Austrian hand braid

They say, what are those tame braids, which are massively sold in the markets, for the most part are stamped on powerful forging presses, and her blade (the sting) sharpen on a high-speed grinding wheel.

The braid itself - its steel part - is called a canvas. Below we will talk specifically about the canvas., although it is more convenient to call it simply oblique. In contrast to regular braids, sharper and more delicate braids, which are called "Austrian" or "European", bring to the required thickness by forging, just like it was done in the fifteenth century in the guilds of blacksmiths in the mountain valleys of Austria.

The arrival of the "water" forge hammers, and then - pneumatic made the braids much cheaper, than before. However, the Austrian hand-forged braid still costs much more than stamped or forged-stamped braids..

Austrian braid: how is it done

Here is what a foreign classic writes about the manufacture of Austrian braids on the issue of making hand braids D. Tresemer in the voluminous treatise The Scythe Book.

The manufacturing technology of the Austrian braid in its maximum version includes twenty-six technological stages, which are shown in the figure.

kosa-avstriyskayaPicture – Twenty six stages of production of a forged Austrian braid

You might think, that between the 14th and 20th steps nothing significant happens. In fact, at this time, the most important thermal hardening of the steel and the finishing of the spit to the final shape occurs.. The scythe is heated in the oven, cooled in warm oil, sand blasted and hammered diagonally, to give the braid optimal curvature and thickness from along its entire length and width.

Making an Austrian forged braid begins with forge welding individual pieces of steel. Hot and cold working achieve an elongated grain structure and work hardening of steel. Tell, that of all the braids, who start this process from 26 steps, less than half pass it completely. The rest are rejected for one reason or another. Omitting any of these steps makes the scythe cheaper., but only due to the loss of some of the properties of the best braids.

Note, what Russian village blacksmiths braids were also forged using a difficult technology – for 14 stages.

Braid cloth

A good braid fabric should be lightweight and thermally hardened., which gives him the ability to cut cleanly, not tearing a paper napkin. At the same time, the edge of the braid should be soft enough, that only get a dent when accidentally hitting a stone or a stump. And so that this dent could then be removed when the scythe is beaten off on a special anvil - the grandmother - with a small special hammer.

The problem is, so that such steel, which would give this amazing balance between "hard" and "soft". Known, that in England at one time braids were made with a wrought iron cutting edge, which was between two pieces of mild steel, which provided the spit with a general shape. They say, that braids are still made in England, in which the cutting steel edge is riveted to the stronger back of the "mild" steel. A similar approach in manufacturing Russian braids have long been used by blacksmiths in Russia.

When steel with a high carbon content is used for the scythe, then its cutting edge becomes too hard. When such an oblique strikes against stones and hemp, no dents are formed on it, and microcracks, which will eventually lead to its break.

Braid shape

The shape of the "stamped" braids and the real Austrian forged braids are also very different.. Stamped braid naturally flat. Forged scythe curved in all directions to optimize its shape for cutting grass.

Sizes of hand braids

When the hand scythe was the main tool for many agricultural work, then their canvases were made different in length: from very short for neat work around vines and trees to very long - up to 1,2 m - for mowing large flat lawns. The most popular all over the world for all types of work are braids of length 70 cm (No. 7 according to the old Soviet standard). The braids for cutting the undergrowth of trees and bushes are made shorter - 40 cm and less - and often thicker, to withstand blows against young growth.

Good braid # 7 is suitable for all types of grass, weeds, rose hips and annual growth of trees.

Source: D. Tresemer, The Scythe Book, 1981.