• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Miles Flansburg
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Daron Williams
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
  • Bryant RedHawk

scythe vs. string trimmer  RSS feed

 
                        
Posts: 8
Location: South Arkansas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Don't know if tis counts but I had a string trimmer given to me I used string for a while I found an one skill saw blade and mounted it on the trimmer it cuts good and it also makes windrows also great for clearing briar infested ditches cuts pine saplings and gum trees too
 
Posts: 230
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You have to see the end of this video - Making hay in the alps.
 
master steward
Posts: 26015
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
 
pollinator
Posts: 516
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you are considering an electric string trimmer, look for one with the motor at the top of the shaft. It will be better balanced and it keeps grit away from the motor (I quickly destroyed two before I learned that lesson). Also, look for one that is rated for thicker line. I bought a Stihl that works for me, though it is a bit short. There a other options, but not all that many. Noise is still an issue with electric trimmers, so use protective gear (for ears, and also eyes, nose and mouth). Another issue with string trimmers is the high frequency vibration. It can aggravate joint, bone or nerve problems, especially with prolonged use.
 
pollinator
Posts: 202
Location: Ontario
58
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
another video:



not only does the scythee get the mowing done in good time, but the act comes with a trim body to boot.
 
gardener
Posts: 1888
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
98
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
maybe some one can help me. Five years ago I bought a scythe and snath . I did not know which snath to get so I got a curved one, and I can't seem to get the handle adjusted just right. I have used it, and I do like it, but I don't do it like these guys in the video.

I need to know where I should place the handle that is closest to the blade, in terms of balance, and which way it should be facing. I think if I could ever get the tool balanced, and the handle stabilized, I could develop the swing, then maybe the trim waist would show up!

Then, I need to know where to get the sharpening jig thing I heard about. I mean, don't you peen the edge and that lasts through several sharpenings? And what is a fair price to pay, and how do you use the jig?

I would LOVE to be able to use it well.

Thanks.
Thekla


 
Posts: 129
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My one-stop shopping for all things scythe One Scythe Revolution

Look at his metal snaths, really fully adjustable to almost any physique
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1888
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
98
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
thank you Eric, I like their name too!
Thekla
 
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: Longbranch, WA
73
chicken goat rabbit solar tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

expolenta Hatfield wrote:I am new to this forum but I regularly read it. 
I used a scythe in the past (40 years ago in Europe) and I started again. I have a problem with the blade being fixed on the snath.  It shifts sideways and my angle of the tip of the blade is changing.  I tied as hard as I could the screws on the snath metal ring but they still open up or loosen up, I should say. 
You, experienced scythers;  what would you advice?  How can I keep my blade as fixed as possible on the snath to avoid tying every minute my blade?
I have the "Scythe supply" outfit with a large grass blade as well as a brush outfit and same problems with both of them.



I have 5 family scythes for various uses, but my wife insisted on buying a new one with the aluminum shath. Yes the blade shifts under the set screws. I had to make a shim to go between the shackle and the tang of the blade to keep it from shifting. Another alternative I suppose would to be to drill a dimple into the tang to hold the end of the set screw.

I will try to get a video of my collection and explain how I use each one.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1888
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
98
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hans, that would be wonderful. Even photos of the differences would be a great help to me!
Thekla
 
Eric Thomas
Posts: 129
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I went to the scythe because of back surgery I had a few years ago. I had two vertebrae fused, L5 & 4, so my turn radius is a little limited and mostly centered on L3. I started thinking about the scythe when it became onerous to use the trimmer, just couldn't balance it right regardless of straps over the shoulder and the weight just killed me. The noise, gas and maintenance didn't blow my hair back either. I started with OSR's ditch blade, only because I've got more ditch than grass. I've since bought a grass blade which is still sitting in the shed with the blade guard on it, haven't had the time or the grass to work with it yet. Took me a little time to adapt my physical limits to the tool but I'm pretty effective with it now (tho nothing like the dude in the video, that's awesome. I watched it a couple of times to notice that his lower back is, as they say in golf, "quiet", the real swing is coming from hips and legs). Only limitation on these blades seems to be working right up against something hard, like a rock border. I bought a cheap brush cutter two-sided blade on a 4' handle that I can sharpen with a file, gets the job done. The gas trimmer is going in the want-ads next week.

