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gardening-girl



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 6024
Location: Somerset.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 13 8:19 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

Head to head, the sythe wins.
We watched a trial at the Green Fair/Scything Festival .

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 13 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Such a lovely swishing noise, no fuel required, great excercise. What's not to love?

crofter



Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 2252

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 13 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Penny Outskirts wrote:
Such a lovely swishing noise, no fuel required, great excercise. What's not to love?


repetitive strain injuries

robkb



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 4205
Location: SE London
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 13 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Penny Outskirts wrote:
Such a lovely swishing noise, no fuel required, great excercise. What's not to love?


That's why I want one too. I really hate my petrol strimmer

gil
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 18379

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 13 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Unlike Finsky, I find a scythe easy to use in a tight space, including round trees.

For a 'lawn finish', an Oriental blade is good, whereas the Austrian blade leaves the grass slightly higher on the left side of your swath (i.e. the area of grass you are cutting).

I can scythe faster than I can strim.
If I take clearing up into account the scythe wins by even more.

There are videos on YouTube of various scythe vs strimmer competitions at the West Country Scythe Festival.

Treacodactyl
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 13 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I haven't used mine that much yet but I like the quietness of the scythe and the fact it doesn't require petrol or produce loads of fumes.

Also, you can't have as much fun calling on your elderly neighbours in wearing a cloak and holding a strimmer, can you?

Cathryn



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 19830
Location: Ceredigion
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 13 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Gil is a good teacher, I still haven't got one though. I would recommend guinea fowl, they are very good at keeping your lawn short.

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15331
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 13 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

How hard is it to achieve the required technique... and the required edge on the blade?
I instinctively feel that old ones are more likely to be of a proper quality... or are they more likely to have gone too rusty?

robkb



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 4205
Location: SE London
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 13 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Cathryn wrote:
I would recommend guinea fowl, they are very good at keeping your lawn short.


But harder to attach to a snath, I imagine?

HL - the Austrian scythe I tied last year was very light and very sharp, and Simon Fairlie showed it was reasonably easy to keep a good edge on the blade. Conversely, I saw an 'old' one at a woodfair last year - it weighed a ton, would've knackered my back in minutes, and looked like it'd take an age to sharpen.

Finsky



Joined: 10 Sep 2011
Posts: 847
Location: Notts.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 13 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Old and new both will get rusty if not looked after properly.
I've got set of new blades that need 'doing up' before they work properly but I loooove to use my old blade on the new shaft. The new shaft is much lighter and has adjustable handles so it 'fits' to my measuments. My old scythe was wooden..it was heavy and huge to use, though I do admit I do like the feel of wood more than metal and the old blades look like they've made of cheaper and lighter metal but they are so easy to maintain and work well.
I suspect quality has always varied..being old or new doesn't changed it...'How hard' is another matter. It helps if you can actually see first from experienced scyther how things are done...after that is matter of practice. Basic cutting tecnique is not that hard at all..it just one of those things..all of the sudden 'penny drops' and you do it just right..

Finsky



Joined: 10 Sep 2011
Posts: 847
Location: Notts.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 13 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Finsky wrote:
Old and new both will get rusty if not looked after properly.
I've got set of new blades that need 'doing up' before they work properly but I loooove to use my old blade on the new shaft. The new shaft is much lighter and has adjustable handles so it 'fits' to my measuments. My old scythe was wooden..it was heavy and huge to use, though I do admit I do like the feel of wood more than metal and the old blades look like they've made of cheaper and lighter metal but they are so easy to maintain and work well.
I suspect quality has always varied..being old or new doesn't changed it...'How hard' is another matter. It helps if you can actually see first from experienced scyther how things are done...after that is matter of practice. Basic cutting tecnique is not that hard at all..it just one of those things..all of the sudden 'penny drops' and you do it just right..

Thinking of what I just wrote...I think I know now why I struggled to use my scythe in tight places...it was the old shaft! You just couldn't get it into cutting angle..it wouldn't fit. It was a beauty in open field situation..could reach half a field on one swing

vegplot



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 21298
Location: Ynys Môn
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 13 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hairyloon wrote:
How hard is it to achieve the required technique... and the required edge on the blade?
I instinctively feel that old ones are more likely to be of a proper quality... or are they more likely to have gone too rusty?


Modern (Austrian) scythes are better than traditional IMHO. Better quality steel, much lighter and easier to handle.

The edge is easy to achieve if you know how.

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15331
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 13 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

gardening-girl wrote:
Head to head, the sythe wins.

Does that not depend upon what you're cutting?
What're they like on brambles?

robkb wrote:
I saw an 'old' one at a woodfair last year - it weighed a ton, would've knackered my back in minutes, and looked like it'd take an age to sharpen.

But also an age to lose its edge? Or no.

vegplot



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 21298
Location: Ynys Môn
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 13 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hairyloon wrote:
gardening-girl wrote:
Head to head, the sythe wins.

Does that not depend upon what you're cutting?
What're they like on brambles?

robkb wrote:
I saw an 'old' one at a woodfair last year - it weighed a ton, would've knackered my back in minutes, and looked like it'd take an age to sharpen.

But also an age to lose its edge? Or no.


With a ditching (short, more robust) blade brambles don't stand a chance and you don't get bramble spikes flying everywhere.

They needed sharpening more often but that was due to the quality of the then available steel.

Do some research at http://www.thescytheshop.co.uk/

gil
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 18379

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 13 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

vegplot wrote:
Do some research at http://www.thescytheshop.co.uk/


Yes, have a look on the Scythe Shop website, which has a LOT of info.

Different blades for different tasks.

Ditch blade / bush blade = great on brambles, stands of rosebay willow herb, bracken, and I've even mown reeds in a bog partially underwater (also there are current experiments with reed-cutting in Norfolk wetlands).

Basically, if you are going to cut tough stuff, don't peen the blade as much, and don't hone it to razor sharp (though that kind of fine edge is great for cutting meadow hay). Also, hone it with a medium coarse/fine stone, rather than the mega-smooth. Sometimes I even use the coarse stone to sharpen before tackling scrub, which seems to give my blade an almost serrated edge, and I can feel it rip through the stems.

The sharper the edge, the more often it will need sharpening.

Anyway, the pause to hone is a good break ! But only takes a couple of minutes, if that.

Robkb : the old English scythe blades are made from a flattish sandwich of metal, and are sharpened equally on both sides. Heavy, because of the weight/volume of metal involved.

Really different from the Austrian steel blades which are lighter, thinner, curved and sprung/tensioned along their length/width/depth, and you cold-forge (peen) them as a more occasional part of keeping them sharp.

Part of the year's cycle is getting my scythe out and getting all the rust off the blade before peening and honing. There are arguments in scything circles about whether you can ever really keep your blade rust-free over winter, and whether the rust forms a protective layer that is a good thing.

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