Scutching is a step in the processing of cotton or the dressing of flax or hemp in preparation for spinning . The scutching process separates the impurities from the raw material, such as the seeds from raw cotton or the straw and woody stem from flax fibers. [1] [2] scutching can be done by hand or by machines is Known As has scutcher. Hand scutching of flax with a wooden scutching knife and a small iron scraper. The end products of flax scissors are the long flax fibers, shorts coarser fibers called tow and woody waste matter called shive. [3]

In the early days of the world, the invention of the invention is generally known in the art. Scutching machines were introduced in the early 19th-century, and processed the raw material into a continuous sheet of cotton wadding known as a lap.

Cotton scutching

Cotton Manufacturing Processes [ hide ]
Bale Breaker Blowing Room
Breaker Scutcher Batting
Finishing Scutcher Lapping
Carding Carding Room
Sliver Lap
Roving Fine Roving
Spinning Mule Ring Spinning Spinning
Reeling doubling
Winding bundling bleaching
Weaving shed Winding
Beaming Cabling
warping gassing
Sizing / slashing / Dressing spooling
Cloth Yarn (Cheese) – – Bundle Sewing Thread

Before cotton, it is processed in the form of cotton wool, and it is used in the process of spreading the raw cotton and beating it with sticks. [4] A scutching machine for cotton, known as a scutcher, was invented in 1797, but did not get much attention until it was introduced in Manchester in 1808 or 1809. By 1816 scutchers had been adopted. [5]

The scutching machine passes the cotton through a pair of rollers, then strikes it with iron or steel bars called beaters. The beaters, which turn very quickly, strike the hard cotton and knock the seeds out. This process is done over a series of parallel bars, allowing the seeds to fall through. At the same time is blown across the bars, which carries the cotton into a cotton chamber. [5] The end result is a continuous sheet of cotton wadding known as a lap, ready for the next stage of the production process, carding . [6]

Flax scutching

By hand

The scutching knife is scraped down with a sharp strike against the fibers while they hang vertically. [7] The edge of the knife is scraped along the fibers to pull away pieces of the stalk. This is repeated until the end of the day and the flax is smooth and silky. When scutching was done by 15 people (6.8 kg) of flax in one day, though the amount depended on the quality of the flax. Coarser flax, harder flax and poorly retted flax takes longer to scutch. [7] Retting removes the pectins that bind the fibers to the stalk and each other, so under-retted flax is harder to separate from the stalk, and often gets damaged in the scutching process. Over-retting the flax causes the fibers to deteriorate and break.[3]

In the scutching process some of the fiber is also scutched away along with the stalk, a normal part of the process.

By machine

Scutching is done several ways by machine. Scutching mills started in Ireland, and were commonly used by 1850, at a time when scutching was still common in Continental Europe. Machine scutching, while faster and cheaper, causes more waste than scutching by hand. [7] One method of machine scutching is to crush the stalks between two metal rollers so that parts of the stalk can be separated.

A modern scutching machine can process up to 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) of flax every hour, and produces about 70 kilograms (150 lb) of flax fiber and 30 kilograms (66 lb) of tow . Older machines create more waste. [3]

See also

  • Cotton gin
  • Cotton mill
  • Hand processing flax
  • Preparing flax for spinning
  • Heckling (flax)
  • Linen production



  1. Jump up^ “Scutch.” The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.
  2. Jump up^ Morton (2008), pp. 74-77
  3. ^ Jump up to:c Franck (2005) , pp. 113-5
  4. Jump up^ Williams & Farnie (1992), p. 4
  5. ^ Jump up to:b Fitton & Wadsworth (1968) , p. 296
  6. Jump up^ Williams & Farnie (1992), pp. 6-7
  7. ^ Jump up to:c Nicholls, George (1848). The flax-grower . pp. 45-48.