I bought the "short" Swiss snath because of height scale in their catalog (I'm 5' 9"). I quickly found that it was too short, probably because of my overall build and arm length, and I'm going to get the steel snath next as soon as I save up my lunch money. I think because of my limited turn radius that the extra length will give me a little more travel. I tried one belonging to a friend last year and it seemed to be a better fit for me and my abbreviated swing. OSR's metal snath is steel, not aluminum. Not sure 'aluminum' and 'snath' should be in the same sentence.

Botan Anderson seems to have found that happy spot where you get to do what you really love to do and make a little money too. (commercial disclaimer: I don't know him, never met him, just a very satisfied customer). His resources for learning the art and science are fantastic, you get very detailed instructions with every purchase and he sends out a great e-mail with every order with links to written and video instructions. Also has a blog with a lot of great stuff. I just bought the peening kit (Picard narrow) and it's really a beautiful piece of workmanship and quality material. It's still sitting in the shed too, been too busy to start working with it but if it works as good as it looks then everything will be OK.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1888
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
98
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All this info is great. I have not looked at OSR site yet, but it sounds like I'll get plenty of help figuring things out once I get there.

Thanks so much
Thekla
 
Posts: 26
Location: Marquette county Michigan's upper peninsula
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Their is something deeply satisfying about traditional tools and learning their use. The axe for the forrest and scythe for the field. One of my favorite tools is my brush scythe with oak handle that fits me perfect. I also have a grass blade but the snath is a bit light so the split birch is for handle replacement.
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: Longbranch, WA
73
chicken goat rabbit solar tiny house wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK here is my scythe collection.


Next I will add more comparison between the scythes and my Wauna Blade.


Edited by moderator to fix youtube link.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1888
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
98
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, I can't see the scythe collection, just the saw blade on a stick video. interesting tool, but I don't think my electric string trimmer would like it.

Thekla
 
Posts: 236
14
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Thekla McDaniels wrote:maybe some one can help me. Five years ago I bought a scythe and snath . I did not know which snath to get so I got a curved one, and I can't seem to get the handle adjusted just right. I have used it, and I do like it, but I don't do it like these guys in the video.

I need to know where I should place the handle that is closest to the blade, in terms of balance, and which way it should be facing. I think if I could ever get the tool balanced, and the handle stabilized, I could develop the swing, then maybe the trim waist would show up!

Then, I need to know where to get the sharpening jig thing I heard about. I mean, don't you peen the edge and that lasts through several sharpenings? And what is a fair price to pay, and how do you use the jig?

I would LOVE to be able to use it well.

Thanks.
Thekla




Hello, Thekla! Sounds like you, perhaps, got an American pattern scythe? If so, you might find my introductory guide on the tool to be handy. Many like to position the lower nib (grip) at the height of the ball of the hip and the upper nib one cubit up from that (the length from your elbow to outstretched fingertip) but I take a slightly different approach and set the upper nib so it just barely tucks under the arm when standing bolt upright, then the lower nib one cubit down from that. The end result is close to the same for most folks, but I find that it's easier for people to find the under-the-arm height than it is for them to find the right hip socket height.

 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1888
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
98
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Benjamin,

Thanks for the details. I'll get my scythe out on Tuesday, try the adjustments you suggest, and also photograph it.

I'll post the results and (possibly ) more questions
Thekla
 
Benjamin Bouchard
Posts: 236
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Happy to help! If it's an American pattern then you won't want to peen the blade. In addition to risking cracking the harder steel, it's also possible that if the blade is vintage it may be laminated, with a hard core of edge steel with soft iron cladding for toughness and support. If you peen a laminated blade you'd end up with the edge made of the cladding material instead of the edge steel.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1888
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
98
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah, more good information. I think it is an Austrian blade. When I bought it new, 5 years ago, a Bavarian woman was here wwoofing with me. She is the one who thought of getting a scythe, and was with me when I ordered it. She was an awesome woman, and a great worker, and that may have influenced my choice for a tool made in an area with long traditions of scything.

But, what I'll do on Tuesday, is find and photograph any identification marks, and the edge itself, incase an experienced eye can tell. With good help, I'll be set in no time.

tahnks
Thekla
 
Benjamin Bouchard
Posts: 236
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Thekla McDaniels wrote:Ah, more good information. I think it is an Austrian blade. When I bought it new, 5 years ago, a Bavarian woman was here wwoofing with me. She is the one who thought of getting a scythe, and was with me when I ordered it. She was an awesome woman, and a great worker, and that may have influenced my choice for a tool made in an area with long traditions of scything.

