Monday, February 6, 2012
Why the scythe?
Some of us are entertained by what some may consider the off-beat or maybe even weird. My interest in the scythe probably fits in the former category. I think of it as akin to some of what drives others to become re-in-actors like my former coworker Ray Fawkes. He, sometimes with his whole family, has been involved in re-living history of various ages from pre-revolutionary America to the Civil War to WWII.
Sitting here at my netbook at ~2:00 AM awakened by a heartburn episode and waiting for the antacid to do it's thing, I opened a whole new world by Googling "blade peening". I opened the door on what one might call the lifestyle of the scythe.
There were links to material on industrial processes for the hardening of things like turbine blades but most were about scythe blade peening, the hand hammering of the edge of scythe blades to thin and harden them so the edge can be as keen and durable as possible. Most of the latter were to parts of websites devoted to a whole range of simpler lifestyles incorporating various aspects of the "period" ways from the "age of the scythe", which includes almost the entire pre-industrial era of human civilization.
One must remember that the industrial age wasn't the first time the inventive nature of mankind appeared on earth. There were a host of tools around prior to then, many of which were of designs that were refined by centuries or even millenia of use experience.
The industrial age brought with it the attitude that in every case possible, the old way of doing things must be abandoned in total as if there was nothing about it worth incorporating in today's methods and tools. Personally, I find that just plain stupid. Tools used successfully for centuries were used because they worked by lessening the burden of whatever task they were applied to. In each case there must be some aspect worth examining for reference and application via modern technology. I find the scythe to be just about the perfect example of that.