Workshop 2: Honing

Put your whetstone in its holder, then fill the holder half full with water and wear it on your belt into the field. Too much water and you'll wet your pants every time you bend over.

Wipe the blade clean before honing. Use a handful of grass as a mop.

To hone the blade in the field, stand the scythe on end, blade at eye level. Face the BACK of the blade. Hold the blade at the tang end with your left hand. Hold the whetstone by an end in your right hand. Place the stone under the blade and with some upward pressure, draw it away from the edge as you slide it towards the tip. Lightly stroke the back side of the blade to remove any wire edge. Honing the blade Do not bevel the back of the blade, keep it flat. Repeat this pattern, alternating from under to over the blade in short overlapping strokes. Move your left hand along the top of the blade for support as you work the stone from beard to tip. In practice the right hand holding the stone stays safely away from the edge of the blade as the wrist provides most of the honing motion.

Hone the blade frequently in the field, as often as every 5 minutes. When you feel the blade loose its "bite" it's time to hone. Honing should take less than a minute. A sharp blade has a characteristic sound and feel as it cuts the grass.

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