Production of hand scythes in Russia

Scythe and sickle - symbols of agriculture around the world. Traditionally, the scythe is a male instrument., and the sickle is female. On the territory of Russia, the most ancient iron scythes and sickles date back to the ninth century AD.

The technology for making the blade of the scythe consisted of connecting by forge welding two materials: tough and ductile iron for the base of the scythe and harder steel for cutting lumps.

The fundamentals of this technology remained in Russia almost unchanged for a very long time., late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

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Picture - Modern scythe knife:
1 - обушок; 2 - heel; 3- thorn; 4 - canvas; 5 -blade; 6 - nose; l - knife length

Handicraft production of scythes in tsarist Russia

Handicraft production Are not swear words, but simply, unlike the factory, it is small-scale and with a predominance of manual labor. In one statistical report of the tsarist government from 1872 year describes in detail the production of braids in village Khritonovo, Shuisky district, Ivanovo province.

This village is Khritonovo (and she is not alone) was engaged in the production of braids in significant volumes. For the production of braids, the village had three dozen forges., grinder and squares, which stood separately at the end of the village. Forges had two or four forges with furs, before every mountain - an anvil, forging tool near anvil: hammers and hammers, pliers, chisels and other tools. Sharpeners and coal pans stood across the street from the forges. One whetstone was placed in each grinder, which was driven by a horse. Coal pits were used to prepare coal for forges. Only this one village is Khritonovo, in which braids were engaged in general about 250 man, produced before 50 thousand braids per year.

Russian technology for making scythes

This is how the technology for making scythes in the village in Khritonovo looked like according to the statistical report 1872 of the year.
1) Initially, the iron is heated on the first forge and cut into pieces of length 20-40 cm depending on the size of the braid. Slightly curved plates are forged from these pieces of iron..
2) Then take steel, heat and chop it into pieces, but smaller, than iron, 10-15 cm and forge straight plates from them.
3) Steel plates are forge-welded in the middle of the iron plates so, so that there is no steel at both ends of the braid. At the same time, the braid is forged to a certain length..
The first three operations are performed by a blacksmith and a hammer., which also blows fur. They cut iron and steel into pieces for two days a week, and the remaining four days they weld and pull the braids.
4) The braid blank goes to the second forge to the second master, which roughly forges it to the specified thickness, width and length. This master is highly qualified. He works alone without a hammer.
5) The scythe goes to the grinder, which, on the softest grindstone, grinds off all irregularities from it.
6) The scythe again passes into the hands of the master, which without heating forges and pierces the braid a second time.
7) The scythe goes to the grinder again, who polishes it on another, harder sharpener. Women and children are also involved in this work., who grind hard-to-reach areas of the scythe with fine sand.
8) The cleaned scythe goes back to the master, which for the third time beats off the blade of the scythe.
9) Then the scythe goes back to the grinder, which on a harder sharpener pulls this point.
10) The scythe goes to the master again, which quenches her. Scythe hardening occurs in the following interesting way. Water is poured into a large wooden trough, into which rye flour is poured until a solution in the form of cream is obtained. Heat the scythe in the forge all until red and immediately lower it into the solution. One hundred or more scythes are tempered in this trough at a time.
11) The scythes are taken out of the trough, descale them with a chisel or a small iron spatula.
12) For bluing scythes, they are placed in a forge under a light heat without blowing furs - they turn dark blue.
13) After that, the master welds the heel of the braid with forge welding, with which it is fixed on the scythe, that is a wooden handle.
14) Finally the scythe goes to the grinder, who finally rules her and guides her on the hardest grind. When the scythe gets razor sharp, she is ready for sale.

Industrial production of braids in Russia

In Russia, industrial, factory production of braids was started in 1809 year and still continues at the Ural Artinsky plant. Presumably, that the technology for making braids did not differ much from that, what was at the blacksmiths of the village of Khritonovo.

GOST 2935-80 on hand scythes was in force until the 90s 2935-80 on hand braids. According to this standard, braid knives were made entirely of U7A tool steel., U8 or U8A. Now this standard has been canceled and transformed into the technical specifications of the Artinsky plant - as if the only manufacturer of hand braids in Russia.

Currently, this plant has a new technology - stamping and rolling method, in which the workpiece is heated only once, passing through the forging rollers. Previously, with the manual method of manufacturing, the product was heated and cooled eight times. Final finishing of scythes is still manual.