This was sent by Jack Brubaker, who forged his own scythe blade
and uses it with a homemade wildwood snath:
Today I found some time to attempt forging a blade from a one inch round of W1 . That is a simple carbon steel with 1% carbon. I know it is too much carbon, but I had it on hand. I used the largest of my hammers the 300 pound copy of a Beche. It happened to have a flat die on the bottom and a very round drawing die on top so I decided to give that combination a try. The top die is round with no real flat on the bottom so it was messy forging the zainen, but it was done with a little patience. I was just forging off the round stock rather than starting by cutting a blank so I didn't know how much steel I used. Once I had the stock roughed out and began spreading the blade it became clear that the top die was too round to form a sharp and crisp transition between the back and the thin body of the blade. I hammered the transition so that the edge of the back was the right thickness and the metal then thinned quickly toward the thin blade. This left the back more of a triangle then a rectangle but it did allow me to pull out the remaining metal into a fairly thin blade. I of course had some trouble with the blade forming the wrong curve (backwards at one point) but it all worked out in the end. To bend up the back I used a V block on the anvil and hand hammered the base of the triangular back down into the V with the cross pein of the hammer. This is a messy way to get it done as it left a lot of rough hammer marks. I envision a tool I can make that would do a much better job, but that will await more time to play. The first photo is of the blade at this point. As you see the round top die and the bashing with a hand hammer left a rough and uneven back.
I then cut off the excess steel and refined the shape of the blade with more hammering. At this point it really began to look like a scythe blade and I got eager to try it out so rather than risk hardening and tempering now without a proper tank for the oil (I have a large stainless tank of oil for hardening hammer dies but it is round and not long enough) I elected to just hammer the blade cold as it was at that state. I thinned the edge on the anvil and hand hammered with the edge of a round flat faced hammer to get the effect of the dotting hammer and tension the blade. The blade stiffened up nicely and when pressed point against the floor it has a nice spring and curves with some grace. It is too stiff I think as a result of being a bit heavy. But not bad for a first try. I put it in a snath sharpened it some and it actually cuts grass. I doubt that it will hold an edge as well as a properly hardened blade but I am encouraged to try more of this! There was no way for me to form the tongue that reinforces the blade to tang area since my top die was too wide to form the narrow forged groove between the back and the tongue. I will have to make a better top die. The blade is 25.25 inches long(over all) and 3 inches wide at the beard.