Buildityourself Grain Cradle

by Richard Weinsteiger

With new grain cradles impossible to find, and old cradles expensive and rare, here is an inexpensive way to convert a grass scythe into a functional cradle.


1. Start by obtaining a SO-inch-length by 3-mch-diameter piece of knot-free green hickory or ash. Remove the bark, using a drawknife and quarter the log. Shape the four pieces with the drawknife until'they are approximately % by inches. Then, starting 10 inches from one end, taper the remainder to %-inch diameter.

2. In order to bend these pieces to conform to the shape of the scythe blade, a jig has to be built using a 27-inch scrap piece of 2 x 4 and four pieces of 6-by-%-inch dowel. Since all blades do not have the same arc, you will have to position the dowels accordingly. After the jig is built, place the four pieces in the jig and let dry for several days.

3. The upright or main support piece, also made from hardwood, is ys by lys by 23i/2 inches. Drill four i/8-inch holes 2, 8, 15 and 23 inches from the bottom. A shallow groove is filed across the grain 34 inch from the bottom to accommodate the J-bolt. Drill a '/(-inch hole in the front face of the metal end cap of the scythe handle for the j-bolt. Make sure the hole is far enough from the center to avoid the blade clamp bolt.

4. Remove the pieces from the jig, apply resin to all outside bends and char with a torch to set

A grain cradle can be built to fit any store-bought scythe the bends Then whittle ->s of the ends that ate to fit into the upright to a %-inch diameter. Drill a s^-ineh hole vertically 7i/2 inches from the support end for a supporting dowel to Hde through, and in each piece a ;i,,.-inch diameter hole horizontally 9 inches from the ceid for the supporting all-thread, j. Now assemble the unit by inserting the J-bolt with the upright attached to the faceplate and tighten!m the nut. Insert the four bent pieces into the holes in the upright. Place the inch-diameter by 2S<4-inch dowel through the vertical holes of the bent pieces. Next, drill a %(i-mch hole midway between the top two bent arms. Cut a 26-inch piece of %a-inch all-thread, uud--make a right-angle bend 11/2 inches from one end. Insert this piece with the right-angle ben.I into the %,,-inch hole at the top of the upright, and fasten with a washer and wing nut. Judging the angle by holding the piece of all-thread to intersect the handle, drill a %,rinch hole 16 inches from the end cap. Cut four pieces of all-thread 28i/2, 22, 17 and 14i/> inches in length, and using the same method, attach to the handle IT'/o, 10, 8 and 7 inches respectively. Put wing nuts on both the inside and outside of the pieces that are inserted hi the bent arms.

6, Cut a 2-inch piece of %-inch dowel, and drill a %,,-inch hole through the center lengthwise. The same diameter hole should be drilled in the bottom bent arm and the blade approximately 4i/, inches from the handle. Cut a 1-inch length of •Ji(i-inc:h all-thread, and peen one end so that it wtll not slip through the hole in the blade. Insert through the blade, dowel and arm, and fasten with washer and a wing nut. Using s/4-inch brads, fasten the dowels to the arms and upright. Then adjust the wing nuts on the arms and handle to align the arms with the blade, making sure to keep the arms in back of the blade edge.

The cradle's simple supportive network is adequately braced.


The supporting all-thread strut is bolted in place with a wing nut.

The cradle's simple supportive network is adequately braced.

25 of Grandpas Top Tips

25 of Grandpas Top Tips

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