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Scythe options for Canadians

 
Posts: 24
Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada Zone 5b
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Hi all!

I've been doing some looking into Scythe options up here in Canada, and just wanted to post my research here for the benefit of others.

All these options are for scythes that would arrive in 'Ready to use' condition along with the sharpening equipment required to maintain them (Peening sets and stones for Euro scythes, grinding point and sharpening stone for the American style). I want the blade to come sharpened, so I have a good reference points as to how a sharp scythe is supposed to cut. These quotes are all for 'general purpose'-type blades that can be used for trimming and rougher ground / vegetation, so 'Ditch', 'Garden' or 'Weed' blades depending on the vendor.

Note that these are not 'Apples to Apples' comparisons - these vendors sell different Snaths, blades and even styles of scythe. So, your mileage may vary, but since I had it all written down, I figured I may as well post it in case it's useful to someone else.

USD/CAD conversion was done at 1 USD = 1.33242 CAD

ScytheWorks
#01A “All-Purpose Outfit” with #126Z/65cm
Sharpening Kit
$75 shipping
$392.11 CAD after HST and shipping

Scythe Supply (coming from the USA)
Custom outfit with 26" Ditch Blade and Sharpening
'Under $75 shipping to Canada'
$376.53 CAD after HST and Shipping. Not sure about duty as the blade is not US made.

Baryonx (US supplier, American-style Scythes)
Longfellow Snath
'Grab Bag Vintage Blade' weed blade with a 'Deluxe Fine' grind and Tang Adjustment
Polymer Whetstone Holder
Lansky Canoe Stone
Grinding Point
$61.72 Shipping
$445.13 CAD after HST and Shipping. Possibly some duty.

One Scythe Revolution - from the USA
160cm FUX Adjustable Snath with 65cm "Gartensense" Scythe Blade Outfit
Peening Jig
$85 Shipping
$598.05 CAD after HST and Shipping

The Marugg Company - from the USA
Straight Hickory Outfit w/ 26” Grass blade
Peening Apparatus
$75 Shipping (estimate, will adjust once owner responds)
$393.03 including HST and Shipping

After all this, I'm not sure which way I'm going to go.

I was thinking hard about the American scythes from Baryonyx... I'm convinced they can do the job as well as European-style scythes  once properly fitted and set up, plus, with the grinding points, I have the option of picking up and 'restoring' local blades if desired. I also prefer the maintenance requirements somewhat more. However, I'd be paying a premium to go that way.

All the above companies offer custom sizing, and I suspect I would be quite happy with any of them.

 
Posts: 262
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Marugg states on their site that they're not currently accepting orders, and I suspect they're not long for this world.

I'd personally suggest that whichever rig you go for, just make sure it's of the highest quality you can afford. I'd further caution that the Scythe Supply unit has fixed position grips, which means you'll be stuck with whatever measurements you provide them, and they're somewhat notorious for having the grips come loose. Resalability if you find you don't care for it is difficult because of the fixed sizing. Unfortunately, regardless of type, shipping is a costly thing due to the size of the tool. At some point in the future I hope to have a two-part breakdown snath available but it's going to take a while to make that one a reality due to sourcing the hardware I'd need for the junction.
 
Brian Vraken
Posts: 24
Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada Zone 5b
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Benjamin: Since you are in here anyways, how unreasonable would it be to use the No. 8 Aluminum snath as a taller guy (6'0")?
 
Benjamin Bouchard
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Brian Vraken wrote:Benjamin: Since you are in here anyways, how unreasonable would it be to use the No. 8 Aluminum snath as a taller guy (6'0")?



It works fine, though it's the upper limit of what I'd consider a sound match. Just gotta' have your tang angle set appropriately for your height. Ideally you adjust the nibs so the lower is at your hip joint and the upper is above it by a cubit measure, but you want a few inches for the heel of your palm to brace against, so for folks who max out the length on standard-length American snaths I suggest that they set the upper nib first, to its maximum position with the required amount extending for the palm, then set the lower nib DOWN from there by your cubit measure, and take up the slack in the tang angle adjustment. When used this way your nib rotation will be a bit more upward than it would be for folks of more conventional tuning.
 
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I got mine from Scythe Supply.  I'm in the USA, though.

I just wanted to chime in about Scythe Supply's quality and customer service.  I'm very happy with the outfit I got and support after the sale.

Had mine 5 years now.  Never a problem, even after the blade ate a T-post.  It still was repairable by me at home.

EDIT:
As for the grips coming loose, you're supposed to glue them in with good wood glue.  Mine have never budged at all.

Dry fit the grips and go take a few swings.  Adjust as needed and take a few more swings.  My handles are not actually 90 degrees out from the snath, but cocked slightly.  Fits me like a glove.
 
Benjamin Bouchard
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John Todd wrote:I got mine from Scythe Supply.  I'm in the USA, though.

I just wanted to chime in about Scythe Supply's quality and customer service.  I'm very happy with the outfit I got and support after the sale.

