Scythes Setup and Maintenance

As we have now had our first Mowing lesson with the scythes, we now know a little about their setup and ongoing maintenance.

Required setup for ease of administration and upkeep:

  • Pyrograph a letter on each scythe A-F on all wooden parts (2x handles, 1x wedge, 1x snaith - thanks to @zzoeross
  • Stamp/paint matching letters on blades in low-wear area (enamel paint)
  • Apply two coats Linseed oil to scythe wood parts - thanks @zzoeross and Luise
  • Remove lacquer from blades
  • Make sheaths for blades
  • Make pouches for accessories
  • Make Peining ponies

I made the Scythe box yesterday with help from Adam. It has a peining station built in.

The rope tie is temporary, we can add a latch when we find one suitable.

It used up some unsightly bits of ply, so it will need painting up before use.

I am thinking a blaze orange on the top so it is hard to lose in a field of long grass and covers the ugliest ply.

The rest Yacht varnish, beeswax or shellac for moisture resistance.

The instructions live here:

A copy of the instructions is in the scythe box.

I would like to borrow the scythes from 2023-02-10T00:00:00Z - 2023-02-12T00:00:00Z. I talked to @DomAman about it. I will give a scything introduction in Tipi Valley. You are welcome to come, too. Ask me if you like to know more.

I oiled them. Now, we need to get the color off the blades and sharpen them.

  • get the color off the scythes
    What I learned: The color comes off best with the sharpening stone, not with the wire bench grinder. However, a bit of it is left on the blade as the blade is not flat. The color should come off before peening (sharpening with the hammer + peening pony) so it is not bashed into the metal.
  • sharpen the scythes
    The scythes are sharp enough for using. We can sharpen them also as part of the workshop. It does not take long and it is good to do that together while people are not spread out cutting the grass.

My guess before workshops: Have gloves ready for sharpening.

I made a form for lending the scything equipment.

scythe-lending-checklist.pdf (183.0 KB)
scythe-lending-checklist.odt (167.1 KB)


Additionally, for a workshop, I recommend taking this:

  • a cloth for wiping the blades after use
  • water bottle to wet the stones
  • rake
  • hay fork
  • gloves
  • snacks & drinks

Experience from the workshop 11/2/23 in Tipi Valley

We worked on quite a patch of land, clearing bracken and brambles. In February, the grass is not so high but it is a good time to level the ground. The rake was nice to have: we made a few big piles. For beginners, the right setup is important to have fun:

  • especially the blade angle on the ground makes a difference
  • stressing and showing the difference between the right and the left hand leading - left hand rules!
  • the lacquer is easily removed with the sanding rubber that we have. Does not take long and has no problem with the blade being not flat.

We also worked next to a garden and the grass was instantly used as mulch. That was rewarding!