American Agriculturist, Volume 38, 1879
A Useful Sod-Cutter
By L. D. Snook, Yates Co., N. Y.
For making a small lawn, it is far more expeditious and satisfactory
in all respects, to lay down turf, if it can be procured,
and even where the surface is too large to be turfed, sods
are almost indispensable for those portions bordering upon
roads or paths, as well as for the outlines of such beds as
may be made in it. The usual method of cutting turf is to
lay down a board of the desired width; the operator, while
standing upon the board, cuts down on each side of it with
a sharp spade. Then lifting an end of the strip with the spade,
one person rolls the turf, while another, with the spade,
cuts away the long roots that penetrate the soil below. A
roll made of a strip 12 feet long is as large as two persons
can conveniently handle.
Mr. Snook, whose notions are usually very practical, suggests
a sod-cutter made as follows: "The body of the cutter,
A, is a block of hard-wood, 10 inches thick, 12 to 15
inches wide, [12 will be better than wider, ED.], and 3 feet
long. The cutter, B, is a strip of 1/4-inch iron, 3
inches wide, and bent at the ends at right angles to fit the
block, as shown in the engraving; one side of this is hammered
thin, and ground to an edge, not only along the horizontal
part, but for 3 or 4 inches on the turn-up portions. This
is then firmly bolted to the block, the distance below it
being governed by the thickness at which the turf is to be
cut. The lower part of the block, immediately above the knife,
is hollowed out to allow the turf to pass easily between the
block and the cutter. There is, of course, an arrangement
for hitching a horse to it, a couple of handles, like plough
handles, are attached to allow the implement to be guided.
The block may be weighted, if necessary, to keep it down."
Editor's Note: This is a reprint of an article published
in 1879. It describes what was recommended in accordance with
the knowledge and practices of the day. While reading it,
please consider this fact.