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Scythe Peening Teacher in Portland, OR?

 
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Is there someone in the Portland, Oregon area who can teach me how to peen my scythe blade? I picked one up at a garage sale this Summer and I want to restore its edge and buy a handle so that I can use it next Summer. Is there someone who can show me how?

I can provide pizza and beer, or some yummy equivalent. Your place or my place, some evening or weekend this Winter.
 
Jeremy VanGelder
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Well, I ended up peening the scythe myself. I used a mechanic's vise as my anvil. The blade had several waves in it. I flattened those against the anvil and drew out the edge. Some scalloping remains where I hammered the waves down. But it turns out that my scythe is an American scythe, with "Kelly Works" stamped near the tang. So peening isn't the appropriate way to sharpen it anyways. When I grind or file it I will take out the scalloping.

But it does cut grass. I bought a snath from Scythe Supply custom fit to my measurements. I'm really happy with the snath. After dry fitting the handles and the blade, I saw that the handles would have to be pointed forward, which is standard for American Scythes. So I glued up the handles and took the assembly out for some test cuts. It works. Everyone talks about how you have to stop and use the whetstone often. That's not a joke. With the blade in it's current shape, it just stops mowing after several minutes. A quick sharpening with the stone and it is back in action.

My blade is pretty straight from the toe until just a few inches from the heel. That curved portion at the heel seems to do most of the cutting. But I have the blade set at the most closed angle possible. Opening the angle brings the blade to a quick stop. After I grind it I will try an open angle again and report back.
 
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I'm glad to hear you got it working!  I find the best time to cut long grass is in the morning when it's wet with dew.  Then you don't need to have the whetstone sitting in water to use it.
 
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Jeremy VanGelder wrote:So I glued up the handles and took the assembly out for some test cuts. It works. Everyone talks about how you have to stop and use the whetstone often. That's not a joke. With the blade in it's current shape, it just stops mowing after several minutes. A quick sharpening with the stone and it is back in action.
Opening the angle brings the blade to a quick stop. After I grind it I will try an open angle again and report back.



I've wondered whether the scythe blades, when manufactured, are heat treated or not. I used a scythe when in my teens and yep I had to hone the blade down over and over.  To me that means that the metal is way too soft and if used as they were before mowers were invented the would grind the blade to almost nothing within just a few short years. Heat treating SHOULD solve some of that problem. IF you have a local metal shop you might ask them if heat treating would help or not.
 
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