I want to buy a scythe, but I don’t know how to use one, what should I do?
Good question. Scything is a skill which needs to be learned and practiced. To help you, all of the scythe kits we sell come with a booklet called Notes on the Use of the Austrian Scythe to get you started. Even better than that is to go on a course (Mine are here. If you don’t live in South East England, there’s a list of courses here).
We’re working on a video instruction series to help people get up and mowing (watch this space), but until then we’ve tried to collect together the best of the advice that the Internet has to offer. Have a look at the sites below:
What’s the difference between your products and products I see advertised as Turk scythes or bramble scythes?
The difference is that you can mow with our scythes not just hack. A scythe, used well, looks like this. Don’t be fooled by Poldark’s antics – scything should be smooth, pleasurable and you should be able to keep at it for a couple of hours (if not more!)
The products advertised as Turk scythes or bramble scythes can be used to bash at undergrowth for ten minutes but they are horrible to try to mow properly with. There are various reasons for this, but the main one is that the blade is attached to the snath at the wrong angle for easy mowing.
It depends what you want. If you just want to bash at some nettles in the corner of the garden then a bramble scythe will suit you, but if you have a meadow or a larger area to mow then it’s worth investing in some proper kit…
What’s a snath?
A snath is the handle of the scythe. The word comes from the old English word ‘snead’ meaning ‘to take the side branches off a tree.’ That’s what a snath originally was, a branch from a tree. These days a bit more work goes into the ergonomics.
Which blade is best for me?
All of our blades are perfectly capable of cutting your lawn (so long as they are sharp enough), so you don’t have to choose one blade for rougher stuff and another for nice grass.
If you’ve got a mixture of things to mow (e.g. tussocks in one area, flat succulent grass in another) choose a ditch blade. Because of the strengthened tip and the curved belly it’s less likely to get damaged if you hit unseen stones or other detritus.
Because the metal of a scythe blade is soft (that’s what allows it to become so sharp), as you sharpen you take metal away from the edge of the blade. Eventually (after 5 hours+ of mowing) you have a blade which is quite thick at the edge and won’t stay sharp. Peening means squashing the metal until it’s thin again so that it stays sharp when you sharpen it. You use a peening jig for this. Here’s a demonstration of how it’s done.