Sward-Cutter, a machine employed for cutting the sward, or surface of the earth, so as to break every clod that might otherwise resist the action of spiked rollers, or any similar implement of agriculture.
In the Letters and Papers of the Bath and West of England Society, we meet with an account of a Sward-cutter, invented by the Hon, Robert SaNdilands, and which promises to be of great utility to the husbandman : we have therefore been induced to give the following representation:
Fig. 1, is a square frame, which is three feet four inches in length, from the front to the back part, and four feet three inches in breadth : the timber (when of fir ). is four inches square, and placed on two wheels, B, B, which are about three feet in diameter, and are designed to support the posterior part of the machine. - Mr. SandIlaNds observes, that the old fore wheels of a chaise may be employed for this purpose.
C, C, C, C, C, C, are six bulls, or strong pieces of timber, 5 1/2 inches in breadth, and 6 inches thick at E; but which decrease to 3 inches at F. In these bulls are fixed six iron cutting wheels, which are 13 inches in diameter ; 3/4 of an inch thick at the centre, for the reception of holes, containing the iron axis ; and which are of such a thickness from that part, as to admit of the edges being well steeled. Farther, such wheels are fixed by means of two bolts, that pass through the" bulls, having eyes at one end, for the motion of their axles ; the opposite extremity being provided with nuts and screws, which are sunk in the bulls, to prevent them from interfering with the weights that rest on them; and these are marked with the letters, L, L, L, L, L, L, L, L, in the respective figures above delineated.
G, G, G, G, G, G, G, are seven thorles, or hollow pieces of wood, each being 3 1/2 inches in length, and inclosing the bolt.M.M, while they serve to keep the bulls, C, C, C, C, C, C, at proper distances. These thorles consist of two parts, being connected by means of a cord or leather strap, that admits of their being changed, when it becomes necessary to enlarge or diminish the cutting wheels : they may also be made shorter, or longer, as the sward requires to be cut in larger or smaller pieces.
M, M, is an iron bolt, that pa; through two pieces either of wood or iron, seven inches in length, clear of the wood, which are supported by iron stays fixed to the frame ; and run through all the bulls, as represented at T, (Fig. 3). - Such bolt ought to be very strong, as the draught of the horses there terminates.
H, H, (Fig. 2, and 3), represents a wooden cylinder, termed a rocking-tree, which is seven inches in diameter, extends across the frame, and moves on two pivots, inserted in the latter; one being fixed at each extremity. - This cylinder is not described in Fig. 1, in order to convey a clearer idea of the frame : it is supported by an iron bolt, or piece of wood mortised into the frame (as delineated in the figures above referred to), that is eight inches in height, and to which six chains or ropes are attached by hooks, at various distances; accordingly as the cuts may be required to be 6, 7, 8, or 9 inches asunder. Farther, the chains or ropes are joined to the end of each bul, in which the cutting wheels move; so that, when the rocking-tree is turned about by the lever I, all the bulls are, together with their wheels, raised uniformly out of the ground, as delineated in Fig. 3 ; by which expedient the implement may be turned from one place to another, without any danger of straining the wheels.
L, L, L, L, L, L, L, L, (Fig. l, 2, and 3), are weights of freestone, which are 20 Inches in length, and 6 inches in breadth ; the lower stone being 4 inches thick, and weighing about 56 lbs. ; the upper one is of similar dimensions, but 3 inches thick, and weighs about-42lbs.: these stones are perforated with two holes, through which are inserted iron spikes, that are fixed in the bulls, with a view to keep them steady. - Mr. S. remarks, in his communication to the Patriotic Society above-mentioned, that the stone first described will be sufficient, when the ground is not very hard; but, where it cannot be cut without great difficulty, the stone weighing 42lbs. may be added; so that every wheel may support a weight of 98 lbs. that has been found fully adequate to the cutting of the stitfest land, and the hard-est sward, on which experiments have hitherto been made with the implement : - he farther observes, that cast-iron, if it were not too expensive, would be preferable-stone.
I, (Fig. 2 and 3), is a (ever five feet long, which should be made of good, tough ash ; and is connected with a sliding rope fastened to the back part of the frame ; so that, when the rocking-tree is partly turned round by the lever, and the cutting wheels are conse-quently raised three or four inches above the surface of the land, the rope is fixed to it, by throwing a loop at the extremity of such rope over the pin R, (Fig. 2, an 3), at the distance of three feet four inches from the end of the lever I. Thus, all the wheels are kept above ground, till the Sward-cutter is turned; when, on removing the loop from the pin, the rope or chain slips towards the frame, and the lever is gradually returned former position, as appears in Fig. 2; so that the cutting wheels are restored to their first situation; by the weights fixed to the bulls.
P, P, (Fig. 1), are small iron bolts, having hooks at one end, in order to strengthen the bolt M, M, and being fastened to the frame by nuts and screws.
The hinder part of the grooves may be covered below with a thin plate of iron, which is six in in length, three in breadth, \ a slit in the part where the wheels move; in order to prevent such grooves from being filled, and consequently the wheel from being clogged or impeded with grass, weeds, or small stones. The form of such plate, together with the slit, is delineated in the small figure marked with the letter i.
The machine represented in Fig. 1, is furnished with three shafts, resembling those of a waggon, and which are designed for a Double-horse Sward-cutter : they may be made of such length, strength, and proportion, as the workman may think proper. Mr. SandiLANDS recommends an implement of this size to be provided with eight bulls, and an equal number of wheels; so that, when if is designed to reduce hard cloddy summer fallows, or to prepare land for barley, either before, or after the furrow, the whole weight (amounting to forty-two stone, or may be applied to the bulls, which should in this case be six inches asunder: hence the stones, weighing 56lbs. each, are to be laid on six of these bulls ; and two of those, each, on the two additional ones ; the whole, forming a weight, which is conceived to be fully adequate to the purpose, and which will effectually crush every clod of a breadth exceeding six inches.
A Single-horse Sward-cutter is furnished only with four cutting , and one pair of shafts ; the latter of which may, without requiring any joinings, form the two sides of the frame. Its width, compared with that of the implement deigned to be drawn with two, horses, is in the proportion of four to six ; and, if it be intended for cutting tough soils, it may be furnished with sir bulls, and 2S stone weight, being divided in the following manner, namely : the 561b. weights (that is, the four larger stones) being applied to four of the bulls ; and two of the 42 lbs.
Weights, or the smaller stones, to the two additional bulls.
With a view to procure the Sward-cutter at the lowest price, Mr. SanDIlands proposes to save the expence of the two wheels and iron axle, by fastening to the frame at S, (Fig. 3), a piece of wood having a small curve at the end, and somewhat resembling the foot of the sledge formerly used in Scotland, for the purpose of carrying corn from the field ; that part of such piece, which rests on the ground, being retained at the distance of 18 inches from the frame, by means of a strong Wooden prop. Lastly, as the outer or side-bulls arc apt to slide beneath the frame; and, as it would thus be difficult to raise the cutting-wheels when in the ground, he recommends a thin slip of iron to be fixed in the inside of the frame, nearly opposite to the hinder extremity of the bulls, and of a sufficient length ; by which expedient such inconvenience will be completely obviated.
In employing this Sward-cutter, one man only is required to manage the machine, and to drive the horse, or horses; accordingly as one or two of those animals become necessary. He commences his labour, first by measuring out the space of 20 or 30 paces from the implement, at the end of which he fixes a pole. The field is next cut across, as nearly at right angles with the ridges as possible; and, when the cutting-wheels have passed the last furrow of such space, about a yard, the labourer must stop the horses, and take hold of the lever 1, (Fig. 2, and 3): this he pulls towards him ; raising the cutting-wheels out of the ground, which are then kept elevated by throwIng the loop of the rope over the pin R, (that is inserted in the leter I, Fig. 2, and 3), till the implement be turned, and brought to its proper place; which is effected by measuring out a similar distance on the opposite side of the field. When the cutting-wheels are directly over the last furrow, the horses should be stopped; the loop slipped off the pin R; and the lever be restored to its former station, as represented Fig. 2; in consequence of which the weights, L, L, etc. are again enabled to force the cutting-wheels into the ground. In this manner the workman proceeds to conduct the machine, till the field is regularly cut; after which the soil may be ploughed and harrowed in the usual manner.
The original design of the Sward-cutter, was that of preparing old grass land for the plough, by cut-ting it across the ridges, either at the commencement, or in the course of the winter ; to which purpose it is eminently adapted. While other ploughs are liable to be injured, or at least thrown out of work, by stones or any other obstruction between the coulters, no Such accident can happen to Mr. Sandilands' machine; though consisting of four, six, or eight cutting-wheels ; because these are independent of each other, and divide the ground across the ridges, previously to ploughing : thus rendering that operation much easier to two horses, than it would otherwise be to three. - The furrow being cut transversely, " falls finely from the plough, " in squares of any size that may be deemed proper ; whereas, if a scarificator, a four-coultered, or other plough, were employed, long slips of tough sward would be formed, and which are seldom, or at most imperfectly, broken.
Farthcr, the Sward-cutter will be of great service in preparing land for barley, as it is preferable to any spiked or cutting roller ; and for reducing the large hard clods occasioned in clayey soils by a sudden drought, when these have been ploughed before the superfluous moisture had evaporated. Other advantages attending the use of the machine here described, are the celerity and facility with which the labour may be performed ; as one implement will cut, in the course of a day, as large a space as would require sic ploughs to turn the soil: the work is executed not only in a neater manner, but a greater surface is exposed to the influence of the air and sun ; so that the soil is considerably ameliorated. Besides, it deserves to be noticed, that it is of no consequence, whether the land to be sward-cut is in crooked or straight, in flat or high-raised ridges ; in short, let the surface be ever so irregular, the effect will be uniformly produced on level, as well as uneven ground; because the cutting-wheels, acting separately, are forced by their incumbent weights into every cavity or furrow. The price of this valuable implement was originally 15 or 16l.; but, from the improvements lately made by its inventor, we understand that it may be procured for 5 or 61. Mr. SandilaNds observes, that any common wheelwright, or blacksmith, may make the instrument: as it is very strong; simple in its construction ; easily managed, and removed to different places; and, if carefully kept under shelter, when not in use, will last for many years ; we have been induced to explain its constituent parts, for the information of our country-readers ; happy, if we could thus contribute our mite towards the improvement of that national concern, Agriculture.