Seize the JigSo, you’ve had your scythe for a season, maybe two. You’ve become fairly adept at honing with your medium grit stone. But lately you’ve been knocking over more weeds than you’ve been cutting. Oh the frustration!
You know, academically, that when your blade no longer holds an edge (doesn’t stay sharp very long) it’s time to peen it. Well, maybe you don’t know that. Maybe you just have the vaguest memory of hearing us yammer on about peening. Perhaps you have an equally fuzzy recollection of a small, heavy box hitting the floor and skidding under the couch as you enthusiastically ripped open your Outfit box.
Whatever the case, it’s time to get out that “jig thing,” but darned if this isn’t THE most intimidating part of this whole mowing experience.
“Huh,” you think. “Where did I put that little heavy box?”
And that is the first step. Find your jig. If you can readily locate it, there’s a reason to feel a little smug right there.
Now. Let’s pause here. Peening your blade for the first time IS a momentous occasion. And a project. It deserves a little time in your schedule, so whip out your device and block out an hour in your electronic calendar and then return to this post at the allotted time and read the rest of this article. I’m serious! GO!
You’re back! Your next action concerns your peening log. You’ll need one and it’s likely you don’t have one. And really, who does? I certainly didn’t... and I work at Scythe Supply and live on a 60-acre wooded lot. A friend made a peening log for me and if he hadn’t, my peening jig would likely still be “mint in box.” Again, a vigorous pat on the back to you for accomplishing this yourself!
You need a peening log. Your peening jig sets into a peening log. Do not hammer on the post when situating your jig into the log; use your Thingamajig as a barrier between the anvil base and your hammer face (see our Making a Peening Log article for details). When you have a peening log and you set your peening jig into it, it’ll look like this:
Today, the only thing you have to do is: make a decision. How are you going to get a peening log in your life?
You can either make a peening log yourself, order one from Scythe Supply ($40 plus shipping), or the gift-giving season is upon us... perhaps your nearest and dearest would like to make or buy a peening log for you.
If you (or a dear, generous friend) have a good set of tools, making your own is easy peasy. Click here for instructions on making a peening log.
If you’ve read the instructions and making a peening log just isn’t in your wheelhouse, that’s alright. Your next action is to add “peening log” to your wish list or place an order for one. Scythe Supply offers a peening log, item #9050. The price is $45 plus shipping (about 12 pounds). There! It’s in the pipeline! Good work!
While you’re waiting for delivery of your peening log, make yourself a cup of tea and warm up to the idea of peening. You can get out The Scythe Book (a copy was included with your Outfit) or you can hop on the computer and go to the Workshops section of our website where you’ll find a wonderful discussion of peening and lots of helpful photos. We also have a Peening the European Scythe DVD available for purchase, item #8005: Peening & Sharpening European Scythe Blades, $15 plus shipping.
Next, while you’re waiting for that log, confirm that you have a suitable hammer on hand. A common carpenter’s hammer, or household hammer, 16-20 oz, is what you’ll be wanting.
You may also like to use this time to figure out an apron of some sort. Metal working can be tough on your trousers, so plan to protect them with at least an old towel. If you are crafty, fashion that towel into an apron that you can tie around your middle.
Anytime you hone or peen your blade, protect your hands with gloves. The pair you use to carry in your firewood will do just fine. The main thing is that they are comfortable, so you’ll wear them! If you don’t have a pair of gloves, now is a good time to add that to your shopping list.
Let’s fast forward to the near future. I see you poised before your shiny new peening station (your peening log and something to sit on). The jig is firmly set in the log (don’t hammer on the center post!). You have your blade and a hammer. You’ve reviewed the technique. You are ready!
Congratulations! Believe it or not, the worst is behind you. What’s ahead is practice. You’ve learned new things many times. You know at a certain point, you must summon your courage and take the leap. The Scythe Book or reference material of choice on the floor beside you is a comfort.
Remember you have scything friends a phone call or e-mail away: (207) 853-4750 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fall is a quieter season for us and a great time to catch us for a little pep talk.