Winter Tasks and Projects


There is little rest even during winter for scythes, except on rainy and snowy days. This is the best time to check if the blades require more attention than the regular peening and cleaning. This is when we take care of more serious repairs. It is wise to disassemble the blade from the snath if we are not going to use it for a few days, especially those humid days, because we all know that humidity swells wood. If the blade still attached,

IMG_20141128_143643the ring will not allow to expand naturally the part of the snath that is covered (by the ring itself) as a result, it will become tight and weaken the wood at that point. This is obviously something to consider all year round, every time the snath gets wet.

Winter is a good time to grab an axe and a brush axe

IMG_20141128_120720and trim trees, clearing and eliminating all those saplings and new trees growing around stones and fences. And of course, at the same time we always look for those branches that might become a potential handle for axes, hay rakes, forks, etc.

Because during winter most trees do not have leaves, it is easy to spot what we have to cut and where. Also the whole process is easier since, without the leaves, brunches are much lighter. Meanwhile growth is almost stopped during winter, and the wood gets tighter and harder. As a result, the wood we cut at this time shrinks less that what we cut in late spring or summer.

Speaking of winter projects, here is one of mine: attach some handles on these totally different brush axes.

ATT_1417201158412_IMG_20141128_121909 The big one is called a kaiser or sling blade (yes, like the movie), and is double-sided, with a sharp bevel on both sides and weighing about 750 grams. You can easily cut, with one stroke, branches the size of an arm. It is a terrific tool.

The little one weighing 430 grams, has a hook that, (no is not for scratching your back) when you are cutting brush, allows you to hold back the tangled branches that sometimes fall toward you and position them at the right distance for the next stroke.

Untill the next project, lets take the shirt off, relax and watch soccer…

ATT_1417193144595_IMG-20141126-WA0000Stay sharp my friends…

The Gathering

IMG_0231 Well, finally after a few weeks of absence trying to catch up on accumulated tasks left behind due to my trip north to New Brunswick, Canada, where I spent a few intense days of what I like to call the North American Scythers Summit (NASS, not to be confused with the space agency), I would like to say, first, thanks to the Vido family for hosting graciously, openly and generously a group of scythe enthusiasts from around the world with different points of view, needs, and backgrounds. All, however, shared a common interest: promote and use the scythe in the 21st century. IMG_0192 I never saw before so many kinds of blades, from different makers, countries, styles to fit different needs of cutting etc… I never saw so many handle grips from natural twisted branches (or probably roots) and for sure, It is not easy to find some one (not only in the scythe world) with such a wide knowledge willing to share it with others. Peter does. IMG_0219 And we had a happy bonus: the friendliest baby goat to accompany all activities. IMG_0238IMG_0229IMG_0234 My long experience with the scythes was always based on work, except for the times that I participated in mowing competitions (that was even harder work). But this time, it was primarily ( but not limited to) about learning how to make snaths out of raw wood or branches of trees, regardless of variety. IMG_0220It was gratifying to see that all other participants were young people with the idea of promoting the use of the scythe in their future.

Previous photos were taken by Ashley Vido ( scythe and axe expert) and Jesse. Jesee is a young scythe enthusiast, promoter and as you can see a great photographer too.

Now slowly going back to reality, I leave you with the photo of this turtle that I took in George Washington and Jefferson National Forest Park last weekend.IMG_20140727_131322 He or she was crossing the road and I moved him or her before his or her life was cut short. Please do the same…