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Scythe peening anvil

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I am thinking about forging a few scythe peening anvils for myself and a few friends who use scythes. We all peen our scythe blades on pieces of railroad rail cut into a square stump anvil shape, but it isn't as effective or as fast as a narrow peening anvil. I have quite a bit of 0.5"x4.5" 5160 flat bar that I can hot cut into narrower bars for ground anvils and narrow peening anvils mounted in a stump. Has anyone else attempted making a peening anvil from 5160? The only other options I have right now are unknown steel bars from vehicles. I have 1" sway bar from a 3/4 ton 1984 Chevrolet truck and a 1.5" dia. brake lever from a Peterbilt log truck. Well, on second thought I do have a couple sections of axle shaft from a 3/4 ton Dodge pickup left over from making some Brazeal style hot cut hardies. What would y'all use if you were in my boat?

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I just had  to google that to see what those are. They look a lot like bottom fullers. what I would do is basically make a bottom fuller except have the shank go down to a point. I personally would use the sway bar or axles, around 1 inch or 11/4 stock. You may want to also heat treat it since it will be used on cold steel is my understanding?

                                                                                                                     Littleblacksmith

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Price - very cool idea.  I have toyed with the idea of forging one as well.  I have never done it only because I have probably five or six anvil "store bought" ones.  Considering the very low force used to peen the blade, I would bet virtually any quality steel could be used.  Having said that, I am purely speculating and defer to anyone who has tried this.

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Anvils_narrow-broad.jpg

Wide and Narrow Anvils
Blades can be prepared with either of these two styles of anvils. The Wide Anvil is used with a cross peen hammer with the blade held concave side up. The Narrow Anvil is used with a flat hammer with the blade concave side down. Size is about 1" across the face.

 

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8 hours ago, Glenn said:

Anvils_narrow-broad.jpg

Wide and Narrow Anvils
Blades can be prepared with either of these two styles of anvils. The Wide Anvil is used with a cross peen hammer with the blade held concave side up. The Narrow Anvil is used with a flat hammer with the blade concave side down. Size is about 1" across the face.

 

I have already made the wide anvil style from railroad rail. They work well, but it takes a LOT of hammer control to hit only the very edge of the blade with the cross peen. That's why I want to forge the narrow style. I have used one of the narrow anvils, but it was an old wrought iron ground anvil with a tool steel face welded on. The narrow anvil above that Glenn shared is what I'll be making to use at home.
Here's a modern example of what it looked like. This is approximately the style I'll be making for a field anvil. The curled pieces of flat bar in the drifted slot near the base of the anvil keep it from sinking further into the ground when you're peening the blade in the field.

Rinaldi-field-peening-anvil-750x500.jpg

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If you have problems with hammer control thescytheshop.co.uk sell a jig, presumably they are available wherever you are....

I found a compound curved pein was effective on a polished block/anvil. Just enough curve along its axis to prevent the ends from leaving bruises. I ground it until it left a cigar shaped / long ellipse mark. It works well for pulling out cracks and snags as well as thinning the edge.

Alan

Peening Jig

jig.jpg

The jig is an alternative to the hammer and anvil which ensures that you hammer out the blade to a prescribed thickness. It requires less skill than freehand peening, and so a novice is much less likely to damage their blade — but on its own the jig will not normally achieve as good a result as accomplished freehand peening. The jig is also not as effective as a hammer and anvil for repairing cracks and nicks in the blade. On the other hand it works well on the tight curve of a sickle. 

The jig consists of a cylindrical polished metal drum, about the size of a small pot of face cream, with a spike coming out from the underneath to fix it in wood, and a machined metal column projecting upwards from the centre of the top circular surface. The blade is held the normal way up flat on the anvil with its edge touching the base of the column. A hollow cylindrical cap is placed over the column. This is accurately machined so that when tapped with a carpenter's hammer, it will compress the edge of the blade in the correct place. The blade is moved along, a millimetre at a time, as you tap. A second cap will compress the extreme edge of the blade even finer. 

There is a lot to be said for peening initially with the jig, to get the basic profile right in safety, and then finishing off with hammer and anvil to get a keen finish.

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Sorry to shift this thread but scythes have turned into a passion...  Peter Vido doesn't sell materials anymore. His cousin, Alexander, took over everything and can be found at http://scytheworks.ca/.  Also, if you e-mail him, he can send you photos of literally hundreds of blades not listed on his website.  I took several off his hands that are now all finding their way into specialized uses.

