Scythe Workshop: How to Mow with a Scythe

Discussion in 'Education & Learning' started by Joe Riley, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    I have a scythe that was given to me by an old neighbor lady about 20 years ago. I have cut some tall grass with it, on a small scale, but found that using it correctly was an art. Have you ever used a scythe?
    28968253-old-farmer-with-beard-preparing-his-scythe-before-using-to-mow-the-grass-traditionally.jpg

     
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  2. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I remember my folks having a big sythe when I was little, and I watched when my dad would use it to cut down the tall grass and weeds in the alley behind our house. Since I was little; I was not allowed to even touch the sythe, and it was very sharp, kept sharpened by my father.
    If I remember right, he kind of held it to his side and then swiped it forwards, chopping down the grass and weeds.
    many years later, I had one that worked similar, but was not a sythe. It had a handle and then kind of a wavy blade on the bottom, and you just swung it into the weeds, and it chopped them down. I don't know if they even make such things any more.
    My folks also had a smaller one, called a sickle, and it was kind of a circular curved blade ; but with a short handle. You could cut weeds with it, too; but you had to be a lot closer, and it did not cut a lot at one time.
     
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  3. Edwin Clarke

    Edwin Clarke New Member
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    Unfortunately I have never held a scythe in my hands, but I well remember first using a sickle. I was shocked that it was not as simple as it looked. There is a definite learning curve. Cutting the tough grass in the African bushveld is hard work and for a smallish section the sickle works for me.

    A scythe somehow looks like a superior tool to a sickle for working faster and standing while working. Bending low or kneeling to cut grass is not clever. I feel age creeping up on me. A scythe looks more sensible.

    I will try to get one of these and learn to use it.
    Perhaps it will work on the tough grass I have? I hope so.
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Yes, I use some on my land, where I have a camp. I have a hundred acres of land that includes small clearings in the woods that I want to keep clear, since these are the places I usually place my wildlife cameras. So I use a scythe and a machete to cut down the weeds and saplings that threaten to fill it in.

    By the way, @Edwin Clarke - welcome to the forum.
     
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  5. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Welcome Edwin to the forum!
     
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  6. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    Ha, this was a curious thread.

    Never got the hang of using the scythe. Always worried that I'd cut my own foot off.

    Here's a picture of my sickles, the top two I actually bought for use, the bottom two I dug out of ruins in an abandoned Spanish village I lived in off an on for about six years. Then there's the green electric thing I use to cut my very small patch of grass (it's looking pretty dry, we've been in a hot drought for a couple of months now). Even the electric thing (is it called a weed whacker or something like that?) makes my lower back hurt if I use it for too long.... and the sickles are merely decoration for my work-shop wall.
     

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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I have a sickle too, but it made me feel like a communist. Actually, I could use the machete to use the things that I would use a sickle for and I have a nice belt holster for my machete. The scythe allowed me to work without all of the bending.
     
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  8. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    I found two paintings online, of a man and a woman both holding a scythe.
    The field hand with Scythe, was painted by John George Brown, in 1909.
    Field hand with scythe by John George Brown - 1909.jpg
    Peasant Girl was painted byHenry Bacon in 1883.
    Peasant Girl by Henry Bacon-1883.jpg
     
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  9. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    I liked your pictures, Jorge! Here is a video of a Scythe competing with a Weed-wacker. Guess which one wins?;)
     
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  10. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    There have been a few times that it would have come in handy. Unfortunately, if I tried it I would either cut off my leg or kill someone. I can't be trusted around sharp objects.
     
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  11. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Actually I think more people are cut sharpening a scythe!
     
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  12. Avigail David

    Avigail David Well-Known Member
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    Surprisingly, I had been looking around for a scythe to cut china bushes on our acreage. They're rampant in our area. And are fire hazard in summer.
     
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  13. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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