Finding The Balance

Establishing the actual balance point of asymmetric tools like scythes or axes can be fairly difficult, since the real point of balance often lies external to the body of the tool itself. The following shows a method using a plumb line, two suspension points, and photo overlays to approximate the location of the center of gravity.

Why bother with this, you ask? It depends on the tool. With scythes it can assist in adjusting the horizontal balance or determining the “power” of the unit relative to its overall weight, with axes it can help in determining an ideal head and handle pairing (of particular importance in axes with a minimal or totally absent poll, like the one shown here) and with both tools it can aid in establishing the proper hang of the blade/bit. The axis of rotational balance for an axe will lie along a line passing through both the grip point and the center of gravity.

Plumb line suspended from the lower nib.
Plumb line suspended from the lower nib.
Plumb line suspended from upper nib.
Plumb line suspended from upper nib.
An overlay of the images, aligned as well as possible.
An overlay of the images, aligned as well as possible.
The overlay image rotated and positioned to line up the "two" scythes. The intersection of the plumb lines is now visible
The overlay image rotated and positioned to line up the “two” scythes. The intersection of the plumb lines is now visible.
The intersection marked and the overlay removed.
The intersection marked and the overlay removed.

 

The plumb line from a suspension point at the grip, showing the axis of rotational balance during use.
The plumb line from a suspension point at the grip, showing the axis of rotational balance during use.
Taking a second plumb line  for overlay to find the intersection.
Taking a second plumb line for overlay to find the intersection.
The two images overlaid to find the intersection.
The two images overlaid to find the intersection.
The intersecting lines marked and the overlay removed.
The intersecting lines marked and the overlay removed.
Center of gravity marked.
A conventional polled German axe by Adler.

About the tools: The scythe is a vintage Beardsley grain cradle blade on a Seymour Midwest Tools No.8 aluminum snath¬†while the axe is a Rinaldi “Calabria” Heavy Duty Axe. Check them both out at www.BaryonyxKnife.com!

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