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On 8/5/2016 at 4:29 AM, Alan Evans said:

If you have problems with hammer control thescytheshop.co.uk sell a jig, presumably they are available wherever you are....

I found a compound curved pein was effective on a polished block/anvil. Just enough curve along its axis to prevent the ends from leaving bruises. I ground it until it left a cigar shaped / long ellipse mark. It works well for pulling out cracks and snags as well as thinning the edge.

Alan

Hi Alan,

I only have trouble on my square peening anvil. I do quite well with a narrow anvil. I think part of the problem is that all of my cross peen hammers have fairly wide, flat peens due to using them for forging. One of these days I'll get around to making a smaller cross peen hammer just for peening out nicks and chips in my scythes, but as of right now I have been lucky enough to not damage any of my scythe blades other than small nicks less than 1/4" wide. I use American style blades on an Austrian style snath. I have to adjust the tang angle a little bit to get the blade to lay properly, but it gives me a longer snath with a much thicker, tougher blade.
I have contemplated buying one of those peening jigs, but I can't see paying $40+shipping for one when I can make an anvil for practically free. People are always bringing me pieces of automotive scrap like axles, sway bars, springs and even body panels since I have put the word out to everyone in my community and have done free welding repairs on equipment for quite a few people after the major flooding we had a little over a month ago. I was also lucky enough to be gifted with an entire railroad car of met coal that derailed on a friend's property. I doubt I'll ever run out of coal for my forge even if I forge daily for a decade. We guessed that there were around 50-60 tons of coal in the pile. It took us around 20 trips to haul all of it to my house. I actually built a shed just to house it all to keep it out of sight.

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The narrow anvils shown above appear to have the slight curve along their length that I was referring to in my cross pein. If you just transpose those forms...the flat hammer and the crowned narrow anvil...to a flat anvil and a crowned pein You will be able to see exactly where the hammer blows are falling and make the micro adjustments necessary to pull out just the area you need. The advantage is being able to see what the tool is doing rather than those tell tale bruises being obscured underneath. You should get better instant feed back that way.

But if I am misreading the illustrations and the narrow anvils are straight, it is the crowned face of the flat hammer which is giving the "soft ended" effect required, which is the other issue.

You want the narrow radius across the pein to act as a fuller and move the metal radically perpendicular to its axis. You want the crown along its length to make it move more in the middle with less movement at either end. So that as you move along the length of the blade subsequent blows blend together.

Without the crown / ellipsoid ended profile, the metal moves equally along the entire length of the pein and leaves a sharp transition at the end. The transition will never correct with subsequent blows and always leaves a dimple in the scythe edge. Worse you are putting excessive shear forces into the metal at the end points with every blow.

I will do a sketch or two if you can't make sense of what I have written....

What a fantastic gift with the coal. Nice when favours given come back. What goes around comes around and all that.

I had a friend who alway said you should pass on a favour rather than just returning it...nice way of getting along with people!

Alan

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Lots of info on this thread. I'm just going to add a little based on what I've learned. First, in German, the correct spelling of the scythe anvil is dengelstock, not denglestock. In my collection of smithing goodies, I found my dengelstock and am enclosing a picture. In my 1939 Cassell's dictionary, the word dengeln is a verb meaning "whet a scythe by hammering."

Finally, a little story about using the scythe stone. An acquaintance living in Iowa would go every summer to help on his uncle's farm in northern Missouri. His uncle used a scythe, and my friend noticed that about every 10 to 15 minutes, his uncle would stand the scythe upside down on its snathe and stroke the blade with his stone. He said, "Gee unc, you sure do that a lot" to which his uncle replied, "Ain't no time lost in the whettin'."

I take his uncle's response as a pungent aphorism.

559.JPG

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12 hours ago, Alan Evans said:

The narrow anvils shown above appear to have the slight curve along their length that I was referring to in my cross pein. If you just transpose those forms...the flat hammer and the crowned narrow anvil...to a flat anvil and a crowned pein You will be able to see exactly where the hammer blows are falling and make the micro adjustments necessary to pull out just the area you need. The advantage is being able to see what the tool is doing rather than those tell tale bruises being obscured underneath. You should get better instant feed back that way.

But if I am misreading the illustrations and the narrow anvils are straight, it is the crowned face of the flat hammer which is giving the "soft ended" effect required, which is the other issue.

You want the narrow radius across the pein to act as a fuller and move the metal radically perpendicular to its axis. You want the crown along its length to make it move more in the middle with less movement at either end. So that as you move along the length of the blade subsequent blows blend together.

