Scythe Buyers' Guide
Universal Advice on the Care of Tools
We had long thought that the tendency of people breaking well-made tools and/or their handles was a relatively "modern" phenomenon. Evidently, we were wrong...
Recently we found the advice below in The Young Farmer's Manual by Sereno Edwards Todd, first published in 1860!
(Although he was refering to spades, the principle clearly applies to ALL tools)
"Manufacturers would do well to make two kinds of spades, one kind very neat and light, but sufficiently strong for skillful labourers, and another kind unnecessarily heavy and clumsy, for the benefit of those stupid dolts who use a spade as if it were a crowbar, and who cannot use a spade a half day without bending the blade, or breaking or springing the handle, or staving it up into some undesirable shape."
"...When a spade is thrust its whole length into hard soil, and the force of a labourer applied to the handle to loosen the spadeful as if it were a lever, if it is not made too heavy and clumsy for a skillful labourer, it must break or bend, so as to be unfit for use."
"...a spade should not be one ounce heavier than is necessary for consistent strength."
"...A man whose mind is enlightened with a knowledge of mechanical principles, will never bend nor break a spade; his keen perception will tell him, even if he were blindfolded, when the strength of the spade is unequal to the force applied to the handle."
We think that these timeless excerpts ought to be featured as a bold-printed prelude to all instructional manuals and accompany every catalogue carrying good quality tools (perhaps be even included with each single purchase?).
29 Feb. 2012