If you need help choosing a scythe you can:
- Book on to a scythe course or a fitting and advice session
- Have a look our our Scythe Buyer’s Guide.
It might help to take a look at our most popular scythe sets:
- One Blade Scythe Set for Grass, Weeds and Rougher Mowing
- Two Blade Scythe Set – Smallholdings, Nature Reserves, Extensive Gardens
- Rough Mowing Scythe Set
You are also welcome to get in touch and we can go through the options with you
The best way to learn to scythe is to go on a scythe course.
- We run courses May – August at Dyfed Permaculture Farm in West Wales.
- You can look at the Scythe Association Courses Page for tutors near you.
You can also:
- Read the book “Learn to Scythe”. It is a clear, comprehensive guide to using the scythe.
- Explore our Scything Guides
- Watch videos on YouTube. But take care, not all scything videos show good technique! Have a look at the links on our Quick Set Up Guide for videos and channels we recommend.
- Join the Scythe Association Facebook page. It’s a great place to ask questions and share your experiences.
We are often asked to supply parts for old scythes.
Sometimes the parts we stock are a good fit, often they will require some “bodging” to make them work. The ease of fit will depend on what you have and what you need.
Do you have an Anglo-American scythe or an Austrian type scythe?
There are two major types of scythe:
Scythes with “Austrian” or Tensioned blades.
This is the kind of scythe we stock. The snaths tend to be straighter and lighter then the Anglo-American type. The blades are made from relatively soft metal. The shape and strength of the blade coming from the the tension that is hammered into the bade during forging. The blade edge is maintained by peening.
Tensioned blades are the common pattern in most of Europe. Old ones are sometimes found in the UK. They were often imported as “Turk” scythes, with wooden or metal snaths,
Scythes with “Anglo-American” or Grinding blades
When most British people or Americans think of a scythe, this is the type they imagine. The snaths tend to be heavier and strongly curved. The blades are made from harder metal (either forged or stamped) and the blade edge is maintained by grinding.
Grinding blades are traditionally found in places such as the UK, the US and Sweden.
If you are not sure what you have, send us some photos.
Will your blades fit my snath?
If you have a wooden or metal Austrian type snath..
It is likely our blades will fit relatively easily (though it is not guaranteed). Have a look at the clamps we stock to see if your attachment system is similar. Note that, even if the blade fits, the blade angles may need adjusting to get the blade to mow well. (see below)
If you have an Anglo-American style snath..
You may manage to use one of our blades but it is likely to need more work to get a fit. Common problems include the clamp being too narrow (so you need to file the blade tang) or the blade angles being badly matched to the snath.
A note on blade angles.
- The scythe blade must meet the vegetation with in a slicing action for it to mow well. Some of this is dictated by the scythers technique, but it is also set by the way the blade interacts with the snath.
- There are three major angles to consider – the tilt (or neigung), the hafting angle and the lay of the blade.
- The blades we supply are set to work with the snaths we supply. If you are fitting a blade to another kind of snath you will need to read about blade angles and make adjustments to the set up as necessary to get the complete scythe to mow well.
MORE COMING INCLUDING:
Will your snath fit my blade?
Can I get spare parts for my snath?
Is it worth restoring my scythe?
Left handed people can use a standard scythe and do not need a special scythe.
Scythe are not considered to be a handed tool. Unlike with tools such as scissors, left and right handed people are able to use the same equipment with comfort.
Blades get called “right handed” and “left handed” but the names are referring to the direction in which the blades mow, not to the kind of people they are meant for.
Still in doubt? The current (and longstanding!) British Women’s Scythe Champion, Andi Rickard, is left handed. She mows with a standard scythe, and even thinks that they are somewhat easier for lefties to pick up then righties.
So called “left handed” blades do exist…
…but they were probably meant for left handed jobs not left handed people.
This make the name “left-handed” scythe blade rather misleading.
Have a look at this excellent pair of articles on the Scythe Association website by Richard Brown. He explores the history of left handed blades and the jobs that they were needed for, and proposes we switch to calling blades “anti-clockwise” and “clockwise” to remove the confusion.
The benefits of using a standard scythe
The major benefit of using a standard scythe is that you will have a much greater choice of scythe blades available to you. Only one or two patterns of “left handed” or clockwise blades are made by the manufacturers. Not least because it’s quite hard for the blacksmiths to make a blade backwards!
The other benefit is that it is much easier to mow with a team of people if you are all moving your scythe in the same direction.
The case for a left handed blade
Some people enjoy the challenge of trying to “mow the other way”. Every so often, some left handed scythes will show up at a scythe festival and people will have fun playing with them.
There are also some left handed jobs, for which they are useful. See this article for an explanation of why the left handed or clockwise blade is useful when cutting the sides of drainage ditches in the Fens.