Need some convincing about why scythes are a worthwhile investment?

Diamond-ground whetstones

When I bought Chewie from the University Geology department, the guy running the workshop looked behind him and said, “I don’t suppose you’d want that one as well?”

I looked at what I assumed was a small sample cutter, and said, “does it go?”

He switched it on and it went. I took it, not having any clue what I’d do with it.

sample cutter

It was pretty much useless for cutting the hard sandstone we’re dealing with – the blade is much too small and thin. But when the angle grinder I’ve been using to grind the whetstones into shape started to sound rather ill (on the way to a brush and bearing replacement), I wondered whether I might be able to convert it into a wet grinder. So I stripped it down to see what I’d be dealing with.


After a few measurements and emails to a diamond tool supplier, we decided to take a gamble on a diamond electroplated wheel. A significant gamble. Who’d have thought diamonds would cost so much. At 280mm, it was quite a bit bigger than the original wheel, and I’d measured it to make the most of the available space on the cutting table, while also not going through the base of the box. It was going to require a longer slot in the table, but that would be no biggie to sort out.


Or so I thought. It took me close to a couple of hours just to get that slot cut. Four different power tools to do the job. And I was surprised to discover that I was cutting brass.


The challenge.

The challenge.





Then I just had to get a splash guard on it to stop the motor getting wet. A bit of sheet I had been saving to make snath savers from, did the trick nicely. At this point I really should’ve made a trolley for it (because it’s damn heavy), as well as a good, solid water supply, but I was dying to get it outside and give it a go, and there was already a set of wheels handy.

It works a treat. No dust, which is a huge advantage for comfort and – hopefully – longevity of the machinery. I’ll get around to putting it onto a trolley, and making a proper water supply; y’know, one that uses duct tape instead of insulation tape.

It’s not often that I get an idea in my head, and it just works, first time. Stoked.