Edward, who owns Sprint Mill where I run my scythe courses in Cumbria, is addicted to his 40cm Schroeckenfux scythe blade which he uses for trimming and tidying around the vegetable beds. It gets a lot of use and not always just by him so the other day the blade was looking a bit tired and I thought I’d peen it as a favour.
I started off by washing the blade and cleaning off the rust and dirt from the edge with an abrasive block. There were a couple of minor bits of damage on the edge so I simply filed these out using a chainsaw file to leave a smooth dip.
Then onto the peening jig. Although I’m comfortable and experienced at freehand peening with a hammer and anvil, I like to use the jig from time to time. As a teacher I think it’s important to maintain my familiarity with the methods I’m teaching and also to experiment with the tools to see what they are capable of. The peening jig is often seen as a second-class alternative to the peening anvil but you can achieve excellent results with it if you know what you’re doing and with little chance of damaging the scythe.
For this blade and the work it does I simply made one pass with each of the two caps which was quickly done on such a short blade. The jig follows the dips from the filing and, did a lovely job of creating a smooth edge.
After the jig, the scythe edge is blunt from where it’s been riding along the guide post. This requires sharpening with a succession of stones so my scythe kits now contain a full complement of whetstones to make this easier to achieve, ready for more garden paths.
If you’re interested in learning to peen your scythe, book a place on my Learn to Peen course in September. Whatever your level I can take you through the first worrying moments of hitting your scythe with a hammer, introduce you to freehand peening or improve your technique to achieve the edge you want.
A comprehensive and practical guide to working with an Austrian scythe. Perfect if you cannot attend a course or as a reference guide following tuition.