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 I have abit of experience sharpening plow shears. The question I have is, does anyone know the proper radius of a blacksmith shear to create the proper "suck" to get the shear to go into the ground properly?  It sure would be easier if I had a mandrel to finish the face curvature instead of eyeballing it.  I can go into more detail if needed, but an old time smith out there surely knows off the top of his head.        Thanks in advance                Dave          

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I was always told that it differed depending on the type of soil in your areas, sandy river bottom needing a different angle then heavy clay soil.  Have you asked around at any of the old folks/assisted living/nursing homes to see if there was still someone who knows what works best in YOUR area?

"Practical Blacksmithing", Richardson, has 31 pages in book 3 about plow points.  When I was living in Ohio 15+ years ago, there was a SOFA member that had worked in a local smithy pointing plows as a job.  Might check with them to see if he was still around---Ed Rhodes???? I'm terrible with names, we once had him demo it as nobody else had ever seen it done!

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The problem is there are too many "right" answers.  A breaking plow is going to be different than a dry-land plow which will be different than a muck plow and any 10 farmers will give you 15 answers why they are all wrong and they know best.

Any plow is a compromise anyway...for instance, the soils around here are like cutting warm butter when there is any moisture and like cutting concrete when dry so what shear geometry is right? Pick something common in your area after eye-balling a couple of dozen local plows.  That's about the best you can do.  At least with that, you have some back-up when half the customers tell you that you got it wrong and why they know better :-) 

We have a local event coming up in about 3 weeks where we horse (and mule)-plow about 12 acres and plant beardless barley.  In talking to the many teamsters there, they always debate the minutia of why their rig is superior to the other guy's...but it still gets plowed and seeded at the end of the day.

The only thing the all agree on is how rocks are the bane of their existence...and use some choice verbiage to express that.

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

Have you asked around at any of the old folks/assisted living/nursing homes

 Oh, I have been asking for years..My Dad soon to be 94 and a life long farmer, all his old buddies,multiple tractor club members, anyone at antique tractor shows, etc.....Shoot, I can't even get a solid answer to how much the b/s charged to sharpen. Let alone repoint. I was raised on the farm and have plowed thousands of acres. However none with B/S shears, until recently when I started collecting plows...I do have a few..


44 minutes ago, Kozzy said:

any 10 farmers will give you 15 answers

 Oh you got that right ! 

 What I did today after thinking on it overnight, was to take a NOS plow shear and hold it on the anvil and forge a piece of flat leaf spring on it to the face of the shear. Welded that to a piece of angle iron to clamp in the post vice for a mandrel to put the proper radius back into a drawn out shear. The point of the shear is where the "suck" comes into play on soil types in my opinion...(1 of 15).....I do have some "haw" replacement points for you walkin' guys. I just plow "gee" anymore.         Thanks for the feedback             Life is Good            Dave

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17 hours ago, Dave51B said:

 I can't even get a solid answer to how much the b/s charged to sharpen. Let alone repoint

We have all the old records for the local BS shop in town here and I looked that up about a year ago.  Depression era it was about $ .50 USD each in quantities of about 3-6 here and went up to about $ 1.50 each briefly after the war.  I suspect that much after that, most plows were using replaceable parts so sharpening services dropped off steeply---sharpening services don't show up in the records past about 1948 (or they did them cash and never put it on the books).  Post war was also when the size/bottom count of plows jumped as tractor HP quickly climbed.  Most farmers went to Cats in the fields around here post WW2 because you needed to work a LOT of ground to pay the bills in this wheat-land.  Quite hilly also and cats in low gear do better on that (especially side hills where a regular wheel tractor can get scary).  There was also a bit of a switch to mostly disc plows.

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6 hours ago, Kozzy said:

it was about $ .50 USD each

 Thanks a bunch for that. Like I said, I have been asking for years...Even the old smiths at Quad-State didn't give me a solid figure...speculation, but not firm. Maybe I didn't ask right, who knows...(What was that Carlson guys name?) . Now you got me thinking I need to check in with some of the old shops to see if they have any records from years back.....

I guess what got me Thinking about all this is....next month we have a meeting @ my favorite shop. It's a line shaft shop with an ideal plow sharpener in working order. I gotta round up some more shears.....        Life is Good                 Dave   

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Mr. Dave,

Another source,  that sometimes has such records,  are the City, or State, archives.

Also, the various historical societies may have records containing the information that you are interested in.



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