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Scythes

Posted by Dave Strnad 
Scythes
August 06, 2013 07:40PM
I am looking for advice on purchasing a scythe for my orchard and farm in general. I suppose I shouldn't over think such a purchase. However I believe this may be one of those things that if I choose the right one it gets used all the time if not it gets hung in the barn to collect dust. I have read contradicting info online and I am no better off then when I started looking. If it matters I AM 6'3" 285 athletic build. Most of the use will be in the orchard possibly some small grains, etc. I was thinking a curved snath with a 26-30" ditch blade to start. Any opinions?
Re: Scythes
August 17, 2013 10:05AM
Hi Dave,

I would get a first scythe at

[www.earthtoolsbcs.com]

Inexpensive and a very good, durable snath in my opinion.

Brian Caldwell

Hemlock Grove Farm
Zone 5 in New York
Re: Scythes
August 21, 2013 10:35AM
I've been using the same straight handle wooden snath for about 30 years (knock on wood) for a variety of mowing: close work near the trees, bigger areas of mixed grasses and forbs, fence row clearing. It's not my only mowing tool, but in some situations, it's the best. I usually make my first clearing in Spring of the ground under the drip line with the the scythe, near the end of scab ascospore maturity, mulching with the cut material.

The setup you describe would be about as heavy as you can get. A curved snath is so much heavier than a straight snath, it would be much more likely to "get hung in the barn to collect dust". I like the straight wooden snath, but I would get a straight metal snath before I got a curved wooden one.

Ditch blades are quite heavy, as you swing them over a period of time. Grass blades are a bit long for my uses: I don't have long expanses of "amber waves of grain"and my orchard is on rocky ground. I prefer an intermediate length, and for closer cutting with less likelihood of slicing trees, I like a bit more curve than on a grass blade. For cutting bigger--but still skinny--saplings in the fencerow at ground level, I prefer loppers or clippers.

In recent years, I've bought my blades from Scythe Supply



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/20/2013 09:16PM by Ed Anthes.
Re: Scythes
August 26, 2013 09:16AM
Marugg makes some pretty nice ones. I just replaced mine with a Marugg, straight snath with a longer ditch blade. This is a serious blade, going through saplings with ease. For me it is really a raspberry cane blade, which is what I need most often, though it does ok with longer grasses and weeds. I had been using a curved- American styled snath and grass blade for years, and after repairing it a few dozen times (a stolen joke- I have had the same scythe- replaced the blade and later replaced the snath, but is occupied the same space), it was time for a new tool.

More important was my purchase of the sickle/scythe from the same folks- really a sickle that you can swing. This I am using a lot more, especially in getting things cleaned up beneath low limbed trees during borer checks. There is no substitute for being on your knees when you want to pay attention to what is happening down there. Thing never runs out of gas either, though the operator might.
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