Yes You Can Peen a Sickle

sickle 2

Well, the truth is that the same way not all dogs are trainable, not all sickles are “peenable” either. In general, the sickles with wider and thinner blades that somehow resemble a little bit the shape of a scythe, like the one in the previous picture, can and should be peened the same way a scythe blade can be peened.

The sickle is one of the most ancient tools, It has and is still being used by every culture. That explains the wide variety of types and styles of them.


Made for harvesting, it precedes even the scythe. While the sickle has a very short handle that forces the “harvester” to work in a squatting position, the scythe appeared later as an innovation with a longer handle, allowing the person to work on an upright position (and less tiring).

Golf course - rock and high grass

We saw on earlier posts that the scythe blade is curved in three ways:


crescent, then around the middle of the blade, it rests on its belly, curved on both along the transversal and along the elongate (length of the blade). But sickles are usually flat, the only curve they have is the crescent and sometimes a little tiny bit elevated at the point. The one in the following illustration, marked with a swan (logo) is made in Austria, weights 280 gr. and is very well adapted to its purpose, which is harvesting. It has one section peened, just under the logo, the rest still not, so you can see the difference.


Obviously, in addition to the peening, we also file the bevel, and hone it with our regular sharpening whet stones. However, since we work in a squatting position, we are very close to obstacles, wires and stones that we might encounter and, therefore, we can see and avoid them. The result is that very rarely do we have considerable damage to our blade and that allows us not to have to hone or sharpen it as frequently as we do a scythe.


Stay sharp my friends.

Why the Scythe?

The scythe is more than an ancient hand tool. More than an iron blade. More than a curiosity or caricature. And its growing renaissance is long overdue.

The revival worldwide of the scythe is not an accident. It responds not to the demand of powerful landlords who harvest fields of hundreds or thousands of acres but to those who, with less land, want to do it right. The scythe cuts cleanly (no smoke comes out of it), quietly (no disturbing noise either) and efficiently (does its job). It adapts to basically all types of terrain and contributes greatly to your health since it is a great rhythmic and relaxing exercise.

With this site, I would like to take what I have learned over the decades, scything grass and hay in Spain and the United States, to a wider audience who might appreciate its nuances, its “green technology,” its connection to the earth—and in particular, to share in the Washington, D.C., area (including Maryland and Virginia) my passion for and knowledge of this ancient tool.

The scythe is more than a simple curved blade. It is a tool perfect for maintaining land, body and mind. When you mow, you exercise almost every muscle of your body. You establish a meditative rhythm, the arms and scythe as one, cutting swaths with a gentle whoosh, revealing newly manicured green. And with no gas exhaust produced, it is just you and the smell of cut grass. The process is pure joy.

alfonso scytheGas mowers bombard our senses, produce noise and air pollution, and damage vehicles when they launch stones and gravel like missiles. They are also hard on grass, by breaking rather than cleanly cutting each stem. Scythes, on the other hand, do not damage plants, vehicles, sidewalks, corners of structures or your senses of hearing and smell. It has access to narrow and uneven places that a mower does not. And there are almost zero maintenance costs since one blade properly maintained lasts many years. Indeed, around the world farmers and city managers are rediscovering the scythe for manicuring public and private spaces cost effectively and efficiently.

The scythe’s origins may have faded into history. But the tool is as relevant today as it was before gas-powered machines were built to mow.

Feel free to visit this site regularly for new information, instruction schedules and random musings as the mowing season begins.