Maintenance and care
“Many scythes are not fitted or maintained properly so they don’t deliver. People get discouraged and believe they don’t work,” says Peter’s brother Alexander, who recently opened Scythe Works on the West Coast.
The other important element is a sharp blade. The first step is to sharpen the blade by peening. This involves hammering the cutting edge with a small anvil to make the edge thin and sharp. Some people hold the scythe blade steady in a vise, others mount it onto wood—the idea is to be able to hammer away without the blade moving. You can also do touch-up sharpenings by honing the blade with a whetstone (it’s the same action used to sharpen your carving knife). Peter recommends honing every 10 minutes as you are working to prevent the blade from becoming progressively duller and the tool less effective.
Honing your technique
Both brothers also recommend taking a workshop so you can avoid some of the common beginner pitfalls. “Properly used, the scythe is poetry in motion” says Peter. “It’s a wonderful tool, but often handed to people without proper technique.”
Master the scythe and you just may be able to retire the gas guzzling lawnmower alongside the weed whacker.
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