The Scything Handbook: Learn How to Cut Grass, Mow Meadows, and Harvest Grain with a Scythe

The Scything Handbook: Learn How to Cut Grass, Mow Meadows, and Harvest Grain with a Scythe

by Ian Miller, 160 pages, 6x9, softcover. A great admirer of David Tresemer’s 1981 classic The Scythe Book and Peter Vido’s addendum to its 2nd addition two decades later, I wondered what a new book about the European scythe could contribute. Ian Miller’s handbook offers step-by-step clarity for the beginner along with plenty of fodder for the fanatic. He adds a tour of a pre-industrial scythe-works—thrilling for a scythe-geek like me—as well as more in-depth information about small-scale grain production and haying. The place where Tresemer failed us was in the sharpening, the trickiest part of using a European scythe—the forged blades must be frequently peened (cold-hammered) and honed to maintain a keen edge—and Miller’s explanation of peening is excellent if you’re ready to free-hand with hammer and anvil. Realistically, most mowers start out with a peening jig and will want Vido’s addendum to Tresemer to learn how to use this democratic little contraption. Miller’s exclusion of the jig is understandable: peening with hammer and anvil is inarguably superior, but requires more skill. My verdict is that any mower, or aspiring mower, will want both books on her shelf. -Elisabeth Benjamin


9747 The Scything Handbook: Learn How to Cut Grass, Mow Meadows, and Harvest Grain with a Scythe
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