Making a peening bench

My scythe needs some TLC due to the massive ding I managed to put in the blade when clearing out some brambles late last year and hitting a privet hedge’s stump. Ouch.

I was already aware that using a combination of a file to remove the ding and a technique called peening I’d be able to sharpen my blade back up, but my earlier experiences of using this technique left me with an aching back due to leaning awkwardly over a tree stump whilst hammering away.

So, inspired by the images I saw on this blog post and a set of photos on Flickr I decided to have a pop at knocking my own peening bench together.

Firstly the ingredients.

  • a chunky – too heavy to carry more than few meters – Oak stump ripped into three equal (ish) bits using a chainsaw. I used the thickest of the 2 edge peices and saved the rest for other projects.
  • a branch of Ash for the back legs, not really good enough for anything but firewood
  • a plank of slabwood. I would have preferred hardwood but used soft as that’s all I had

Using a chainsaw I squared the stump off and then carefully carved it so there were no sharp edges and making the top angle in to allow my knees to be nearer the anvil. The unprocessed stump peice is also shown for context.


Taking great care I then used a boring cut to do most of the hard work for a mortice.


Two cuts one above the other.


Cleaned up, no need to be too fussy.


Continuing to cheat I used the chainsaw one last time to cut the slabwood in two and then roughly carve the tenon which I then tidied up with a draw knife.


I cleaned the Ash branch up on the shavehorse and then cut in half. Using the magic tenon cutter I then made a perfect 1.5 inch tenon on one end of each leg.


On the underside of the slabwood I drilled 2x 1.5 inch diarmeter holes all the way through, angled at about 45 degrees towards the centre.


Using a flush cut saw I chop the top off of the tenons.


I took the legs back out and sawed a small grove into the tenon about as long as the depth of the joint. Then using a small hardwood wedge I knocked this into each grove before cutting it off flush again. The legs are now snug with no moving around.


I then put the tenon of the seat into the stump’s mortice and then cut a small

hole to accept a small wedge that I shaped on the shavehorse out of firewood (Ash)


The finished product with a peening anvil inserted into a drilled hole on the top of the stump.


This project took me about 4 hours spread over 2 days. It was put together roughly with no measuring or marking and given that I had nothing more than a photo to go from I’m pretty happy with the result.


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