I've seen several posts asking where to buy scythes and some answers, but it seems to me that the prices some of these places are asking is unconscionable! Scythe blades seem to cost no less than 50 to 100 USD, I have not seen whetstones for less than 12 $, rings for 9 USD and shipping seems to almost double the cost!
I've been living in Latvia (Eastern Europe) for the last 20 years, and no rebirth of scything is needed here, it is still common practice for but large farmers, and even they all have scythes in the barn as well.
Scythe blades here cost between 15 and 35 USD, whetstones 2 to 2.5 dollars. Most are not as nicely finished and painted as some of the "western" produced blades, but I think quality wise, they are fine. I am into about my fifteenth year on my current blade and I just recently refurbished my wife's childhood scythe for our youngest. It is probably getting close to 30 years old, so I figure quality is no problem.
I haven't looked into mail rates yet, but my question is, is there interest in buying these?
Not looking to turn this into a business per se, but if there is interest, I could look into the postal costs and maybe... possible through direct contact, maybe post them on e Bay.
For me to make a living importing and selling your $15-35 scythe blades I'd have to sell them for $30-$70 to cover my cost for the shipping container, storage, sales, distribution, and my cost of living - right about what Scythe Connection and gang sell imported austrian blades for (no US production of any quality that I am aware of). Its called retail markup. Such is life.
However, if you have some recommendations and contact info for local european manufacturers that would be willing to sell small lots direct, that would be very useful to some of us entrepenurial types who would be interested in manufacturing snaths and training the local populace to be more 'continental' in their mowing.
Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
@ Paul, as I wrote, I am not looking on doing this as a business. Just thought that maybe I could make this, in a small way, into a hobby that helps someone as well as making some “wild money” for me.
The prices I mentioned are RETAIL prices + 10% to cover my time, packaging... Buying from the wholesale distributor (a local company here), figure 30 to 40% lower COST price. Go direct to the manufacturer and you can likely knock off another 20 to 30%. (In my experience the manufacturer often ends up with (+/-) 30% of the retail price, but maybe that's just over here...
You can figure the math for yourself and decide if this is more interesting for you.
I can put together lists of some Eastern European (former soviet “union”) manufacturers for the blades and accessories for you, but if I’m going to do research for you to build a business, we then need to discuss remuneration. Any rate, that was not the purpose of this thread but if interested mail me…
@ Campy: Thanks for your interest & comments… If there is some more interest I will likely put some up on eBay at the prices I mentioned and see what happens. If enough are purchased for it to make sense, I will likely talk to wholesalers and may be able to offer even cheaper in future.
As I wrote, I haven't checked mail costs yet but will if there is interest. The sites quoting transatlantic shipping for blades the price seemed to be close to the (high) blade price, but buying other stuff on the net, I feel sure it must be possible to ship lower. I imagine, also, that postage will be better if ordering multiple blades/items, rather than just a single blade.
Again, if I see that interest, in principle, is there, i will check out shipping options.
One thing I cannot offer is snaths. To the best of my knowledge snaths are not manufactured commercially here. Most either make their own or buy them at farmers’/flea markets. I did see a couple in the store but they were absolute shit! (can I say that here?)
There are many, many different styles of snath. Just google "snath photo". Being well above average height I couldn’t find snaths at flea markets so had to learn to make my own based on the style most use here. If anyone needs/want’s to learn how, express interest and I will start a new thread with instructions and some photos on how you can make a personally sized snath in less than two hours.
Nice to hear your story about the scythes. One point I would make is that we are building global bridges. If a few blades make it around the world that is a proof that the interchange can become much richer.
We live in Nashville, Tennessee, USA www.permavations.com
shipping prices seem to depend on how quick you want to recieve the product, to vary enormsly. If you buy enough of anything i think the shipping cost would disappear when i have bought plants there has been a cost for the parcel and no added shipping cost for adding to that parcel, only they ask you if you want more andd say ther is no extra cost for buying more, and then they ask you if you wnt more they are more anxiouse to sell a greater number of trees than to raise the shipping price. Most sellers seem to reduce or have no shipping costs if the order is big. I had a friend in the art business who is from india and who bought quite large peices of art or decorative objects from India and the shipping was suprisingly cheap. If you get in contact with those who make the blades they should tell you about shipping. There seem to be a lot of chinese people selling chiness type scyths, weed slashers whole sale too, so there is plenty to buy if you are looking for wholesale tools. It goes a bit against the grain to buy chinese stuff at the moment when it would be better to give the work to amerians and europeans. My spanish scyth cost what you said scyths cost in america, so i too could start a business in cheap Latvian scyths in Spain maybe. When i was small my parents had a small uncomplicated scyth, that if my memory serves me was maybe more useful in a garden than a big scyth as it does not need to be swung in a wide arc maybe it is the long handle and the handles that are unchangeavbble of my scyth that obliges me to swing in in a large arc and as there is not much room to get up any speed if the arc is wide, it will be hard to cut things with my enormouse and expensive scyth on most of my paths which is were i wanted to cut things, so i was looking for a simpler one and it seems they are called sythetttes and i found some but the ones i have found so far dont ship to Spain. It seems there is an Indian who manufactures some who shop has shut down and say others deal in them but there are no addresses of others so i think he is a wholesaler who is looking for thoose who will buy his stuff, i keep his page when i look up scythettes, so if you are going into the scyth market you could sell sythettes as well as scyths. agri rose macaaskie.
