Using the jig to peen a scythe

Peening a scythe using the jig
This afternoon I peened a couple of scythe blades that I’ve been using for some contract work at Lancaster Castle. The peening jig is a brilliant tool, easy to use and when done well produces a very tidy and well-shaped edge in a short time.
Peening a scythe using the jig
Peening is the process of reshaping the blade to form the bevel into a shallower angle. The peening jig simplifies this process as the accuracy is, to a large extent, built into the tool.
These two photos show the bevel after peening with the two caps, the first cap creates a groove a few mm back from the edge and the second cap then smooths and thins the area towards the edge.
Peening a scythe using the jig Peening a scythe using the jig
A single pass with each of the caps can be enough to create a good bevel angle but I like to make a third pass, repeating cap no 2 but this time holding the edge of the blade slightly away from the guide post. This allows the jig to peen the scythe right to the edge and gives a finer shape.
Peening a scythe using the jig
I peened my 65cm Ditch blade and my Hahnsense, also 65cm long. The Hahnsense, which used to be called a Stone blade, is very similar to a Ditch blade but with a more curved belly. They’re both brilliant all-rounder blades for cutting everything from meadow grass to nettles, brambles and even small scrub.
Peening a scythe using the jig
With a nice, steady rhythm it took me about 45mins to peen both blades including getting my gear and packing up. A quick sharpen with a whetstone and the blades are ready for mowing later this week.
I am teaching a one day scythe peening workshop for Austrian scythes on 15th October at Slaidburn, Lancashire. Come and learn how to peen a scythe blade, how to repair cracks and meet up with other mowers at a lovely farm location. It’s a great way to finish off the mowing season. If you’d like to book a place, please email me at

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0 Responses to Using the jig to peen a scythe

  1. Paul Reichert says:

    I like these types: maybe the scythe has to be reworked sooner, but it does not make noise. I can peen on sundays in the morning and nobody will complain.
    But they are more expensive. For peening scythes which are not too dull “Dengelmax” is an option, too ( I own both, but like the first one more because it is easy to peen thick scythe blades. On the other hand “Dengelmax” is much cheaper.
    Kind regards from Southern Germany

    • Steve Tomlin says:

      Hello Paul
      Yes, I have both these tools too. I didn’t really get on with the Dengelmax and, though the other machine can produce good results, it is very expensive, much less portable than my jig and anvils and not much quicker. I agree that the sound of peening can be loud but it is soon over and no more annoying than when my neighbours run their lawnmowers!
      Thanks for your message, happy peening

  2. René says:

    Thank you, Steve, for this post!
    I am glad to see, that even a skilled scyther like you uses this jigs.
    Question is: Why do you use it? Is it faster, more efficient, easier to do or is the result a better one? What I was wondering: A traditional peening anvil lasts about forever. What about this (special) jigs: Do they last at least a scyther’s life?

    • Steve Tomlin says:

      Hello René
      A good question. I am very familiar and capable of peening with the freehand method but there are several factors involved in deciding which method to use.
      For the work these blades will be doing, a very fine edge isn’t appropriate and the jig will very quickly produce a good result. I teach people to use the peening jig so I think it’s important that I maintain my familiarity with it through regular use and also explore the capability of the tool. The edge I have made here, though not as tapered as on a meadow blade, is very fine at the edge through the third pass I mentioned.
      I can’t see why this jig won’t last as long as the anvil; it is doing the same work.
      Best wishes

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