Benjamin Bouchard

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since May 23, 2012
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Recent posts by Benjamin Bouchard

Judith Browning wrote:Thanks!

I had to go try to vary the 'slicing action' it and I see where even before I do anything different sharpening that makes a big difference.

'Setting a coarse scratch pattern'  .....both sides of blade or just on the beveled side?

I keep forgetting to ask, just what is a 'whipping stick'?   aluminum?, leather?  wood?

Both sides of the blade. When sharpening the backside of a Euro blade you'll be running the stone so it's parallel with the flat region behind the edge apex.  It'll be almost dead flat on the back. A whipping stick is just a wooden stick used like a strop to catch and draw out any micro mis-alignments of the edge so you have a crisp apex. A dowel can be used, but I prefer a piece of 1/2"x2" pine sanded to a slightly oval cross section since it gets better contact area.
6 hours ago
Certain grasses are soft and tender, and almost "rubbery" in texture, some are firm but juicy, like a hard, ripe grape. Either of these types cut easily with a polished edge. Other grasses are more springy, dry, or waxy. These grasses tend to cut best with a toothy edge that more readily bites into the slippery surface of the "hard" grasses, but a crisp apex is always needed, and a more exaggerated slicing action may be needed as well. After setting a coarse scratch pattern, chase it with a light pass or two from a fine stone, then a whipping stick. Then focus on getting a good slicing action. The dry grasses shouldn't be much of an issue if you follow those guidelines, but they can be frustrating otherwise.
1 day ago

Judith Browning wrote:My new stones are here...and yes, the coarse one made all the difference.
Only one band aid later and I have my scythe cutting so much nicer
Thanks Benjamin!

I am surprised how smoothly so many grasses cut but not bermuda grass.  It is about a foot tall in places and the blade just does not slice through it as neatly as Johnson grass and chicory and clover.

I also think I over peened in the end and ended up with a more fragile edge after sharpening that cut well but soon had a lot of 'bur' along the edge...sharpened some more and now it seems fine.

Now I've sharpened my sickle also, no peening.  This is the year of lush growth here with so much rain.  It seems like all we are doing is 'chop and drop' over and tools keep my shoulder from hurting.


Makes a night and day difference, doesn't it?
2 days ago

Judith Browning wrote:Benjamin,  I'm looking at stones at your web site... this one says 'ultra coarse' ...would it work? too coarse?

I would like to order two from your site....a coarse one and something even finer than my 'medium' one from scythe supply that came with the 'kit' that is now called 'the dragon stone' but was called a Bregenzer stone

The Manticore is excellent for restoring the edge after jig peening, as well as for rapid corrections of damage out in the field. The Arctic Fox is the finest of our stones. :)

1 week ago

Judith Browning wrote:

You'll be spending all day with a fine stone trying to reapply an actual edge to the freshly formed bevel, and a coarse stone or a file will get you there way faster.

That's exactly what happened...I used the fine stone that I bought with the scythe..

I don't think I can buy one locally, will have to order.  My husband had some but we thought they were all too large.

I had all winter to get this together and did other things instead thinking there was plenty of the grasses are growing and I'm impatient.

Any hardware store should have a chainsaw file. That'll do the trick in a pinch, though it's not the ideal compared to a coarse stone. For filling that particular role, however, it'll work just dandy.
1 week ago
I'd personally suggest getting yourself a coarse stone. The edge dinging against the post is just something that happens inevitably because the metal is being stretched out by the peening cap and that causes it to push into the post even if it wasn't contacting it entirely before. You'll be spending all day with a fine stone trying to reapply an actual edge to the freshly formed bevel, and a coarse stone or a file will get you there way faster.
1 week ago

Judith Browning wrote:I give up for today.....

It does not seem like I'm getting anywhere.  

I've been lazy about learning to sharpen things as I have an expert in the house.  I think I peened it ok...might have held too firmly against the post though as there was more of a 'roll' along the edge than I expected.  I did find a courser stone and tried to sharpen, including smoothing the places where I could feel an edge with a fingernail ....finished with the fine stone and tried it on some foot high grasses.

I'm clearly not there yet

Once all light is eliminated from the edge, go over it a few more times just to be totally sure you've brought it fully to an apex, then give one or two light passes of a fine stone (helps crisp up the apex so there's not a ragged burr without erasing the toothy scratch pattern of the coarse stone) then strop with a whipping stick. Should be good and sharp then.
2 weeks ago
When using a jig, the edge gets mashed into the center post, so while it does thin the bevel, it destroys the edge. Use a coarse stone after peening to put the edge back on. If holding the blade edge up and sighting down its length under bright light, there should be no shining, reflective spots along it. Any shining spots on the edge are dull spots that are wide enough to reflect visible light, and those regions should be sharpened with a file or coarse stone until it is brought back to a crisp apex. Make sure to feel both sides of the edge with your thumbnail to detect any rolls in the edge, as well, so you don't just go filing/sharpening one side only when there's a roll on the other that's actually making the visual flat.
2 weeks ago
Adjusting the tang angle is pretty much the only way to get a truly perfect fit of user, blade, and snath, short of making the snath completely from scratch to match the blade. You can use things like wooden wedges or shaving away part of the end of the snath to adjust things to a certain degree with some snaths/blades, but those are kind of half-measures compared to just setting the tang angle properly. Luckily, anyone with an oxy-acetylene torch or an induction heater (many mechanics have them for loosening rusted nuts) should be able to do the necessary adjustments for you if you lack the tools or know-how to do it yourself.
1 month ago
After an extensive development period, Longfellow Snaths are finally ready for show time! These snaths are ideal for tall folk, or for shared use between users of greatly different heights.

1 month ago