Scutching is the mechanical operation which, by breaking and beating the straw flax, separates the textile fibres in the stem of the plant from the woody matter and the bark. The straw is first broken by feeding it between a pair of roundtoothed cylinders.

The broken flax straw is then rubbed and beaten by turbine blades, which remove the short fibres (tow) and the waste woody matter (shives).  The layer of fibres which is produced is then separated in handfulls, or is rolled on. 

The short fibers were transported to a tow scutching line,  containing 6 drums, to seperate the short fibers from the shives.

No part of the flax plant is wasted : scutched flax (long fibres) and scutched tow (short fibres) are used by the spinners.  The shives are used by the manufacturers of chip boards.  The seeds can be used as sewing linseed or can produce linseed oil.



scutching factory in Wevelgem (B)

Flax opener making of handfulls rolls of scutched flax