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
@SPOCK - I think the tool business dream is probably down the road ... through it would ultimately makes sense to have a local agent do research... I have tried to do internet research on international tool manufacturers, but I have not been very effective.
@CAMPY - I have only used an Austrian blade on a straight snath (curve at bottom.) as seen at: http://www.scytheconnection.com/adp/retail/catalogueBlades.html They are very light weight, and the overall angle of attack has a very nice slicing action. The shape of the blade holds a stone nicely for field sharpening at a consistent angle. You can peen the edge to keep it thin which also aids in field sharpening. The curve of the blade makes the blade rest boat-like on the ground, so that the tip is high, the cutting edge facing slightly upward, so that under ideal conditions there is very little effort, the blade grabs nicely at stalks, and the tip avoids getting jammed while staying low to the ground. I have only used the american pattern blade once years ago as a landscaper, and don't have a basis for comparison. It would be useful to compare -- I have been using my scythe for around 3 seasons, but still feel relatively ignorant.
Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
I got on the web to check the Latvian Postal Service rates for shipping. This is provisional. There may be some rules that we must use a higher rate because it is something "sharp", is rather long compared to it's weight etc.
I will try to get to the post office in the next couple of days to get a definitive answer as to what rates would apply... Will also try to get to a store or two and take some photos/details of a few blades. I'll have to weigh a few blades too. No idea what they weigh...
I will repost then but to get people thinking in the interim, here are the prices as I could find them on the net. Clearly the price/unit of weight drops dramatically as the package size increases, so maybe canvass friends/neighbors to order as a group to keep shipping manageable...
Prices for the U.S. were easier as there is just one rate across the whole country. Prices for the EU are all over the place with no apparent logic, so i have taken the highest & lowest (excl. neighbor states) plus rates for Our Lady of Spain.
I made a nice Excel spreadsheet but in pasting it here it doesn't line up in perfect columns. Tried to compensate in the writing window, but in preview it is still off, so you'll have to line the figures up yourselves... Sorry.
Shipping Cost Europe (EUR) Class A Class B </= 2 kg. </= 10 kg. </= 20 kg. </= 2 kg. </= 10 kg. </= 20 kg. highest 32.83 65.38 106.05 29.64 54.96 86.62 lowest 20.37 39.65 44.60 19.22 37.46 43.62 Spain 25.87 60.10 102.87 24.23 51.86 86.41
Shipping Cost USA (USD) Class A Class B </= 2 kg. </= 10 kg. </= 20 kg. </= 2 kg. </= 10 kg. </= 20 kg. 55.74 127.26 218.02 33.29 89.92 160.76
I live in Costa Rica, and I'm definitely interested in getting a scythe blade for less than 75 dollars. I don't know how heavy the blade is, but if with shipping I'll still spend $75 or less, you can count on me buying it.
Writing from Madhuvan, a yoga retreat/organic farm on the West Coast of Costa Rica.
One place i bought trees from sends them by lorry, so they have the price the post office gives you for brining over parcels, it is not a normal shipping price you have to pay, you should look for the latvian manufactures and ask them how much it would cost to send them over to you, in a container maybe with a lot of other good other manufactures are sending over, you should not look up the shipping prices yourself. It maybe they are not new to sending stuff but you are, so they just know so much more about it. Ring them up and ask. agri rose macaskie.
Does that retailer have an account here, I am sure they would love to expand into this market perhaps you can get some points on the deal since you will have to be there to negotiate with the supplier... and place future orders... Why build your own supply chain when I am sure if your product is comparable to theirs Sytheconnection would love to offer a lower cost alternative; I am sure Latvia can beat Austria's price point.
