Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Don't mess with his daughter

Bei der Heumahd (ca. 1935), Schwarzwald.


  1. CW:

    Wanted to edify some of your viewers as to what they are seeing in this picture. First off, the object in his right hand is not a sharpening stone - it is a sharpening anvil. It is kept in a small leather sheath that you can just see on his right hip and is held up by the belt you see (the suspenders keep his pants up). In this leather sheath is also a tiny hammer (that doesn't look like a hammer) which is used with the anvil shown.

    Back in the day a scythe like this could be generations old, but if they were sharpened with a stone, it would be ground away within years. Instead, the farmer would take the anvil (the business end on this one is in the palm of his hand) and sink the end you see into the ground, lay the edge of the scythe on the crown of the anvil and with the hammer strike the very edge of the scythe to the thinnest edge as can be found. Since this makes for a ragged edge, the farmer ends up with a 3' long serrated knife. All the better for a long day in the fields.

    I have used this particular piece of equipment on many an acre and can tell you that you are aware of every inch of that cutting edge and frequent sharpening of the areas that need it are not only to ease the task, but also provides small rest sessions during a long day. For some reason my scythe always got duller during the last half of the day than the first.

    Papa Ed.

    1. Excellent information! Thanks for sharing.