But, what I'll do on Tuesday, is find and photograph any identification marks, and the edge itself, incase an experienced eye can tell. With good help, I'll be set in no time.

tahnks
Thekla



Yeah, with a photo it'll be easy to tell them apart. Will be able to help ID it then.
 
gardener
Posts: 5201
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
657
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Interesting thread, I have both an American Scythe (antique but still in use by me) and I also have a Stihl commercial model string trimmer with a sapling blade. Both have their places for me on Buzzard's Roost.
My Scythe is used for clearing wild blackberry canes and other thick stemmed plants, the blade was slightly bent when I got it and I had to use my anvil and hammer to straighten it out then file the edge to proper shape. Now all it needs is around five honing strokes about every five minutes to keep the keen edge.
The Stihl is mostly used around the rock borders and for taking out small (2" and under) hickory trees that are in the way of the developing garden and orchard areas. We don't like to cut trees and some have been under decision scrutiny for a year. If we don't have to take them out for sunlight, they stay.

I love using the Scythe and I may end up getting an other one in Austrian pattern for grass cutting.
 
Benjamin Bouchard
Posts: 236
14
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Interesting thread, I have both an American Scythe (antique but still in use by me) and I also have a Stihl commercial model string trimmer with a sapling blade. Both have their places for me on Buzzard's Roost.
My Scythe is used for clearing wild blackberry canes and other thick stemmed plants, the blade was slightly bent when I got it and I had to use my anvil and hammer to straighten it out then file the edge to proper shape. Now all it needs is around five honing strokes about every five minutes to keep the keen edge.
The Stihl is mostly used around the rock borders and for taking out small (2" and under) hickory trees that are in the way of the developing garden and orchard areas. We don't like to cut trees and some have been under decision scrutiny for a year. If we don't have to take them out for sunlight, they stay.

I love using the Scythe and I may end up getting an other one in Austrian pattern for grass cutting.



As a note with American scythes, most snaths can be shaved down with a spoke shave and cabinet scraper to shed some weight, and different snaths are heavier or lighter. Snaths in general came in both grass and bush varieties, and there was variety within those types as well. I was able to get this scythe down to a weight of only 4lb 4oz, including the hardware and the 30" grass blade. That's less than many Austrian-style units!



Also, just to dispel some other little persistent myths, the false argument sometimes gets tossed around that somehow Austrian scythes can be made sharper than American ones. If anything the American type can take and hold a finer edge because of the greater edge stability of the harder steel. It is true that the lightest of the light European scythes will be lighter than the lightest American ones, but weight can actually be an advantage in heavy growth to reduce fatigue...but that's all a matter for another time. Suffice to say that both tools have equal, but different, advantages depending on their specific type and stats. For something somewhere in between the American and Austrian scythes in edge retention, the blades by the Russian company, Arti, are amongst the hardest tensioned blades out there and barely respond to peening even with a 40oz hammer.

 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 5201
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
657
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for that information Benjamin, My current blade is marked "kent" and it was identified for me as a weed blade. It certainly works great for the blackberry canes I have used it on.

I have read up on all the information I could find about the American Scythe and it only took me a day to get this one into great shape. It is almost 100 years old as best I can determine.
I know about not peening these blades, I did have to do a little straightening of the blade and that took the most time at my anvil. I then file sharpened it before turning to stones to get it good and sharp.
I made a sheath for the blade from saddle leather to protect the edge.
 
Benjamin Bouchard
Posts: 236
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah, truing the blade can take a bit of work depending on the abuse the blade had been put through in its lifetime. A gentle continuous upward curve is normal but any "frowning" blades or sharp bends in either direction need correction, and twists are fairly common as well from folks not bothering to heat and bend the tang to adjust the angle properly, just cold-cranking it in a vise instead. If you ever have to correct twists then you can use the jaws of a vise pinched at the end of the twist (preferably clamping the spine as well as the web) ad a gentle twist in the proper direction usually sorts it right out. Sometimes there's a warp in the web of the blade (the spine isn't twisted, just a section of edge it bowed up or down) and to fix those you can put the affected zone over the hardy hole of the anvil and carefully tap it out with a ball pein.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 5201
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
657
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mine sits with about a 2 degree pitch, since I haven't been able to find out if this is correct or not, I have left it where it is.
When I was truing the blade I used just enough heat to get the blade warm, I didn't think it would loose any of the temper that way and it was easier to get it back like it appeared it should look.

