Benjamin Bouchard

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since May 23, 2012
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Recent posts by Benjamin Bouchard

Hank Waltner wrote:So I should just sharpen with a course stone and work grits done until a fine edge



You'll need to bevel it, first, which (if using manual means) will be done fastest using a chainsaw file or half-round file, as I described above. The best edge for scythes is a coarse scratch pattern with a crisp apex, so use a coarse stone to do any initial honing and then chase it with a light pass of a fine stone just to crisp it up a little without erasing the toothiness of the edge given to it by the coarse stone.
1 day ago

Hank Waltner wrote:How do I know if I need to peen it or sharpen with a grind stone



Only continental European blades are peened. American, Nordic, and English blades are all heat treated hard, and are often of laminated construction. Peening would not only be likely to damage those blades, but if done on a laminated blade would result in the edge being comprised of soft cladding iron rather than the core edge steel.

1 day ago

T Blankinship wrote:

Benjamin Bouchard wrote:

You're looking for a 7-9° angle per side, which should result in a visual bevel width of about 1/4" on both sides. The tang angle will also need adjusting, which is best done using either an induction heater or an oxy-acetylene torch to heat the shank of the tang (the straight portion before the 90° elbow) and cranking the tang with the blade locked in a vise. When in mowing position (which is often a little lower than you think--mime a few strokes to settle into it) the edge should be riding about a finger's thickness off the ground.



Good eye I did not see the bend in the tang. I looked at https://permies.com/t/143628/scythes/difference-American-scythe-European-scythe . Is this blade an American scythe blade?



It's an American blade. The tang will be flat from the factory and most vintage blades never had the tang angle properly adjusted as was intended. Because most of the lay adjustment with American scythes comes from the neck of the snath, it made more sense to sell the blades with the tang flat and have a local metalworker do the final adjustment. These days if you don't have the equipment to do the job yourself you can have a local machine shop or independent mechanic do it for you.
1 day ago

Hank Waltner wrote:I have two scythe blades but I’m new to scythes so ho can I tell the difference in America pattern and Europe pattern.



Here's a photo of a few global styles. Top is a Nordic (Norwegian) blade, below that is an English ("patent tang" riveted) blade, and American blade, and a continental European blade (Italian.) Bear in mind that there are lots of variations within the various global styles, but they broadly follow the appearance of these examples.



1 day ago

T Blankinship wrote:I found this Briar Edge by True Temper scythe blade at a antique store today. I was excited to find this blade. Any ideas on how to protect the blade from rust? Also the blade has what looks like black paint on it. Should I repaint the blade or not? The edge does need a little work on the beard.



Presuming you're going to be putting it to use, don't worry about rust removal--mowing will scrub and pickle all of the rust off of it in use. Briar Edge blades are whole steel construction so you should be able to use the draw-filing method with a chainsaw or half-round file to bevel it. You're looking for a 7-9° angle per side, which should result in a visual bevel width of about 1/4" on both sides. The tang angle will also need adjusting, which is best done using either an induction heater or an oxy-acetylene torch to heat the shank of the tang (the straight portion before the 90° elbow) and cranking the tang with the blade locked in a vise. When in mowing position (which is often a little lower than you think--mime a few strokes to settle into it) the edge should be riding about a finger's thickness off the ground.
1 day ago

David F Paul wrote:Very cool! thanks for sharing! I would guess based on what benjamin said, the austrian model blade should probably be peened



As I noted in my post, that's not an Austrian pattern. It's Swedish. It should NOT be peened.
3 days ago
The snath is a Seymour, either a No.1 or No.2 model. You can tell which it is by seeing if there are 3 holes in the heel plate or 4--if it has 4 holes arranged in a ᠅ shape it's a No.2 bush snath. The blade is a Swedish pattern one, and while I'm uncertain of the manufacturer who produced them for Craftsman, it was probably Igelfors Liefabrik as I've seen some Craftsman-marked blades that definitely used their tooling. Many of the Craftsman blades, including that one, have impression die forged tangs with a distinctive knob to them that's very unusual, it being forged in rather than being a simple upturn of the end of the tang. I would guess that both the snath and blade are probably of 1960's make, and almost certainly no earlier than the 1950's. The green blade has the appearance of a 1930's-1940's True Temper, though there are some other possible makers, and of course any tang markings would help clear that up.

For freehand grinding on a wheel I suggest having the wheel turn away from you and hold the blade at a roughly 45° oblique to the face of the wheel. The tension made by the friction against the wheel will help steady the blade in your hand, and the slanted approach both assists with clearance and minimizes the thickening effect of wobbling the edge on the wheel. Always view your angle as relative to the contact point rather than a fixed point in space that the wheel turns under.
1 week ago
Grass blades can generally handle sparse weeds and resistant stems no problem. The reason for choosing shorter/thicker blades is usually more to do with the density of those kinds of growth. Generally if you're dealing with mostly grass with some other kinds of growth in it, the grass blade is what you want. It's only if the bulk of what you're mowing is resistant weeds or woody suckers/canes that you'd want to move to a ditch blade or brush blade.
3 weeks ago

Kate Downham wrote:Has anyone here used a peening jig with a scythe? Or peened their scythe in another way?

I read that peening jigs are supposed to be more failproof than an anvil and hammer and wondered about getting one.

I was also wondering how often an Austrian scythe needs to be peened? Is it worth owning the gear to do this from the start, or is it fine to get it in a year or so? Or is it something a local blacksmith can do in a few minutes instead?



Freehanding gives overall better results, as the typical cap jig creates a poorly-blended bevel and mashes the edge against the central post. Practicing on thin sheet steel is a good method to get used to the process before trying it on an actual blade. Peening is typically needed after roughly 8 hours of continuous use, and so will be performed frequently. Setting the bevel the first time will always be the most time-consuming and doing some of the thinning with a file is often helpful rather than trying to peen the bevel in entirely.
1 month ago

Lina Joana wrote:Nice! Where do you find one like that?



They're my own design. I don't have many of the bell-shaped rings for Euro tangs on hand but the few I do have on hand are here. The straight-walled rings for American tangs and the heel plates are available in higher volume. I do plan on having a batch of the bell rings done up in the future, though.
1 month ago