Sunday, April 08, 2012

Forager's Sickle

Forager's Sickle

Well th' forager's sickle is finished, and not a moment too soon. As you may know if you've seen our foraging blog, th' harvest is already ripe for th' pickins, and what's a forager without a "forager's sickle?" Answer- us until yesterday. Th' blade is a replica of a bronze age sickle found in Scotland, and was made for me by an excellent knife maker. You can read more about it on th' Buschcraft UK forum here. He also made a beautiful sheath for th' blade as well. Th' handle is a piece of wild apple wood carved with another of Joel's knives, a copy of a medieval woodworking knife. You can read about that little knife on Joel's blog. So far i'm really liking carving with it, and the elm bowl in th' last post was also carved with it, with the exception of th' hollow of course.

sickle showing plug, and carving knife

Here's a few pictures showing th' hafting of blade to handle, I used a black walnut plug, and red deer sinew spun on a drop spindle and dipped in hide glue, as it would've been done in th' bronze age. That's real hide glue, not th' tite bond brand from th' hardware store which has chemical retarders in it. Now it's off to th' field to put it to use. No doubt you'll be seeing it in pictures on th' foraging blog from now on. Enjoy!

sinew soaking, ready to spin

sinew, spun on low whorl spindle

spun sinew soaking in hide glue

wrapping th' sinew

Of course, a pot of green tea  is crucial to th' job

close up of sheath

a good coat of hide glue on top for extra protection.

Happy Easter!


  1. nice work rico...ah green tea.

  2. This may sound silly, but how is the sickle used? Grab the "greens" and hook the stem?

  3. Gorges, exactly as you described, though historically they've been used on dry grains/grasses as well, i just used it today for th' first time, cut green and dry grass with it- then dock greens, which we've been eating alot lately- it works really well, though there is a potential to cut yourself when holding and pulling...

  4. It's good to see the sickle completed and ready to use, Rico. I see you (or Beth) spun the sinew into a cordage, I hadn't thought of that. I have used sinew straight: the fibre into the glue and around thing, but not spun. Mind you it makes sense, I believe Native American used to make bow strings with the sinew and they must have been spinning the stuff to make a useful string. I look forward to see the sickle in use in the field.

  5. yeah, many native bow strings were spun sinew- that was th' first one i'd spun, so i thought i'd start small- a bit trickier to spin than wool, but really pretty easy- it works great by th' way- i'll break it in more, then get back to ya on it... thanks joel

  6. Love your sandals! ..especially the soles.. Nice work!

  7. It reminds me of the bramble hook they use for thinning berry canes.