|Other names||Bagging hook, reaping-hook|
A sickle, bagging hook, reaping-hook or grasshook is a single-handed agricultural tool designed with variously curved blades and typically used for harvesting, or reaping, grain crops or cutting succulent forage chiefly for feeding livestock, either freshly cut or dried as hay. Falx was a synonym but was later used to mean any of a number of tools that had a curved blade that was sharp on the inside edge such as a scythe.
Since the beginning of the Iron Age hundreds of region-specific variants of the sickle have evolved, initially of iron and later steel. This great diversity of sickle types across many cultures can be divided into smooth or serrated blades, both of which can be used for cutting either green grass or mature cereals using slightly different techniques. The serrated blade that originated in prehistoric sickles still dominates in the reaping of grain and is even found in modern grain-harvesting machines and in some kitchen knives.[ citation needed ]
The development of the sickle in Mesopotamia can be traced back to times that pre-date the Neolithic Era. Large quantities of sickle blades have been excavated in sites surrounding Israel that have been dated to the Epipaleolithic era (18000-8000 BC). cm in length and possessed a jagged edge. This intricate ‘tooth-like’ design showed a greater degree of design and manufacturing credence than most of the other artifacts that were discovered. Sickle blades found during this time were made of flint, straight and used in more of a sawing motion than with the more modern curved design. Flints from these sickles have been discovered near Mt. Carmel, which suggest the harvesting of grains from the area about 10,000 years ago.Formal digs in Wadi Ziqlab, Jordan have unearthed various forms of early sickle blades. The artifacts recovered ranged from 10 to 20
The sickle had a profound impact on the Agricultural Revolution by assisting in the transition to farming and crop based lifestyle. It is now accepted that the use of sickles led directly to the domestication of Near Eastern Wild grasses.Research on domestication rates of wild cereals under primitive cultivation found that the use of the sickle in harvesting was critical to the people of early Mesopotamia. The relatively narrow growing season in the area and the critical role of grain in the late Neolithic Era promoted a larger investment in the design and manufacture of sickle over other tools. Standardization to an extent was done on the measurements of the sickle so that replacement or repair could be more immediate. It was important that the grain be harvested at the appropriate time at one elevation so that the next elevation could be reaped at the proper time. The sickle provided a more efficient option in collecting the grain and significantly sped up the developments of early agriculture.
The sickle remained common in the Bronze Age, both in the Ancient Near East and in Europe. Numerous sickles have been found deposited in hoards in the context of the European Urnfield culture (e.g. Frankleben hoard), suggesting a symbolic or religious significance attached to the artifact.
In archaeological terminology, Bronze Age sickles are classified by the method of attaching the handle. E.g. the knob-sickle (German Knopfsichel) is so called because of a protruding knob at the base of the blade which apparently served to stabilize the attachment of the blade to the handle.
The sickle played a prominent role in the Druids' Ritual of oak and mistletoe as described from a single passage in Pliny the Elder's Natural History :
A priest arrayed in white vestments climbs the tree and, with a golden sickle, cuts down the mistletoe, which is caught in a white cloak. Then finally they kill the victims, praying to a god to render his gift propitious to those on whom he has bestowed it. They believe that mistletoe given in drink will impart fertility to any animal that is barren and that it is an antidote to all poisons.
Due to this passage, despite the fact that Pliny does not indicate the source on which he based this account, some branches of modern Druidry (Neodruids) have adopted the sickle as a ritual tool.[ citation needed ]
Indigenous sickles have been discovered in southwest North America with unique design, possibly originating in the Far East. There is evidence that Kodiak islanders had for cutting grass “sickles made of a sharpened animal shoulder blade”. inches tip to tip. Several other digs in eastern Arizona uncovered wooden sickles that were shaped in a similar fashion. The handles of the tools help describe how the tool was held in such a way so that the inner portion that contained the cutting surface could also serve as a gathering surface for the grain. Sickles were sharpened by scraping a shape beveled edge with a coarse tool. This action has left marks on artifacts that have been found. The sharpening process was necessary to keep the cutting edge from being dulled after extended use. The edge is seen to be quite highly polished, which in part proves that the instrument was used to cut grass. After collection, the grass was used as material to create matting and bedding. The sickle in general provided the convenience of cutting the grass as well as gathering in one step. In South America, the sickle is used as a tool to harvest rice. Rice clusters are harvested using the instrument and left to dry in the sun.The artifacts found in present-day Arizona and New Mexico resemble curved tools that were made from the horns of mountain sheep. A similar site discovered sickles made from other material such as the Caddo Sickle, which was made from a deer mandible. Scripture from early natives document the use of these sickles in the cutting of grass. The instruments ranged from 13 to 16
Called "Aashi" (or Aasi), a sickle is very common in Nepal as the most important tool for cutting used in the Kitchen and in the fields. Aashi is used in the kitchen in many villages of Nepal where its used to cut vegetables during food prep. The handle of Aashi (made of wood) is held pressed by the toe of one's foot and the curve inverted so vegetables can be cut with two hands while rocking the vegetable. Outside of home, Aashi is used for harvesting.
