Scythed Lawn

Page 1 of 2  
It's an exercise opportunity, or a take-a-break opportunity, and to me it looks cool, you can mow your lawn with a European scythe (do a couple of swaths a day) and it's not boring, each cut taking some precise control.
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/scythedlawn01.jpg
(the foreground is a drainage ditch, with sculpted longer grass marking the dog's do-not-cross-without-permission line)
pictorial overkill :
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/windrow01.jpg
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/windrow02.jpg
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/windrow03.jpg
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/windrow04.jpg
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/windrow05.jpg
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/windrow06.jpg
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/windrow07.jpg
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/windrow08.jpg
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/windrow09.jpg
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/windrow10.jpg
http://home.att.net/~rhhardin/windrow11.jpg
I got the scythe at http://www.scythesupply.com a ``European'' style made of softer metal that you can keep razor sharp, which is necessary for lawn grass.
Normally you get rid of the windrow after you've done the day's cutting with a leaf sweeper and a few trips to the back fence to add to the enormous haystack (how big will it get?).
In the spring I have to start over at the front before I get done in the back, but you can't stall a scythe with long grass so it doesn't matter much.
It's not hard work and is a pleasant way to spend an hour.
--
Ron Hardin
snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ron Hardin wrote:

To each his own. That would never suffice for the fairways I spend my spare time on.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ron Hardin wrote:

I just spent a fair portion of the last week doing the weeds out from under the cedars and around the feedlot fences...not <exactly> what I'd call a "fun" way to spend an hour, but faster and less mess a than string trimmer. As for the yard, "thanks, but no thanks". :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I used to use one of those in the Army when a lawnmower wasn't available, or the hillside was too steep. I agree with Ron, it's strangly satisfying. Especially when the grass is long.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I have two scythes that were my grandfathers. One was store bought and one he made. I'm also privelaged to have one of his small and very worn sharpening stones as well as the little iron block and hammer he used for 'setting' the blade when he would field dress them. I prefer just looking at them as opposed to attempting to use them. LOL
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Probably you had an American scythe, which is pretty hard to use on anything but long grass or weeds. The European style uses extreme sharpness, so a lot of your cuts are extremely satisying.
The thing you work for, and adjust your stoke constantly for, is the perfect stand of grass, where you touch the next eight inches of a ten-foot-wide swath and the grass falls over and is swept into a neat pile on your left.
If the grass sticks to the cutting edge of the blade, it needs re-peening. If some grass simply bends out of the way, it needs only a light going-over with a whetstone.
The going-over happens every couple of minutes, and you pace the work to take that rest period into account.
The American scythe blade is high-carbon steel and doesn't sharpen with hand tools as far as I know, and doesn't re-peen at all.
Peening (hammering the cutting side of the edge to make it very thin again, where the whetstone has finally worn the cutting edge back into thick metal) you have to do every couple of hours, with lawn grass.
It's not a pleasure for everybody, but somebody might like to try it and find they like it.
I really hated the power mower noise and pointless lost two hours of the day, and it was always a bear in long grass when I let it go too long a time. Hand push-mowers were a nice break from that but took yet another hour, wound up boring though not repulsive, and you still needed the power mower for too-long grass.
The scythe does it all, but if you don't like the feeling of it, it really isn't for you. If you like it, it beats TV.
--
Ron Hardin
snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Two words: "Lawn tractor"
As far as exercise, there are far better things to do to work up a sweat.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

As your next step in turning back the wheels of progress, try doing your laundry on an old washerboard... much more satisfying than putting it all in those nice new sexy front-loaders :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

now you know that's not all there is to it. working with a finely tuned hand tool can be rewarding.
Sure, I'd have fun with a CNC 3D router, but there is something satisfying about plaining/sawing/etc wood by hand.
Personally, I'd enjoy the lack of noise more than anything else. I sometimes use my reel mower when it's too early for me to be disturbing my neighbors. (before 9am in my book)
I sometimes wish my neighbors and their guests (honking horns) were as considerate.
*Those* are the times i wish i had a nicely tuned scythe. ;)
--
be safe.
flip
Ich habe keine Ahnung was das bedeutet, oder vielleicht doch?
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Wow, that is quite an area you scythe! How long does it take total for how much area? Also I'm amazed how short and even you cut. I've used one of the european scythes before and I didn't end up with that. I'm pretty sure the blade needed to be tuned up alot better to get your results.
Ian
Ron Hardin Wrote:

--
IndyIan


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
IndyIan wrote:

It's about an acre. The rule is said to be a man can cut an acre a day. I guess a day is 10 hours or so, I don't know.
I just go out and do a couple swaths when I need a break from something, and over the course of many days, the whole thing is done and I start over, if there's been enough growth.
The cut is sort of automatic - the cutting edge is just off the ground when the body of the blade rests on the ground. You get unevenness left-to-right if it's not sharp enough, or needs peening (edge is sharp but not thin enough). It needs sharpening every couple of minutes, peening every couple of hours.
Not burying the tip and not taking out divots doesn't take long to learn; learning the effects of the various angles you can control maybe takes longer.
I use a pretty long blade (32" or 36") which makes things more even, and is possible on flat enough ground. In really heavy going or on an uneven surface a 26" blade.
--
Ron Hardin
snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

How short can you cut with a scythe?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

You get a spread of grass heights, some being cut right at the ground pretty much, and some bending over enough to keep varying longer lengths.
Avoiding the power-mower lawn look is one of the charms.
The bottom face of the blade is curved, so the edge winds up a quarter inch or so above the ground, and that will be the shortest length. You cut with the blade riding on the ground (that's responsible for the odd geometry of the scythe and snath that holds it, to keep the blade flat on the ground).
The sharper the blade, the shorter the average length. What gives the spread is grass not immediately being sliced but rather being carried with the blade, which prevents successive grass from seeing the blade until it's bent over a bit.
If no resharpening reduces this effect, it's time to re-peen the edge. In the worst case of a too-dull blade, grass at the end of the stroke on the left isn't cut at all. Also resistance goes way up so it becomes hard work instead of an interesting time occupation.
Peening takes maybe ten minutes; sharpening takes maybe 30 seconds, and is done very very often as you go.
--
Ron Hardin
snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Could it really be used to "mow" a small lawn?
I'm looking for green alternatives to buying a power mower
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

I think a push mower is a much more practical option. It's good for the grass, and good for the pusher. I think a scythe, should you be able to find one, would be hard to maneuver around the edges of your lawn and would produce, at best, a raggedy look that, at least around here, would have you on a first name basis with the building inspectors.
We had a traditionalist around here who decided he wanted his yard naturalized, as it would have been had people never come here. After a lot of complaining and citing and woofing, the city just came out and mowed his weedpatch for him, and billed him for the service.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Understand
But I was thinking abt uisng one at a remote cabin
see link
http://www.scythesupply.com /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Not@home wrote:

http://www.scythesupply.com has everything you need.
It will run into a couple hundred dollars.
I've found the lawn looks nicer if scythed than if mowed; the drawback is that it takes LOTS of time, and you have to deal with the neat rows of clippings you produce. (I do a swath up and back, producing a pile between them, and leaf-sweep the pile up to the back fence; and call it a day until tomorrow. I do an acre that way.)
Other drawbacks are that you have to develop some skills in cutting, and figuring out what's wrong when it's not working right, which is going to take about a year.
Mostly you do neatly right up to the edge, as well as a string clipper, except for corners that restrict you from getting into them. Certainly better than a mower, as to edge closeness.
Going out and mowing a couple 10' wide swaths has to be a regular hobby for you, each day, or you won't like it.
On the plus side, the grass never grows too long for a scythe. It beats a power mower even, in that regard.
A push mower leaves you in trouble once the grass is too long for it.
--
Ron Hardin
snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ron Hardin wrote:

I could add, a lot more than that, if you get into it as a pasttime, as there's no blade you want to leave untried, and they run about $60 each.
And then it's handy to have multiple snaths for your multiple blades, to save mounting and unmounting time (easily two minutes wasted), as you proceed out to the yard in search of the perfect blade for the grass condition and lawn flatness, multiple setups in hand.
The perfect stroke knocks down all the grass at a touch. You can spend hours getting various approximations.
It keeps your mind busy.
Try doing that with a reel mower.
--
Ron Hardin
snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

So are you advising AGAINST a scythe?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

It depends, is all I'm saying. I find a scythe makes the chore a pleasant hour in the yard each day, instead of a mindless back and forth you have to do when the grass needs it (less than each day!).
If you won't find that interesting, then a scythe is not for you.
On the other hand, I look forward to lawn season because there's always grass to scythe for a break from work in the house, day in and day out.
Incidentally, rain is no obstacle. A scythe works great in the rain.
--
Ron Hardin
snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.