Without the crown / ellipsoid ended profile, the metal moves equally along the entire length of the pein and leaves a sharp transition at the end. The transition will never correct with subsequent blows and always leaves a dimple in the scythe edge. Worse you are putting excessive shear forces into the metal at the end points with every blow.

I will do a sketch or two if you can't make sense of what I have written....

What a fantastic gift with the coal. Nice when favours given come back. What goes around comes around and all that.

I had a friend who alway said you should pass on a favour rather than just returning it...nice way of getting along with people!

Alan

Thanks Alan, but I already knew about the scythe anvil geometry. I have already made a few of the square type, and you are correct, both the square and narrow anvils have gentle arcs from side to side. The only problem I have is the peens on my forging hammers are over 1/2 inch wide. I like wide peens. They move the metal much more than narrow peens and it isn't as hard to hammer the ridges out after spreading the stock metal. All of my cross peen hammers are 3 pounds or more, which doesn't help matters. (I forge most things with a 6 pound rounding hammer.) Scythe peening hammers are around 16 ounces if I remember correctly. I'll make one soon. I am getting ready to buy some 4340 round bar to make a set of ball peen hammers. I'll make sure I order enough to make a scythe peening hammer when I do it.

5 hours ago, Frank Turley said:

Lots of info on this thread. I'm just going to add a little based on what I've learned. First, in German, the correct spelling of the scythe anvil is dengelstock, not denglestock. In my collection of smithing goodies, I found my dengelstock and am enclosing a picture. In my 1939 Cassell's dictionary, the word dengeln is a verb meaning "whet a scythe by hammering."

Finally, a little story about using the scythe stone. An acquaintance living in Iowa would go every summer to help on his uncle's farm in northern Missouri. His uncle used a scythe, and my friend noticed that about every 10 to 15 minutes, his uncle would stand the scythe upside down on its snathe and stroke the blade with his stone. He said, "Gee unc, you sure do that a lot" to which his uncle replied, "Ain't no time lost in the whettin'."

I take his uncle's response as a pungent aphorism.

 

Hi Frank, you are correct. Dengelstock is the correct spelling.
I too use a scythe stone. The name I've always heard them called is canoe file. They are shaped like a canoe, so it makes sense. You can tell when a scythe blade starts to dull as some of the grass will lie down instead of being cut. When this happens I pull out my canoe file and run about 8 or 10 strokes down the blade. It realigns the edge and hones it back to a razor edge. If not for whetting the edge, the effort needed to cut grass and weeds would increase, along with the speed at which you have to swing the scythe. Since I can cut a 10 foot arc with my scythe, I would wear out in no time if I had to swing it very hard. As long as I keep it sharp I can cut from daybreak until around noon before needing to take more than a 5 minute break.
I lucked out a few years ago and found a vendor on eBay selling canoe files which were found in the back of a warehouse that the vendor had bought. The crates was assumed to be empty, but upon opening it, it was filled with hand made German canoe files and they were packed in straw. The paper labels were intact on all of the files. I bought a dozen of them for personal use and I added the 4 best ones to my antique tool collection.

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yeah; I can't spell in german or english and my typing is if anything is worse.  Thanks for the correction!

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On 8/7/2016 at 8:02 PM, Judson Yaggy said:

Price, any chance of a photo to two of the of your canoe files?

I'll try to get my wife to post a picture or two for me from work if this website isn't blocked by her school district. Our internet service provider hasn't repaired the lines since the major flooding in late June. We barely have enough speed to check emails or get on forums.

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Thank you for the information in this post. I found one of these about five years ago at a flea market with some other blacksmithing stuff. At the time I did not know what it was but it looked cool and it was only a few dollars.

File Aug 22, 9 12 37 PM.jpeg

File Aug 22, 9 10 59 PM.jpeg

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ŪHere are two of my alumina clay canoe files. It only took me 25 minutes to get the picture uploaded. These are tha hand made German canoe files I mentioned before. If my ISP gets the line repairs finished I should be able to post more and higher quality pictures in the future.

 

tmp_26862-20160831_123051454226305.jpg

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this video was recently uploaded, and thought it may help-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86EoYli9wJ8

                                                                                                                                                Littleblacksmith

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Found this during a search.

According to engineer Gerhard Wagner of the SFX factory, a radius of 9-12mm on a narrow anvil is classified as a "blunt" anvil. 6-8mm is a "normal" anvil, and 4-5mm is a "sharp" anvil.  A U.S. dime, which has a radius of 9mm.

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