27 September 2013

Scythe

Where usualy buying online means getting the package even before I have time to regret my consumerism,  this time the whole procedure took a month or two.  The grass didn't wait and looks more like a felt structure than something mowable and I am  now the puzzled owner of a long scythe blade.

A scythe is not only a blade but also a snath (shaft).  Internet offers a few possibilities. The Eastern European traditional snath, with like for the traditional drummer grip one hand down and one up.  Still the most used scythe.  The Central European snath, with a longer central grip used two hands down, the scythe of the youtube champions. And then here local variations, although the curved snath, similar in use to the previous model, seem to dominate on internet.





But nothing on youtube or the internet about the snath of my short bladed scythe.  It's a three point grip scythe like the one pictured right (Zeis en Sikkel '79) by Gerrit Noordzij.  I don't see any reason to switch so that's the one I used. The only point of attention is the need of a high angle between snath and blade.
A three point grip just looks like a poorly mounted Central European snath,  with the wooden elbow rest at the top as sole difference. Maybe it is just that and the whole concept was created out of ignorance.

To put the scythe to work it has to be sharpened.  It's a two step process where the edge of the blade is hardened (cold forged) with a hammer and then sharpened with a stone. For hammering I have to choose again, as I found a few options:  A narrow hammer and large anvil,  a narrow anvil and normal hammer,  a dedicated side punch or some modernist rolling mechanism
.


My short blade scythe after seeing some rough action, trimming a disregarded medieval garden, earlier this month. I hammered a few dents back in line afterwards.  


The garden 'after', when it's done it's too late for the 'before' picture. The oversized tree is in the center of a circle, surrounded by four sections covered by grass, possibly representing the four seasons.  When it comes to medieval symbolism I am an analphabet. Ora et labora, build as a place to pray and work.



No comments: