African Engineers: Inexperienced Cutlasses

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In an age wherein Greens preach extra loudly than Christians it’s becoming that in style Biblical quotations discover new inexperienced expressions. In Ghana, grassroots engineers have reinterpreted Isaiah’s imaginative and prescient of turning swords into ploughshares by turning worn out band-saw blades into farming cutlasses. Band-saws are utilized in Ghana’s quite a few sawmills to show its mighty forest bushes into picket planks, however making cutlasses from the previous blades helps small farmers to feed themselves and their village communities. Though this exercise does nothing on to protect the forests it does recycle treasured imported materials and protect it to be used in a greener setting.

Band-saw blades are manufactured from specifically formulated carbon metal that mixes the properties of hardness with flexibility and shock resistance. The steel can present a pointy and sturdy innovative with the aptitude to run bent round metal rollers in a steady loop. In accordance with veterans of the sawmilling trade, all that these blades can’t survive is assembly a big rock that has been carried up by the tree because it grew and grow to be embedded deep inside its monumental trunk. For sure, metal of this high quality is right for farmers’ cutlasses used for weed management and clearing scrub.

In casual industrial areas, or kokompes, like Suame Journal in Kumasi, a cutlass maker’s workshop is recognized by a pile of previous band-saw blades mendacity close by. The conversion course of is actually arduous work. The fabric is so arduous that it may be reduce solely by a hammer and chisel. The sharp reducing fringe of the chisel can survive only some blows earlier than it wants re-sharpening and that is effected with assistance from an electrical grinding machine, normally mounted on an previous picket bench. By this arduous course of the define of the cutlass blade emerges from the flat metal sheet of the previous band-saw blade.

The form of the cutlass blade contains the define of the deal with. Two holes are punched to permit a picket deal with to be held in place by rivets. The 2 picket elements of the deal with are normally made by a carpenter and equipped prepared formed to be mounted by the cutlass maker. With a picket half-handle positioned on both sides of the metal blade, holes are drilled via the wooden and the three-part sandwich is held firmly collectively by two metal rivets. The cutlass is completed by sharpening the innovative on the identical grinding machine used for re-sharpening the chisel. When effectively crafted, as lots of them are, the domestically made cutlasses are of comparable look and effectiveness as imported fashions.

The excessive clergymen of the inexperienced motion want to see the whole preservation of the tropical forests. This is able to entail the cessation of logging, the closure of sawmills and the eventual demise of the native grassroots cutlass trade. Ghana’s farmers would grow to be depending on imports, or native manufacturing primarily based on imported materials, for all of their cutlasses. Little doubt, set in opposition to the bigger inexperienced aspiration, this sacrifice could be simply made.

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