Aashi have traditionally been made by local blacksmiths in their charcoal foundries that use leather bellows to blow air. Sharpening of the Aashi is done by rubbing the edges against a smooth rock or taken back to the blacksmith. Sharpening of the Aashi is generally done during the beginning of the harvesting season.
Bigger Aashi is called Khurpa (or Khoorpa) where the curve is less pronounced, is much heavier and is used to sever branches of trees with leaves (for animal feed), chop meat etc. The famous Nepali Khukuri is also a type of sickle where the curve becomes least visible.
Carrying around a sharp and naked Aashi or Khurpa is unsafe. So Nepalis have traditionally built a cover/holder for it called "Khurpeto" (meaning Khurpa holder in Nepali). It could be a simple piece of wood with a hole big enough to slide the blade of Aashi inside or could be an intricately carved piece of round wood slung around one's waist with a string made of plants (called "hatteuri"). Nowadays though many use cotton, jute or even cloth strings as a replacement of hatteuri which is not easy to find.
The genealogy of sickles with serrated edge reaches back to the Stone Age, when individual pieces of flint were first attached to a “blade body” of wood or bone. (The majority among the well-documented specimens made later of bronze are smooth-edged.) Nevertheless, teeth have been cut with hand-held chisels into iron, and later steel-bladed sickles for a long time. In many countries on the African continent, Central and South America as well as the Near, Middle and Far East this is still the case in the regions within these large geographies where the traditional village blacksmith remains alive and well.
England appears to have been the first to develop the industrial process of serration-making. Then, by 1897, the Redtenbacher Company of Scharnstein, in Austria—at that time the largest scythe maker in the world—designed its own machine for the job, becoming the only Austrian source of serrated sickles. In 1942, its recently acquired sister company Krenhof also began to produce these. In 1970, a year before the sickle production branch of Redtenbacher was sold to Ethiopia, they were still making 1.5 million of the serrated sickles per year, predominately for market in Africa and Latin America. There were other enterprises in Austria, of course, who produced the smoothed-edged sickles for centuries. The last of the classical "round" versions were forged until the mid- eighties and machined until 2002.
While in Central Europe the smooth-edged sickle—either forged or machined (alternately referred to as "stamped") - has been the only one used (and in many regions the only one known), the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily and Greece long had fans of both camps. The many small family-owned enterprises in what is now Italy, Portugal and Spain produced sickles in both versions, with the teeth on the serrated models being hand-cut, one at a time, until the mid-20th century. The Falci Co. of Italy (established in 1921 as a union of several formerly independent forges) developed its own unique method of industrial scale serrated sickle production in 1965. Their innovations, which included tapered blade cross section (thicker at the back - for strength - gradually thinning towards the edge - for ease of penetration) were later adopted by Europe's largest sickle producer in Spain as well as, more recently, a company in India.
Today, Italy remains the world's first regarding sickle quality, and China regarding numbers produced per year. The present global demand is about 75% serrated to 25% smooth-edged, and the majority (of both types of sickles combined) is used in cereal harvesting. Progressive developments in agricultural technology notwithstanding, a significant portion of 21st century Earth's dwellers would perish if millions of sickles were still not swung each season in an effort to procure "the daily bread".
