because I’m unsure how to maintain it. Your instruction was clear and helpful.


Next video will be on how to swing the scythe using the human anatomy according to its design and the scythe design.
 
Hans Quistorff
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Richard Henry wrote:Hans - Thanks for showing how to use the new oval stone.  I bought one when I broke out my last old scythe stone and was not sure how I would use the new shape.  I have been using scythes perhaps 15 years less than you have, but I found that when using the old shape stone, I would not grab the stone like a handle.  I found that it was far safer and easier to grip the sides of the stone such that when I finished the edge feather, I could slide the stone upward and not get my skin anywhere near the sharp edge.  I also did my initial sharpening runs from back edge toward the front, but find my final edge is sharper if I finish with an upward stroke diagonally along the edge.  Fingers and knuckles are always safely back on the stone.  If one was worried about slight slices, they could also purchase some butcher knife-proof gloves.  

Maintaining close attention to what one is doing, of course, is the best practice.  Sharpening a scythe is not a multi-tasking situation.


" find my final edge is sharper if I finish with an upward stroke diagonally along the edge"  Agree. It may not be clear but in each direction the stone is held at an angle to the travel starting with the meddle of the stone and ending with the tip at the end of the stroke.  So the stone is traveling up against the edge.

If the edge is very sharp and thin it may curl over the bottom and not cut very well.  To check for that the flat side of the stone is run flat on the bottom edge with very little pressure just feeling for any drag that will be caused by a back curl or nick.  Avod making any bevel on the bottom edge because that favors the the blade sliding up the stalk of grass instead of cutting in.
 
Angela Wilcox
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Hans Quistorff wrote:

Angela Wilcox wrote:Hans, thank you for posting this video. I have a scythe and have not used it yet, because I’m unsure how to maintain it. Your instruction was clear and helpful.


Next video will be on how to swing the scythe using the human anatomy according to its design and the scythe design.



I look forward to the video and wish you could come here for a tutoring lesson.
 
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