Is this a correct pitch? if not should I heat the tang to dull red or ? to bend. I have heat sink putty so the heat can be localized to just the tang area.

I really appreciate your help Benjamin, This tool is a treasure to me and I sure don't want to do it harm in any way. Especially out of ignorance.
 
Benjamin Bouchard
Posts: 236
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All work done to the blade itself should be done cold--heat above about 300°F (roughly 148°C) will damage the heat treatment. If the temperature was lower than that then it's probably not having a meaningful effect on the ease of working the metal, so basically one way or the other it's not worth bothering with heat to the blade itself. Heating the tang at the shank (the straight section between the blade and the elbow of the tang) to bend it you usually want to get to about dull red heat at least, and to achieve that heat as quickly as possible to keep the heat from spreading. Wrap the blade in a soaking wet rag to act as a heat sink or stick a raw potato over the edge at the heel. [url ="http://site.baryonyxknife.com/blog/2015/03/06/adjusting-the-tang-angle-of-american-pattern-scythe-blades/"]Here's a blog post[/url] about how I heat and bend my tangs, though the device I use is fancier than most folks have access to. It wouldn't be worth the investment unless you restore as many blades as I do.

As far as the correct pitch for the tang, it depends on your biometrics, snath, and environment of use. I usually find a 10-15° angle to be good on most snaths for most users for most mowing conditions, but as I mentioned it varies a good deal. Some snaths are so curved in the neck that blades mounted on them require little or no bend. Sometimes if mowing in bumpy, rocky, or reedy fields a more upward lay is desired, and so again little or no bend is used. But in lighter growth and when a close uniform stubble is desired, a lower lay is necessary.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1888
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
98
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Benjamin,

That little video answered some questions for me, about what angle the blade meets the vegetation to be cut, and how to carry the thing. The blade is so big and so sharp, it seems dangerous and awkward. I think how you carried your looks like would work for me too.

Once I know how to use it, will I be able to cut things like mature cornstalks and broom corn before they dry?

Is that a Bronco shirt? Are you somewhere near or in Colorado? I'd come pay for a private consultation if you're in range.

Thanks Thekla
 
Benjamin Bouchard
Posts: 236
14
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hahaha--it's actually a shirt from a Japanese restaurant in southern Maine. I'm in central Maine, myself. For some more challenging mowing conditions, here I am using a bush blade on the same snath mowing mature, lignified goldenrod and burdock. Check the end of the clip to see a chunk cut from one of the burdock plants.

 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 5201
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
657
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I only heated the blade because it was very cold (25 f) the day I worked it and I didn't want to risk a crack, it was heated with a heat gun to warm to touch (@80-90 f).
I have blacksmithing knowledge (blade smith) and I have two forges, one coal fired for making blades and one that can isolate heat to a 2" area, I also have Oxy-Acet. rig so I can spot heat with a rosebud.
I have a tin of special heat sink putty, I'd put on a thick layer, it stops heat very well. I can even hammer weld thin or thick steel without loosing temper within one inch of the applied putty.

I'll do more research before attempting any real adjustments. This is not something I want to mess up through poor judgment or bad technique. II use the baryonyknife site a lot.
 
Benjamin Bouchard
Posts: 236
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Gotcha'. Doing the tang adjustment should be a snap for you then. I'd use the torch and a bending wrench if you have one. If not, then a pipe of the right size or (better) an old fashioned monkey wrench (not pipe wrench) does the trick in a pinch.

For the adjustments just think about how you want the blade to lay for the mowing you plan on doing with it when on the snath you're planning on using. Test the fit to see where the current lay is and then how much you need to bend the tang to get it where you need it. It's not too complicated.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1888
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
98
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
here are photos of my scythe and snath
angle.JPG
[Thumbnail for angle.JPG]
austria.jpg
[Thumbnail for austria.jpg]
snath.jpg
[Thumbnail for snath.jpg]
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1888
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
98
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
and the blade
blade.JPG
[Thumbnail for blade.JPG]
blade-2.JPG
[Thumbnail for blade-2.JPG]
blade-3.jpg
[Thumbnail for blade-3.jpg]
 
Posts: 36
5
chicken fungi goat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ok so the beautiful, young things can wield a scythe with speed and efficiency, But can a pudgy older lady, with a worn and ill used musculoskeletal system mow her suburban front lawn, keep the neighbors happy and her anti lawn mower ethics intact?

