At the Scythe Festival this year I made a request for blades which had been over-peened and, as a result, lost their tension. This is not a common problem but one which causes big problems for mowing with the blade. I learned to repair this while working with peening experts in Austria and, as the only person in the UK with the experience to do it, I was keen to practise and also pass on the knowledge.
In response to my request I was offered a challenge by none other than Simon Fairlie, the festival organiser, who had lost tension in his favourite, antique blade. He was keen to have it repaired but cautious of the problem getting worse so we made a bet as to whether I could improve the blade for him.
With assistance from Christiane Laganda I set about carefully hammering the body of the blade to stretch it and restore the tension. Everyone was slightly nervous and so we didn’t photograph the process but suffice to say that Simon was pleased, mowed with the blade in the team event and I won the prize money which I promptly spent on a 95cm vintage blade of my own.
Later in the day my mate Kevin Austin from Cornwall asked me to repair one of his blades and I was able to guide him through the process of doing it himself to begin learning the skills too.
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