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
Scythes are the latest fad here. Most of the suppliers in the US have been out of the Austrian tools for months...supply/demand.
The peoples of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Kaliningrad are hard working, honest people with centuries of culture behind them. I would gladly support products from that region.
(I had a bit of a "to do" with the Chief Mate of a Riga based fisheries research vessel that I was assigned to. I asked why a Riga vessel flew the Soviet flag, when Riga was NOT a part of the Soviet Union. Everybody cheered (including the Captain), except the Chief Mate who glared at me...and everybody else in the room! From that date onward, I was a long-lost brother to everybody aboard except the CM, who for 'whatever reason' didn't like me...LOL The Captain actually paid me a part of my fees in gold Rubels, saying "Here is a souvineer from the Russia that we both love equally!)
Soviet vessels, sports or cultural troops always had at least one political officer on board to keep an eye their "own" citizens and any foreigners they came in contact with. Not surprised that he didn't like you (LOL) or that others had to ignore you after your "reactionary bourgeois" comment DD
I am assuming that the gold roubles were Tsarist era?
When we were getting married, we couldn't find any rings with "decent" gold. They were still all this red 14k soviet gold/copper alloy (yuk).
Solution? Melted down some Tsarist roubles to make an 18 K gold that was western in appearance. Hated to destroy a piece of history, but wanted non ugly rings!
As with some of the other latest comments, please remember that it is not my intention to develop supply chains or any other type of "business" from this, not was it my goal to place myself as middleman. Just felt that the prices being paid over there were too high and wanted to see if there was interest and if a savings could be realized.
Still on provisional pricing (wild pigs wiped out about half of our potatoes in ONE NIGHT, so scrambling to save what is still left), but it looks like it is possible to help some who are interested get blades and accessories for less than they are paying now. If I can do that in a minimal amount of spare time without loosing money myself, that is the extent of my ambitions on this
Will finalize pricing and get product info a.s.a.p. after gathering our spilt milk (potatoes)
Why shouldnt you be a middle man, whats wrong with that, handy for latvia and handy for europeans or americans or what ever. If there aren't people around who spread ideas and even products, people become insular and slowly they have less and less products and less and less ideas. When you are getting lots of ideas from outside you are more likely to think of new ones your self you have more things to work on, to brign to gether. In the case of scyths the price is totally unfair and it would be goood to reduce it a bit.
I don't see that making comments about a flag on a ship is racist, it is normally a way of asking what games the ships owners are playing, the reaction might have been racist. There is a problem about not being racist if it becomes something that stops you having positive criticism of a country, if we dont question the tyranical use made of religion by some islamists, we encourage tyrany for example. Morality is always the tyrant's right hand man, tyrants look for some weak moment in their bretheren and then say, "look i have to take over your life for you, you fell down there" and it take a agile determined person to anwser, "yes but we are both human, it is not as if you have never made a mistake" i will not subject myself to your domination, thank you very much. Tyrants thrive in countries whose populations have a basic insecurity, who say we need a strong hand, instead of saying the people on mass are capable of chosing a good road and if they make a mistake on the way they are capable of straightening themselves out just as capable on mass or more so than any one group or man history has shown how wrong one group or man an go. What most helps racism to exist is not so much the propogation of stories of the faults of other nations as making sure its good points are unknown. You only tell people my faults and not my good points i start to look very silly and also though what you say might be true you are painting a picture that is deceitfull. You tell my faults and my strengths and you are not an enabler or a blackener you are an honest and useful person. The latvian blade looks a bit different from other blades and i like the look of it. If you kook up a product on google and go through all the different articles on that thing that google gives you as a reply to your search, you do start to come across wholesalers from many lands. I have not found a latvian scyth for sale but yes austrian ones, just as expensive as Spanish or American ones though. agri rose macaskie
As to why I shouldn't be the middleman, nothing to do with philosophy, global trade or isolationism. I just don't want to spend that much time on it! The idea was to help, primarily a small group on this site etc.
If it turns out that interest is soooo huge that I am making more at it than in my real life job, well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it
As to John's story, I am not sure where you got the feeling anyone was considering anything in it racist... Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was not big on freedom, including freedom of speech, and certainly was NOT supportive of anyone pointing out that the annexation of Latvia was illegal and that Latvia, de jure, was a sovereign state.
That's all there was to the cold shoulder John got, nothing remotely racist and, after pointing out the political realities, John would have gotten the cold shoulder whether he had been white, black, yellow, red or purple!
Perhaps you misread something? Have a nice day!
