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Benjamin Bouchard

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since May 23, 2012
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Recent posts by Benjamin Bouchard

I generally find that starting off with the narrow cap to peen the very edge a bit knocks a step down that the broad cap can then flatten out thanks to the step reducing the contact area of the broad cap, while trying to start with the broad one tends to feel like you're making no progress since you have a large contact area and the steel is at its thickest and most resistant at that stage.
5 months ago
At this stage a ball pein hammer on the end grain of a stump would probably work. The end grain should crush so the metal won't squish.
5 months ago
Did up this featherweight unit that, with 33" blade, snath, and all metal fittings included, clocks in at only 3lbs 15oz. Many, if not most, Euro rigs run heavier than this. A Scytheworks mid-sized snath with a 30" Luxor blade (described by them as one of the lightest-per-inch they sell) would make for a 4lb 6oz combination by the statistics listed on their site. (Note: this is not a dig at Scytheworks, which is an excellent company doing excellent work in the scythe world, but merely used here as a basis for comparison, as most other companies either do not have weights listed or have values that are of suspect accuracy mentioned.)

I'd put together this extra-slim wooden snath, from a defective Seymour No.1 blank, years ago when I was first experimenting with the North Star hardware I use on the Longfellow snaths. It had a heavy steel plate on the top for the screw of the ring to bear into, much like Sta-Tite rings did, as I hadn't yet hit upon the idea of using a floating bearing plate affixed directly to the ring. Dusted it off and added a floating plate to the ring, removed the old heavy plate, and spliced on a new piece of ash. For those curious, the blade is an old Sibley laminated New England pattern with a plain web and half set.

(Note: These images are linked from Facebook, so they will only be visible for about a month before they revise the URLs and the image links break. If you're reading this from the future, you have my apologies! However, a post with the images may be found in the Scything Improvers' Forum group.)







6 months ago
The undulations are unlikely to improve cutting performance. However, setting a toothy scratch pattern with a coarse stone followed by a single light pass with a fine stone to crisp up the apex without erasing that coarse scratch pattern will generally give the best total slicing aggression.
6 months ago
You have to deflect it past the yield point. I would specifically advise against using a steel anvil with a steel hammer unless you're working over the hardy or pritchel holes to give the blade room to move into. You can end up permanently warping the blade if you over-tension a zone.
6 months ago
Looking much better already! Glad the techniques are producing the expected result!
6 months ago
It won't be easy to iron out damage that severe, but you'll probably get the best results using a wooden or plastic mallet against a wood block because metal-on-metal-on-metal will spread the steel when you're just trying to knock it back into place. Look into freehand sheet metal forming techniques used by auto body and aviation workers and you'll see some possible techniques to use. Sometimes simply using wood as your backing surface and using a steel hammer will be appropriate, other times a soft-faced hammer is needed.
6 months ago
Looks to be a current production Seymour. If the tubing diameter is 1.5" it's a No.9, if it's 1.25" it's a No.8

How tall are you? That snath will fit users up to about 5' 11". The tang on the blade looks like it hasn't been adjusted, which would need doing for the blade to lay properly.
7 months ago
If the middle is failing to cut it is quite possibly trailing in the stroke. This can be counterintuitive but certain blade curvatures with certain presentations to the cut with certain pivot lengths can, in fact, cause some parts of the blade to move into the grass and cut it while other parts of the edge are being dragged backwards through the growth instead!

Even with a snath that is too short for you, your back should remain straight. Rather than bending from your back, hinge at the hips and/or widen your stance and you can use even very short snaths effectively without back discomfort. That being said, it's possible to adjust your tang angle to make the blade lay lower. This may be best accomplished using either a mini induction heater (many mechanics have them) or an oxy-acetylene torch to heat and bend the tang to the appropriate angle, with the heat being applied to the region that runs in line with the blade before making a 90° turn (the shank.) Allow to air-cool (do NOT quench!) and use a wet rag during heating to prevent the cutting portion of the blade from overheating.

7 months ago
Looks like a Seymour or possibly Redtenbacher Austrian-made American-pattern blade on an old H & T Manufacturing aluminum snath. They're quite unique units.
8 months ago