ScrapHappy September 2021: Scythe o’ the times – Again


Too good to scrap

Before the once upon a time started, there was a scythe that was used and hung up after each day’s toil in a slightly-too-big-to-be-called-a-shed shed. This happened a lot until one day, it stopped happening at all, and the scythe hung there, quietly awaiting the day it would be taken down, to feel once more the yielding of the blades of grass to its blade of steel…

Once upon a time, some Snail friends moved into a house next to which was an old barn-like building. In this building-of-indeterminant-status, there was a very old scythe, hanging from a rafter. This was a happy scythe – it had done its work and was resting and rusting in peace, while the world outside went on its way, presumably growing very tall grass and cutting it down again with very sharp, much newer blades.

Time passed, about 12 years to be vaguely precise although in scythe years, that’s about three weeks (they can live an extremely long time). One day, Mr Snail appeared and then things happened…

I mean, you can’t let a scythe rust to nothing without an attempt to rescue it, right?

This piece of scrap really was quite a challenge. I use a scythe reasonably regularly (see here) but I am still learning, particularly when it comes to the black magic that is peening. This is where you repeatedly whack the edge of a blade to make it better at being sharp, which it certainly isn’t immediately after having been whacked with a hammer. I have peened one of my own blades a couple of times but, because I don’t scythe rocky fields and so start to damage the edge, any difference I have thought was there before and after peening might be down to wishful thinking.

This old scythe was an opportunity to see if my peening technique was actually doing something since, when I tried to cut grass with it, it mostly folded the grass over, without actually doing any cutting. The snath (shaft and handles) seemed OK (it’s metal) although the wooden grips could do with a coat of varnish.

This blade was so blunt I nearly called it Emily. Or Anthony.

This blade was so blunt I nearly called it Emily. Or Anthony.


Peening jig (not a dance)

Peening jig (not a dance)



Other bit of peening jig (still not a dance)

After peening, the blade was definitely sharper, but the set-up was clearly wrong. A couple more hours of playing and now it will cut reasonably well – ultimately, I think a new blade will be the answer but until then… scraphappiness abounds!


Proof that the scythe can now do what it claims

One man went to mow etc. etc. Sorry you can't see his legs, his wearing camouflage...

One man went to mow etc. etc. Sorry you can’t see his legs, he’s wearing camouflage…


P.S. A warm welcome to Jule, the newest Scraphappy member!

Many other people contribute to Kate and Gun’s wonderful ScrapHappy every month – check out what they have been up to too!


KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jill, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, Nóilin and Viv


Categories: gardening, repair, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “ScrapHappy September 2021: Scythe o’ the times – Again

  1. You are to be commended for your perseverance!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t help feeling there’s a limerick in there somewhere, but for the life of me I can’t bring it to life. Love the last photo, but feel for the dog, who is clearly running for the hills before that particular vorpal blade goes snicker-snack. Good work, that Snail, and I hope you’ve named that blade Lazarus…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely picture of Alex and half of Missy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Going Batty in Wales

    Well done Mr S! Almost time to put scythes into their winter hibernation but good to know that old timer will be ready for work in Spring.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It would have been exciting to try the shot-peening method, or the blasts of light peening method, but I expect the whacking (with a ball peen hammer?) was safest…Carry on subduing the manxsome grass!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. it takes a keen eye to see a good scrap when it is just hanging around.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great story! It took awhile for me, not so good at English, to understand what a scythe is 🙂 In Swedish it´s called lie (you pronounce it “leea”)!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s fab. And my chum Kim over on Instagram has lots of really spiffing tips about how to remove rust with absolutely no (or very minimal effort) and only household ingredients. She’s a total inspiration. Find her here:

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That is one way to keep fit, shearing the lawn instead of the mower

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: ScrapHappy December 2021: Repair, Reuse, REVIEW | writinghouse

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