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
The Chief Mate, indeed was the "political officer' aboard the vessel. He was the only one who gave me the cold shoulder. Everybody else treated me like their favorite uncle (when he wasn't around).
The gold coins I received were the 'modern' ones. except for one "Nicolas II". Most Soviet ships carried some gold rubles, as not everywhere they traveled were the paper rubles accepted at favorable rates. Even though both coins were the same weight/purity, when I finally did sell them, I got substantially more for the "Nicolas" than the others! It was truly a beautiful coin that did indeed carry a lot of history with it.
Maybe i wisrtead somethign i am begining to feel really confused. I have been trying to find perrenial wheat seed and it seem impossible or any other perenail grain seed and then it seems there is russian perenial wheat i may be wrong though can you get lattavian perenial wheat seed? We will force you into beign a middle man. THhis thread has made me think the same think tha tyou thought, i started to think that that price I could sell latvian scyth blades here in spain which lead to me thinking that i did not want to spend my whole time selling things. maybe it does not take long to buy a lot of scyths and then sell them to garden centers if you dont want to spend too much time on selling them. Suppose that adds to the middle men involved and the end price. Ccould be a job for al lot of different people a person in every state. i was brought up on stories of how bad the soviet union was, I met the occasional Polish person in London who talked woefully of how many hours you had to spend queuing for food and such in th esoviet union and my mother was big on readign Solvhenitsken and talking about the soviet union and about faschist Spain for that matter, my parent generation lived in fear that communist totalitarianism might spread to them on one side and faschist totalitarianism on the other, it made htem carefull about mind washing somthing people seem to be very unwary about now, they seem to swallow what polititians say. The second world war did for faschism but communism was still a threat in my childhood, now it seem like a bit bigger doses of communist ideas would be no bad thing, we seem to have gone too far to the other side and to have forgoten marxes warning about the manipulations of the materialists and the religions, both the private sector and the religiouse can get carried away and do things they should not get carried away with as can everyone else in life. My childhood was full of stories about how awfull it was to be sent to Siberia as a punishment or killed and such if you did not agree with the state. Not to be able to talk to your own children about politics becasause the servants of the state would try to get the children to talk about their parents politics in school as a way of catching parents who did not believe in communist state, must have been awfull and it must have been awfull to be scared of your own children getting you into trouble and even worse not to dare to bring them up right, as you saw it, because they might split on you. Also I read a lot of russian novels from Gorky to Tolstoy, Chekov, Dostoyevsky and such and reading about people of another country makes one feel sisterhood with the people of that country, so though i learnt to dread the soviet union and totalitarianism I also learnt to like russians. I used to read books about foriegn countries because i had been told that to do so was a safe guard against becoming prejudiced and now i hear people laughing at novels and i think that to do so is not good for our mutual understandign in the world. I did not want to be a racist, I am learning to be one now or at least, that everywhere you find people you should be careful of so dont let your desire not to be a racist let you put down your guard totally. agri rose macaskie.
I would love to find a scythe that was cheaper BUT..not only is the postage to be considered but also import duties...sometimes those can be almost as much as the item itself. though possibly not for something that isn't manufactured here. Something to check out. anyway I found something that ..in case anyone doubted, which is unlikely..proves that scythes are used by a fair number of people in Latvia..
Still not sure this will come to anything, but thanks all for making what is turning into a fun thread!
Another night spent guarding the last of my potatoes. Chased off 3 groups, or maybe one persistent group, but fog kept me from extracting my pound of flesh for what they had already consumed
Back to "business"... Excellent point Pam! I don't know how it will work in the States, but I used to buy a lot on the internet to get items that weren't available here. Up to a certain value, I believe it was about 200 USD equivalent, they didn't bother with duty, but over that, you had to pay (OH how you had to pay!). Post was easier, you could pay at the post office, with courier companies t meant a full day running around with paperwork. Again, this is in Latvia, not necessarily true for the states! Perhaps someone is willing to call the post office or customs at that end? Would hate to have someone getting a warm fuzzy feeling over the "great deal" hem made on some new scythe blades then get hit with duty when they go to pick them up...
Within the EU, of course, it would travel without duty or VAT (sales tax).
B.T.W. Rose, these are not necessarily Latvian blades, as in manufactured here. Most will be from somewhere in the FSU (former Soviet union), but not necessarily Latvia.
I forgot to thank you for the video! ( I am very tired, feeling kinda punch drunk)
I was not aware of this contest, though it doesn't surprise me that it exists.
