Making a Peening Log

Image of Scythe Supply's peening log

Setting the Peening Jig into the Log

If you have purchased a peening log from us there are three holes drilled close together in the end of the log. The smallest of the three is for mounting the peening jig and the larger two for storing the two caps.

The spike on the peening jig goes into the marked hole in the peening log. Insert the spike into the hole as far as you can by hand.  

Image illustrating hammer strike points on the peening jig to ensure an even set.Next take a short length of wood and set it on the flat face of the peening jig. Gently strike the end of the stick with a hammer to force the jig into the hole until the bottom of the jig is flush with the top of the log.   

Strike on the “X” marks indicated in the drawing at left. Alternate blows between the strike points until the jig is set. Use the following  sequence so the jig will set evenly. Strike at 12 o’clock, then 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. Repeat the sequence until the jig is set.

Do not strike on the center post as the blows may jar it loose.

The jig can be removed by holding the center post and pulling while striking the side of the jig lightly with a hammer. This may take several taps.

There are two other small (3/8”) holes on the top of the log. These are for anvils, if you have purchased them. The anvils are set in the same manner as the jig.

Making a Peening Log

We suggest the best way to mount a peening jig or anvil(s) is into the end of a log. The end grain is solid enough to withstand the blows of a hammer but resilient enough to absorb the shock and not transfer it through the hammer into your arm.  

Use a log about 6” to 8” in diameter. Softwood is best but hardwood will do. If a log is not available you can use a section of 6x6 or 8x8 lumber from your local lumber dealer. An alternative is to spike or screw together lengths of 2x6 or 2x8 lumber.

Cut off both ends square. In one end drill a 3/8” hole about 1.5 inches deep at a convenient location for the spike on the bottom of the peening jig or anvil. If you’ve made a built-up log be sure to locate the hole away from any edges to prevent splitting. The hole won’t look wide enough for the spike but it will expand as the spike is driven into the wood. This is especially true of softwood. Hardwood can be a bit more difficult with a tendency to split. Go slowly. See directions above for setting the jig into the log.

Image illustrating measuring the height of the peening log based on your own body measurements. Image illustrating how a blade rests on the completed peening log.

The height of the log should be about 22 inches. For most people this is the right height to support the overhanging blade on a thigh while you sit comfortably on a chair or bench.  For a height customized to your body follow the directions outlined below.

  1. Sit in the chair you will use when peening.
  2. Lay a straight edge across both knees as in photo 1.
  3. Measure from the floor to the bottom of the straight edge.
  4. Subtract 1.5 inches from this measurement to allow for the height of the jig or anvil.
  5. Cut the log to this measurement.
  6. In the photo the bottom of the board is 23” so the log is cut to 21.5”.
  7. Locate and drill 3/8” holes for jig and/or anvils.

The proper height allows the blade to lie on the flat of the jig or anvil while any overhang is supported by your legs as shown in the second photo.

Drill a pair of 15/16” holes for the jig caps and you are set to go. We got a little fancy by attaching a piece of rope around the log, using fence staples to provide loops to hold the hammers. The rope also forms a long, top handle that allows the log to be lifted and carried.

To save wear and tear on your pants, to say nothing of your legs, wear an apron made from an old, thick towel or something similar.

For more information about peening and sharpening please refer to The Scythe Book or check out our Peening Workshop.


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