Side Projects

Antique Scythe Restoration

I come to you humble as I have never attempted to restore a rusty metal tool. As mentioned previously, I would like to try my hand at manually harvesting hay.

You may be asking why I would want to do such an intensive task manually when there is good machinery to be rented or purchased. Well take a look at this aerial image of my pasture. Would you want to subject expensive equipment to these rocky outcrops?

Aerial 2

About the scythe itself, the wood is in decent shape and the fasteners just need tightened up but everything seems solid. The metal blade has a very resonant ring to it when flicked with a finger, it is just covered in rust.



For restoration, I have been reading posts like this: How to Remove Rust from Old Tools by Lifehacker. However I am weary of any chemical or physical methods that are too abrasive as the scythe needs a razor sharp cutting edge.

Does anyone have an experience or guidance to offer? If so, thank you in advance!


3 thoughts on “Antique Scythe Restoration

  1. I can’t say that I’ve ever restored a scythe. I have done several chisels and hand planes. I find that most of the time all you really need to do is sharpen them to get them usable. With the exception of a precision tool. Make sure all fasteners don’t have any play. For your sake make sure the handholds are smooth. If I were going to sharpen that I would think a stone in the shape of a “puck or round” would be the best. That way you can move the stone across the metal instead of the metal across the stone.

    If it’s just for use your going to beat it up. There’s no need to be worried about aesthetics.

    Keep us posted on how it goes.


    • Good points regarding the lack of need for aesthetics for a tool that’s meant to be used. My only concern was the rust affecting the ability to create a good cutting edge but I’ll sharpen it up and see how it fares!

      The wood handles are well worn and smooth but I’ll still likely be using gloves anyway. The fasteners are old but I also found a allegator wrench for the square bolts!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you can sharpen it – I’m afraid I can give any advice as I am new to sharpening any implement and have not tried to deal with rust. Maybe you can find some advice on the internet generally?


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