Must say I didn't think much of the style of most competitors. Seemed kinda heavy on brawn. I guess that is the thing to do if you only have a very limited time to cut as much as possible, but I much prefer the fluid grace of the long distance "scyther"
O.K. this is going to be a long one but I've made some decisions and being specific requires verbosity . If you read through all of this, this means you clearly are very motivated to buy!
You can jump to the Summary at the end, but that will not give you an understanding of why things are as they are...
They can be shipped by post, with careful packaging. More on postal issues later.
Let's start with product info. There is a large number of different blades lengths, beard widths & degrees of finishing out there, from different manufacturers and countries, but all that I saw are manufactured to (soviet era) GOST standards, which should ensure quality. The quality of finishing (appearance) however is less consistent between manufacturers. (note: lengths etc. are approximate)
The store has a wide selection, but only a few of each specific item (eg. 4 60 cm wide beard blades but from 3 manufacturers).
The pricing is all over the place with no apparent logic, probably due to currency exchange fluctuations between the time one blade party and the next was ordered. (Ukraine, Russia and Belarus are not famous for the stability of their currencies.)
From a supply side, this makes it a bit risky for me. If I offer a specific manufacturers specific blade, it may no longer be available and, if I special order, in addition to a time lag, it may have a completely different cost (to me) price.
What I can do, then, is to offer three different length blades, (approximately) 90, 60 and 40 cm long with wider or narrower beards. I will do my best to find you the best blade I can within those parameters but I can't promise it will be from a specific manufacturer.
For the above reasons, I do not want to do this on eBay at this time. Offering only a single blade would make no sense and It would take you guys forever to be successful at buying one, or, if I buy a ready stock so that I can list several, risk ending up with enough blades to last me ten lifetimes.
I will probably make some SINGLE listings on eBay and see what happens, and may build up a stock if it goes well, but as far as the interest from this thread, I would suggest you tell me what you want and I will go out and buy it for you. Payment can be via PayPal.
I have in the past used PayPal only as a buyer, never as a seller. I checked the site to determine the costs to me but it is not very user friendly. Mostly links to more links. I am hoping that the small margins I have put onto the cost price of product and postage will cover me. If not, as they say in Latvia "It costs money to become educated"!
I was hoping you would be covered under PayPal's buyer protection, but it looks like that only works on eBay. Long and short of it, either you will have to trust me or not...
On postal issues, as I wrote at the beginning, it is a go, but under a different rate plan which, surprise, surprise, seems to actually be a bit cheaper for most.
Unfortunately, it is only in Latvian... For "Sūtijumu vieds" choose Paka, "Reģions" choose Ārvalstis (foreign) then choose your country from the menu in the following window. Most are easy but USA is "ASV". If you can't find yours, ask... For "Klase" choose A or B, but for most areas it will automatically change it to "A". Apdrošināšana = insurance. If you want to insure it, ceck the bock and fill in the insurance amount in LATS
All prices you see will be in Lats! For all The dollar exchange rate today was 1.97 USD = 1 Lat (LVL), last week 2.03:1. To be safe, (for me) I am asking that you use the 2.03 for all postage price calculations To the price provided by the calculator, add VAT (sales tax) of 21% then a 10% margin to cover my costs then the exchange rate (2.03).
For exchange rates in other currencies, google LVL(space)your currency code(eg. EUR, GBP etc.). I reserve the right to suggest a different rate to guard against fluctuations.
For any blade figure 800g. (minimum 1 Kg.) If ordering several, for each additional blade, add 600g. For any stone figure 150 g. (didn't actually weigh one, just a guess) for any peening anvil, figure 800 g. (There is a "safety" margin here, but if I find I have been overcautious I will just toss in an extra stone, ring or something to make up for it.)
As an example, to ship one blade, uninsured, to the USA would cost 38.48 USD, insured 40.48
Remember, the price per gram/ounce for shipping drops dramatically as the weight increases, so make sure you order all you need right away. You will overpay on shipping if you order a blade today then an anvil next week...
Shipping three blades(2 kg.) would cost 55.75 or 58.77, less than 1/2 price per blade!
Offering three blade lenghts 90, 60 and 40 cm long (1 cm = 2.54 inches), the 60 and with a wide or narrow blade. If you want a 90 with a wide blade, ask and I think I can find it for you. prices: 90 cm 22.98 USD 60 cm 23.28 USD (specify wide or narrow) 40cm 19.21 USD
Also offering the following accessories: honing stones: 1.99 USD Peening anvil (flat of "triangle") 8.50 USD rings 6.75 USD (I don't use them. seems to me you'd need two (?))