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The Scythe Making Trail

SITE PLAN The main part of the scythe making process is grinding the scythe blades to give them a sharp cutting edge. This process was carried out in the Grinding Hull (6).


There would have been six grindstones and two glazers (polishing wheels) in this building.
GRINDING HULL PLAN Each grinding stone was about two metres in diameter, weighing up to two tons. They were made out of local sandstone.

The stones were driven by a long leather band which connected a wooden pulley on the axle of the grindstone to a drum on the lineshaft. The lineshaft was powered by the water-wheel behind the building.

At Abbeydale the grinding stones were placed in a trough of water. This stopped the stones from overheating or burning the metal during the grinding process.

GRINDER The grinder sat astride the wheel and the stone revolved towards him. He could then put a lot of pressure on the blade by pressing on it with the heel of his hand.
Grinding was a dangerous job. In 1912 a grindstone burst, killing the grinder. Most grinders suffered from silicosis or grinders disease. The life expectancy for a grinder was only 30-35 years.

The Grinding Hull wheel drives a line shaft inside the grinding hull. This line shaft runs almost the entire length of the building. There is a pulley wheel on the shaft, in line with each of the grinding troughs.

A long leather belt is stretched between the pulley and the axle of the grinding wheel. As the line shaft rotates, the leather belt drives the grinding wheel.

During the Sheffield Outrages, these leather belts were cut to prevent the wheels being used.


This is the end of the Scythe Making Trail

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