The inside of the blade's curve is sharp, so that the user can either draw or swing it against the base of the crop, catching the stems in the curve and slicing them at the same time. The material to be cut may be held in a bunch in the other hand (for example when reaping), held in place by a wooden stick, or left free. When held in a bunch, the sickle action is typically towards the user (left to right for a right-handed user), but when used free the sickle is usually swung the opposite way. Other colloquial/regional names for principally the same tool are: grasshook, swap hook, rip-hook, slash-hook, reaping hook, brishing hook or bagging hook.
A serrated sickle was used for harvesting wheat, the ears being held bunched up in the free hand as described above. After this the straw was cut with a scythe. Oats and barley on the other hand were simply scythed. The reason for this is that wheat straw, unlike that of oats or barley, whose softer straw was suitable only for bedding or fodder, was a valuable crop, used for thatching, and subjecting it to the battering of a flail would have rendered it useless for this purpose.
The blades of sickle models intended primarily for the cutting of grass are sometimes "cranked", meaning they are off-set downwards from the handle, which makes it easier to keep the blade closer to the ground. Sickles used for reaping do not benefit by this feature because cereals are usually not cut as close to the ground surface. Instead, what distinguishes this latter group is their often (though not always) serrated edges.
A blade which is used regularly to cut the silica-rich stems of cereal crops acquires a characteristic sickle-gloss, or wear pattern.
Like other farming tools, the sickle can be used as an improvised bladed weapon. Examples include the Japanese kusarigama and kama, the Chinese chicken sickles, and the makraka of the Zande people of north central Africa. Paulus Hector Mair, the author of a German Renaissance combat manual also has a chapter about fighting with sickles. It is particularly prevalent in the martial arts of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. In Indonesia, the native sickle known as celurit or clurit is commonly associated with the Madurese people, used for both fighting and as a domestic tool.
A bagging hook, badging hook, fagging hook, reap hook or rip hook, is a large sickle usually with an offset handle so that the user's knuckles do not make contact with the ground. The Oxford dictionary gives the definition of the word to bag, or badge, as the cutting of grain by hand. The blade is heavier than that of a normal sickle and always without serrated blades. It is usually about 1.5" (40 mm) wide with an open crescent shaped blade approx 18" (450mm) across. It developed from the sickle in most parts of Britain during the mid to late 19th century, and was in turn replaced by the scythe, later by the reaping machine and subsequently the swather. It was still used when the corn was bent over or flattened and the mechanical reaper was unable to cut without causing the grain to fall from the ears and wasting the crop.
It was also used in lieu of the bean hook or pea hook for cutting field beans and other leguminous crops that were used for fodder and bedding for livestock.
Sometimes confused with the heavier and straighter billhook used for cutting wood or laying hedges. While the scythe or bagging hook blade was heavy enough to remove young growth instead of, say, shears for clipping a hedge, it was not strong enough to cut woody material for which the stronger, similarly shaped, but longer handled, staff hook was used. Many variations in blade shape were used in different parts of England and known under a variety of names. Its close relations in shape and usage are the grass hook and the reap hook.
A knife is a tool or weapon with a cutting edge or blade, often attached to a handle or hilt. One of the earliest tools used by humanity, knives appeared at least 2.5 million years ago, as evidenced by the Oldowan tools. Originally made of wood, bone, and stone, over the centuries, in step with improvements in both metallurgy and manufacturing, knife blades have been made from copper, bronze, iron, steel, ceramic, and titanium. Most modern knives have either fixed or folding blades; blade patterns and styles vary by maker and country of origin.
A chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting edge of blade on its end, for carving or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone, or metal by hand, struck with a mallet, or mechanical power. The handle and blade of some types of chisel are made of metal or of wood with a sharp edge in it.
A saw is a tool consisting of a tough blade, wire, or chain with a hard toothed edge. It is used to cut through material, very often wood though sometimes metal or stone. The cut is made by placing the toothed edge against the material and moving it forcefully forth and less forcefully back or continuously forward. This force may be applied by hand, or powered by steam, water, electricity or other power source. An abrasive saw has a powered circular blade designed to cut through metal or ceramic.