She can handle a canister vacuum cleaner inside, a bamboo leaf rake outside and she sharpens her own kitchen knives.
 
Posts: 218
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Muzhik McCoy wrote:So, I guess what we should take away from this thread is this simple fact:

Scythe matters.



as a former commercial landscaper worker bee, I determined I would never buy another weed whacker (for blade or string) after using machetes. This past couple years, I've been wanting to find a scythe... and this thread has reinforced my thinking, thank you. Now, I have to fond a source....
 
Posts: 63
Location: Eastern WA -- 5b-6a
3
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Alfrun Unndis wrote:Ok so the beautiful, young things can wield a scythe with speed and efficiency, But can a pudgy older lady, with a worn and ill used musculoskeletal system mow her suburban front lawn, keep the neighbors happy and her anti lawn mower ethics intact?

She can handle a canister vacuum cleaner inside, a bamboo leaf rake outside and she sharpens her own kitchen knives.





 
Pia Jensen
Posts: 218
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Lee Daniels wrote:

Alfrun Unndis wrote:Ok so the beautiful, young things can wield a scythe with speed and efficiency, But can a pudgy older lady, with a worn and ill used musculoskeletal system mow her suburban front lawn, keep the neighbors happy and her anti lawn mower ethics intact?

She can handle a canister vacuum cleaner inside, a bamboo leaf rake outside and she sharpens her own kitchen knives.



LOL ... I rode my cheap but functional mountain bike to Termas Dayman yesterday (wanted to test my capacity as I've been biking all over town about 5 months), soaked in the hot springs over several long moments and rode back today and feeling confident my 53 yr old, oft beaten and disabled (more than most) body can handle a scythe any time now (but will require as usual caution over left knee tendon/ligament issues re: the twist). Might just have to get a "brace" of some sort.


 
Benjamin Bouchard
Posts: 236
14
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What you have there is a modern Seymour No.1 snath and one of their Austrian-sourced American pattern blades. The last American scythe blade manufacturer in the USA shut its doors in the late 60's, but Seymour Manufacturing (now Seymour Midwest Tools) has the blades made by Schröckenfux of Austria. They also used to commission blades through Redtenbacher (also of Austria) but that company went under in the 80's. The Austrian-made American pattern blades are somewhat lacking in form, but they do work. The No.1 snath is very overbuilt and while listed as a grass snath (some older ones even had it embossed in the wood) I consider it a heavy bush snath. Most of the wood needs to be taken off in the lower half of the snath, with an initial rapid taper along the first ≈12"± and then a smooth continuous taper from there to the butt end. The nib irons will need the bands resized after the shaving down if that's something you end up doing. Those blades run within the historic hardness range for whole-steel (unlaminated) American blades, but at the softer end of that scale.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1888
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
98
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Benjamin.

Is there a snath that would be easier and simpler for a beginner? Or a better scythe? I think part of the difficulty for me is that the shape of the snath creates so many variables. Maybe that's what you mean by overbuilt. The curves allow for so many options in what angle the blade crosses the ground. And there just does not seem to be a placement for the handles that balances everything in relation to everything else. It never feels like the blade is floating through its arc. There is angular load on my wrist to try to keep the blade moving parallel to the ground.

I don't mind buying another snath, or both a scythe and snath, but I don't have any idea what would be a good beginner's snath for light use, cutting grass, for a 64 year old woman in reasonably good condition. Even if I had one of everything, I still would not know where to start.

I ended up with this set because I went to the local hardware store, and had to pick something out of what they could order. No one there knew anything about it, and they still don't.

Thekla


 
Pia Jensen
Posts: 218
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
isn't it something that ought be custom built according to the user's build? like fitting the suit or bicycle?
 
30 seconds to difuse a loaf of bread ... here, use this tiny ad:
50 Chestnut Trees for 195.99 - Free Shipping - Interwoven Nursery
https://permies.com/t/99876/Chestnut-Trees-Free-Shipping-Interwoven
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!