I began helping in the corn harvest by cutting the corn stalks into arm-sized bundles with a corn knife
Then you went through with a corn knife
or hoe to chop the weeds the cultivator had missed.
The $50 price tag at the local hardware store was too much for what was left in my wallet after paying bills, so I came home, took a furniture clamp, clamped my very old electric drill to my wooden deck table, chucked a grind stone into it and put a wonderful new edge on my corn knife
Corn stalk cutter used in lieu of a hand-held corn knife
when shocking corn.
A bell hog scraper is best for this work if you have or can find one, but a dull knife, an old corn knife
or a piece of broken jar is satisfactory.
If this process seems labor intensive, compare it to the process it replaced, in which a corn knife
was used to cut stalks for shocking.
To do the job by hand, use a machete or a corn knife
Today, when 12- and 18-row combines chew swiftly through 100-acre corn fields, it's difficult to imagine how, less than 100 years ago, a farmer and his son (see related article, page 11) could tackle 10 or 20 acres of corn armed only with a wooden horse and a corn knife
apiece, along with a supply of rye straw or a ball of binder twine with which to tie the cut stalks into shocks.
Another form of old-fashioned corn knife
is foot mounted: a good kick cuts the stalk, eliminating bending, and leaving both hands free to gather stalks.
Carl also collects corn items (a handsome display mounted on weathered barn boards included a corn knife
, thumbstall and husking pegs) and slip scrapers, slosh buckets and slushers.
With my $6 corn knife
I cut the plants off 3-4 inches from the ground.
A man with a corn knife
was fortunate if he could cut and shock an acre and a half per day.