A scythe is an agricultural hand tool for mowing grass or harvesting crops. It is traditionally used to cut down or reap edible grains, before the process of threshing. The scythe has largely been replaced by horse-drawn and then tractor machinery, but is still used in some areas of Europe and Asia. Reapers are bladed machines that automate the cutting of the scythe, and sometimes subsequent steps in preparing the grain or the straw or hay.
A reaper is a farm implement or person that reaps crops at harvest when they are ripe. Usually the crop involved is a cereal grass. The first documented reaping machines were Gallic reaper that was used in modern-day France during Roman times. The Gallic reaper involved a comb which collected the heads, with an operator knocking the grain into a box for later threshing.
A mower is a person or machine that cuts (mows) grass or other plants that grow on the ground. Usually mowing is distinguished from reaping, which uses similar implements, but is the traditional term for harvesting grain crops, e.g. with reapers and combines.
A spokeshave is a hand tool used to shape and smooth woods in woodworking jobs such as making cart wheel spokes, chair legs, paddles, bows, and arrows. The tool consists of a blade fixed into the body of the tool, which has a handle for each hand. Historically, a spokeshave was made with a wooden body and metal cutting blade. With industrialization metal bodies displaced wood in mass-produced tools. Being a small tool, spokeshaves are not suited to working large surfaces.
The kama is a traditional Japanese farming implement similar to a sickle used for reaping crops and also employed as a weapon. It is often included in weapon training segments of martial arts. Sometimes referred to as kai or "double kai", kama made with intentionally dull blades for kata demonstration purposes are referred to as kata kai.
A drawknife is a traditional woodworking hand tool used to shape wood by removing shavings. It consists of a blade with a handle at each end. The blade is much longer than it is deep. It is pulled or "drawn" toward the user.
A kitchen knife is any knife that is intended to be used in food preparation. While much of this work can be accomplished with a few general-purpose knives – notably a large chef's knife, a tough cleaver, a small paring knife and some sort of serrated blade – there are also many specialized knives that are designed for specific tasks. Kitchen knives can be made from several different materials.
The falx was a weapon with a curved blade that was sharp on the inside edge used by the Thracians and Dacians – and, later, a siege hook used by the Romans.
The aruval, is a type of billhook machete from southern India, particularly common in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It is used both as a tool and a weapon. Tamils reserve the weapon as a symbol of karupannar. In popular culture, it is sometimes associated with gangsters. In movies, it is used as a weapon of choice. In Kerala, its primary use is for agriculture, mainly in coconut cutting, clearing pathways, cutting wood and other uses.
A billhook or bill hook is a versatile cutting tool used widely in agriculture and forestry for cutting woody material such as shrubs, small trees and branches and is distinct from the sickle. It was commonly used in Europe with an important variety of traditional local patterns. Elsewhere, it was also developed locally such as in the Indian subcontinent, or introduced regionally as in the Americas, South Africa and Oceania by European settlers.
Although an antique tool might be said to be one that is more than a hundred years old, the term is often used to describe any old tool of quality that might be deemed collectable.
This glossary of woodworking lists a number of specialized terms and concepts used in woodworking, carpentry, and related disciplines.
An axe is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood, to harvest timber, as a weapon, and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The axe has many forms and specialised uses but generally consists of an axe head with a handle, or helve.
Sickle-gloss, or sickle sheen, is a silica residue found on blades such as sickles and scythes suggesting that they have been used to cut the silica-rich stems of cereals and forming an indirect proof for incipient agriculture. The gloss occurs from the abrasive action of silica in both wild and cultivated stems of cereal grasses, meaning the occurrence of reaping tools with sickle gloss doesn't necessarily imply agriculture. The first documented appearance of sickle-gloss is found on flint knapped blades in the Natufian culture in the Middle East, primarily in Israel.
Listed here are the weapons of silat. The most common are the machete, staff, kris, sickle, spear, and kerambit. Because Southeast Asian society was traditionally based around agriculture, many of these weapons were originally farming tools.
A twybil is a hand tool used for green woodworking. It is used for chopping out mortises when timber framing, or making smaller pieces such as gates. It combines chopping and levering functions in a single tool.
A sheaf (/ʃiːf/) is a bunch of cereal-crop stems bound together after reaping, traditionally by sickle, later by scythe or, after its introduction in 1872, by a mechanical reaper-binder.