Better reel mower, or switch to rotary?

I've been using a manual Craftsman 5-blade reel mower for years. It's OK for most of my mowing, but it has some shortcomings: Doesn't cut grass stalks.
Bad with long grass.
Bad with grass that spreads out in a circle rather than grows up.
I've searched a lot online, and I've read that 7-blade mowers are better (for all types of grass?), that reel mowers with no-contact blades are better (easier to push, and rarely need sharpening). I see a few 7-blade, and a few no-contact, but none that are both.
I also see an interesting looking cordless 5-blade reel from Sunlawn that's really light and apparently can be used as a manual too.
Should I expect these mowers to cut my long/difficult grass, stalks, etc?
In your experience, will a high-end manual or cordless mower seriously outperform a basic one?
There are a few cordless rotaries as well. Most are very heavy, and two that seem to get good reviews (black & decker & neuton) are pretty expensive. Would they do better with difficult grass?
I know a gas mower would, and I could get one for occasional use.
Thanks!
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I spent a year with various reel mowers, doing an acre. The chief difficulty was keeping them sharp enough to avoid them crapping out by skipping over grass, which is how they react to large resistance (rather than, as in the old days, by locking up the wheels); and also that some very fine-bladed grass that tended to survive cutting wound up taking over most of the lawn, by some evolutionary principle.
On the other hand they were more pleasant than the damn power mower.
A couple years ago I switched to a scythe for the whole lawn and am much happier than with either. It _does_ have to be a hobby for you, though.
Every day go out and cut a couple 10'-wide swaths across the lawn, and in a few days, the lawn is done and you can start over. I can keep an acre cut even in the spring when it's growing fast.
On the other hand, long grass is a breeze. Nothing stops a scythe. Even power mowers can't handle what a scythe does easily.
A scythe-mowed lawn, to my eye, looks nicer than the neighbor's super-tended golf course lawn that's cut and fed as his hobby, but it takes a year to learn the tricks of mowing neatly and uniformly.
The chief trick is an insanely-sharp scythe, for lawn grass cutting. Every 30 strokes I pause and re-hone the blade (takes a few seconds), and every hour or so repeen the blade (takes 5 minutes) so it takes a thin sharp edge. If you don't do that, the left side of your stroke won't take down all the grass as the blade clogs with partially cut grass from the right side of the stroke, unless the grass is really long, in which case the task is much easier. But you simply increase the work rate so that the few-seconds rest you get every 30 strokes is factored in, and everything works.
I get the scythe stuff from www.scythesupply.com
The ``kit'' runs you just under $200 but on the other hand it's a nice tool and turns lawn cutting into a pleasant walk outside the house. I'm quite happy with it.
(A straight snath with say the 32" grass blade, the large anvil, the cross-peen hammer, plastic stone-holder, smooth stone, would be what I would get from scratch for my huge lawn. Next perhaps [after the hobby is verified to be attractive] the 36" grass blade for cutting large smooth areas quickly, though the blade is too long and thin for tough work, and the 26" grass blade for close work or insanely difficult grass. They recommend the 26" blade first but the going is too slow with it for a large lawn. Their bent snath comes with a random variety of bend amounts, some of which are so steep as not to work with any blade [the bend puts the cutting edge closer to the ground, which can be too close and the blade becomes a shovel] so I'd probably avoid getting that first. The effect is worse on longer grass blades. A slight bend is ideal but I don't know that you can count on only a slight bend.)
(The ``jig'' for peening sounds attractive but is not. It dulls the blade, leaving you with a lot of work to get it back to a sharp edge. Peening with the hammer and anvil leaves the blade almost sharp already and ready to go, and also gives you the option to produce a really fine thin edge needed for lawn grass.)
--
Ron Hardin
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wrote:

This brought to mind the "Scary Sharp" thread from some time ago.
http://woodbutcher.net/scary.htm
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Ron Hardin wrote:

Incidentally you need a lawn sweeper too, to pick up the neat windrow you leave. I cut two swaths, one northwards leaving windrow on the west, and then back southwards overlapping the windrow on the east, and then sweep up the windrow and form a now-huge pile of compost in the back woods. If you don't have a place for grass clippings, this will be a problem.
For a scythe, historically, the windrow is the point. You eat it.
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Ron Hardin
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