Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sunday Reading - A Mystery Tool From Yesterday

Gonna go ahead and do tonights and tomorrows post together since starting in the morning I won't have time to post much until Tuesday.

It rained here pretty much all day today for a change and I had another small farm and equipment auction to go to. I really cannot stress what a gold mine these auctions are turning out to be for anyone in a sustainable, homesteading or prepping mindset. I doubt we will ever see circumstances like I been seeing regionally again for many years.

It's no secret young people have been leaving the rural areas and filling the cities for years now but couple this with the fact that so many old timers are now retiring or passing on has taken the bottom out of prices for old farm stuff. Certainly some items especially antiques do fetch premium prices but typically only those that can be displayed easily and are readily identifiable. As we have went from 90% of the population being tied to the land to just under 4% or so today there is very little competition for tools and other items that would be a gift in a grid down situation.

No I didn't buy a tractor today either although I seriously thought about it. I did try and buy a 16 foot stock trailer but some Woman next to me wanted it bad so I let her have it at about $1500.00 which was still a pretty good deal for her.

I did however knock another old item off my bucket list of must have old farm tools.....

Perhaps SF can tell us what type of scythe this is or more to the point what specific cutting it was designed for. I was under the impression that the thinner blades were for Wheat and Hay while the wider ones were for Corn but I may totally off the mark with that.

All the handles and blade were firmly attached and the main wood handle was still very solid and strong.

It has this three square hole adjustment tang that I guess is used to move the blade to the desired angle? Maybe for different types of crops? I sure don't know yet. This is my first adventure in learning scythe work.

I picked up this beauty for the whopping amount of eight bucks.

I then bid on a box that contained some hitch pins and yet another grease gun, I have 6 grease guns now my goal is to mount one on each tractor and the baler plus have spares. Inside the box was this mystery tool.

I really don't know what it is. An old guy next to me said he thinks it is a fence or wire stretching tool. The head swivels back and forth and it has what looks like teeth and guides of some sort so maybe he is right.

I can kinda see where you could brace the teeth against a post and then crimp the wire under the head while getting some grip on the wire. Maybe? It's pretty heavy duty and I really liked the patina on the handle. If nothing else you could smack a looter with it hard I think :)

Anyway I only paid 2 bucks for the box it was in.

Anyone have any ideas what it might be?

Tomorrow I am going to look at a Jubilee!!!!

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!


  1. Good one, I call those grass blades since around here they used a grain cradle for stuff like wheat. The cradle has wooden frame work that bunches up the grain stalks to where they could be tied in bundles to later be manually put into a thresher. They have blades way longer than the grass blade. Anyway your blade is long and not as deep and works perfectly for hay and light weeds. I say light as I hit one on a small sapling once and snapped the steel off just back of the blade. You will need a hand sharpening stone which may be harder to find than the scythe but there should be some laying around maybe in an old hardware store. It looks like a good one.

    1. I agree that it's a grass blade. This is the kind of blade Dan has and trying to cut heavy weeds is not kind on the blade! You can get a brush blade for it for heavier growth.

    2. Sf and Leigh - Good to know. I am a rank newby where it comes to scythes. I messed with a couple when I was a kid but that's about it. I plan on learning how to use it somewhat and hoping I never have to rely on it :)

      By sharpening stones you just mean the standard old block stones used for sharpening knives with I assume or are you talking about a specially shaped one?

    3. The real old stones are actually stone but the modern (if you can call them that) are maybe 1 1/2 inch wide and maybe 3/4 inch thick or more. Probably 10 inches long and fit right in your back pocket though don't sit down on it. They are composite material and once you get a good edge on your blade it will only take a quick freshening up now and then when cutting. There is a lot on the internet about sharpening by using an anvil and hammer but I think this works on the very thin European style rather than the heavy steel ones that were used in our country. I get mine sharp enough to cut ham with as a sharp one is much easier to use. I cut hay before sunrise until maybe 9am as the grass stays damp and it cuts easier than dry grass. A short thick brush blade is like a machete on a stick, it will cut brush but is hard on the handle so I don't use it unless cutting wild rose or briers which it excels because the long handle keeps you out of the mess.

  2. Dennis

    I assume you know of this site,,,,

    Forgive me for the sites I add, I was curious about the tool and could fine nothing.

    1. Dennis - I had one of those sites bookmarked. There was another one I was browsing the other day too. I did find three pictures of tools that looked alot like the one from auctions that all listed it as a fencing tool but I am still baffled exactly how it was used.

      I appreciate the links regardless. I find that stuff fascinating.

  3. What a lovely scythe! I love scything, and before Lester got his mini tractor I cut one of our fields for hay, and made DIY bales tied up with pieces of remnant fabric (they looked very pretty!) all by myself. Lester was working on his computer full time, so there was only me to do the job. One of the best things was to go out to the field first thing in the morning to get the hay cut before it got too hot. One of the least pleasing jobs was having to go out a couple of times during the day in the heat and turn the rows of hay. Now Lester does the job himself, but does not bale the hay, just gives it straight to the cows......
    But I love scything although I do not keep the blade very sharp because the dogs tend to romp around me and they might collide with the swing of the blade and cut themselves, or I might bump myself with the blade...both of these events have happened so a half sharp blade is better for this little lady.
    As for sharpening the blade, our local garden centres have stones you can buy to this job. And as for the 'proper' swinging of the scythe so that you get into a wonderfully relaxing rhythm of hearing the swish of the blade as you cut the grass....have a look on YT .....there are plenty of folk who show you how to do it.
    We got rid of our electric strimmers because they were so noisy, were hard to start, and tended to get tangled up in things. The scythe took over. It is quiet, relaxing, and if you get the swing just right, also good for the waist line! I never got a bad back using it because I took the time to practice the correct way to swing it as I walked round the house! And there is nothing like cutting down weeds which are stiff with is like cutting warm butter!

    1. Vera - Well the plan is to have this and know how to use it when the decline gets to the point it's all I have left. I don't think I will ever try trimming with it as I doubt I would ever get that good :)

      The critters are my biggest concerns right now. I will have to lock up the cats and dogs especially my supervisor and the way things have been going the chickens too!!!! The chickens seem to be as much supervisor as the cats.

  4. Dan says he can certainly see that it might be a fencing tool. Hopefully someone can give you good information so you'll know how to use it.

    1. Leigh - I found a couple pictures on auction sites that say fencing tool but no insight on how it was used yet. It's got my curiosity peeked now. I am betting it's specifically for barbed wire though due to the handle.

  5. As for the scythe, if you keep it quite sharp, you can cut faster than with a gas powered trimmer by far. Of course, it is dangerous to critters nearby, but once you learn to use it, it is very easy to use and safe for yourself. It can be tiring at first if you don't take your time.
    I have used both types of scythes, with the back rest and without, for hay, and they both work, but both have good and bad.
    The tool I have never seen but it sure looks like a good one! Seriously though, I have to agree that my best guess would be for stretching fence, although I would not have the first idea how to go about it. You have to find the right old farmer and he will know right off.

  6. You might like to consider an Austrian scythe they are far lighter and far less stress on the body. Especially for those unused to it! Scythe blades don't just need sharpening they will need peening to keep the blade sharp and at the right angle. Learning how is well worth the effort saved in extra force required for each cut!

  7. Oh wow, that is a great find! I should start going to auctions again. If I could just find the time.

  8. That's one of those elusive board stetchers.
    Google it


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