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How to Sharpen a Sickle

A sickle is a cutting instrument with a half-moon-shaped blade. In former times, sickles were the tool of choice for cutting down brush, vines, tall weeds and any other plant that stood in the way of tending the land. Being lightweight and portable, sickles are still used by many when doing outdoor projects No matter what shape the blade on your sickle is in, there is a simple way for you to sharpen it so it can function efficiently.

Point the blade of the sickle away from you. Take your sharpening stone and stroke the sickle blade along the cutting edge. Keep your touch firm, but don't use force.

Slide the stone from the handle edge to the tip 15 to 20 times. Every four or five strokes, dip your stone in water to wash off the small bits of steel and grit, since these tiny particle pieces can grind into the blade.

Keeping the blade away from you, turn it over and run the sharpening stone down the back side of the blade five to 10 times.

Run an oily rag over the blade. When you have completed sharpening, store your sickle with the blade wrapped in the oily rag. This will help protect the blade.

Sharpen A Sickle

Secure the sickle handle tightly in a bench vise with the blade facing away from you. The vise holds the blade in place so it doesn't slip and cut your fingers or other body parts while being sharpened. Grind away the rounded metal edge -- the dull edge -- on the inside of the blade, using a whetstone or flat file. Hold the whetstone or file at a 45-degree angle with the blade and push down, sweeping it several times over one spot on the blade until you reveal clean metal with a beveled edge. This step might not be necessary because some blades are kept flat on one side and only sharpened on one side. Follow the existing angle on the blade's edge to guide your sharpening technique. Spray the blade with a lubricating oil spray, and wipe off the excess.


Sharpen your sickle after every two uses.


Be very careful when handling a sickle blade, especially after sharpening, since you can underestimate how sharp the blade is, and serious injury can occur.

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