Had mine 5 years now.  Never a problem, even after the blade ate a T-post.  It still was repairable by me at home.

EDIT:
As for the grips coming loose, you're supposed to glue them in with good wood glue.  Mine have never budged at all.

Dry fit the grips and go take a few swings.  Adjust as needed and take a few more swings.  My handles are not actually 90 degrees out from the snath, but cocked slightly.  Fits me like a glove.



Trust me, I'm fully aware that you're supposed to use wood glue.
 
Posts: 8
Location: Saint-Didace, Québec, Canada (Zone 4)
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I'm also in Canada (Québec) and find it difficult to find and buy scythe stuff. I got mine (aluminium american snath and 28" blade) few years ago at my local hardware (rural) store. Maybe you can check locally in stores where you can find stuff for small farm, they may have some.

The only canadian scythe shop is ScytheWorks and has european scythe, so it's hard to find accessories for american scythe. Even finding good whetstone is complicated without paying very high shipping cost. However, it seems that almost every old barn/farm has a scythe and few blades, so you may have some luck finding one in good condition and restoring some blades. I found a nice 30" blade for 10$ and I like it. I'm now looking for a short bush blade and a spare wooden snath.

I also found on ebay a russian scythe made by Arti. I'm slowly learning to peen it and to sharpen it. The sharpening of the blade and my technique still need much more improvements for this tool. I'm not sure yet if I like it or not, but I'm working on it. My american-style blades feel much more sturdier.

And Benjamin, I can't wait to see your future two-part breakdown snath ! Would it be similar to the "Oregon snath" ?

David
 
Benjamin Bouchard
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David Joly wrote:
And Benjamin, I can't wait to see your future two-part breakdown snath ! Would it be similar to the "Oregon snath" ?

David



It's pretty different. Follows closer to a traditional American pattern form but with a clamp mechanism that joins the two halves and allows it to scale perfectly for the user.
 
Posts: 29
Location: South East Kansas
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As someone who is new to using a scythe. I found the best part of the kit was The Scythe Book by David Tresemer. I think any kit one buys, it must have good instruction and good customer service. I got my kit from Scythe Supply and have had my scythe about a year now. I use a European style scythe and I like it.    
 
Benjamin Bouchard
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T Blankinship wrote:As someone who is new to using a scythe. I found the best part of the kit was The Scythe Book by David Tresemer. I think any kit one buys, it must have good instruction and good customer service. I got my kit from Scythe Supply and have had my scythe about a year now. I use a European style scythe and I like it.    



Be sure to take The Scythe Book with an enormous rock crystal of salt. The man (Tresemer) owned a business, Hand and Foot Ltd., that imported  and sold Austrian scythes, and The Scythe Book was written as something of a printed infomercial for them. The information about the American scythe, in particular, is rife with outright falsehoods that the author himself was well aware of, given his bibliography. Even the info for the Austrian scythe has a bunch of errors in it that Peter Vido later tried to correct or address, but even so it is still a flawed document. Consider it about as reputable as a Wikipedia page on an obscure subject; it's a good jumping off point in your initial research, but should not be taken as a starting point rather than an authoritative or exhaustive source. For European scythes I'd suggest Peter Vido's "The Big Book of the Scythe" , and for American scythes, my own writings on the subject. Peter is unfortunately no longer with us, but neither his nor my own writing are infallible, either, but Peter tried his very best to put quality instructional resources into the world, and so am I. There are a number of things I need to update and much much more I have yet to write down, but it'll get there eventually.
 
T Blankinship
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Benjamin Bouchard wrote:

T Blankinship wrote:As someone who is new to using a scythe. I found the best part of the kit was The Scythe Book by David Tresemer. I think any kit one buys, it must have good instruction and good customer service. I got my kit from Scythe Supply and have had my scythe about a year now. I use a European style scythe and I like it.    



Be sure to take The Scythe Book with an enormous rock crystal of salt. The man (Tresemer) owned a business, Hand and Foot Ltd., that imported  and sold Austrian scythes, and The Scythe Book was written as something of a printed infomercial for them. The information about the American scythe, in particular, is rife with outright falsehoods that the author himself was well aware of, given his bibliography. Even the info for the Austrian scythe has a bunch of errors in it that Peter Vido later tried to correct or address, but even so it is still a flawed document. Consider it about as reputable as a Wikipedia page on an obscure subject; it's a good jumping off point in your initial research, but should not be taken as a starting point rather than an authoritative or exhaustive source. For European scythes I'd suggest Peter Vido's "The Big Book of the Scythe" , and for American scythes, my own writings on the subject. Peter is unfortunately no longer with us, but neither his nor my own writing are infallible, either, but Peter tried his very best to put quality instructional resources into the world, and so am I. There are a number of things I need to update and much much more I have yet to write down, but it'll get there eventually.



Thanks, I wonder why the book was mostly about the European scythes. I did find the history of the scythe fascinating.
 
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