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Scythe - anyone used one?


I have an area of meadow and also a slightly sloping orchard area where we leave a lot of the grass to grow long. We then cut this back around this time of year and we have been using a petrol strimmer. However it can be very frustrating with the stimmer having to keep stopping to fix it, as well as it being noisy. We have been looking into getting a scythe but have no experience of using one.

Does any one on here use a scythe for cutting long grass/meadow? I understand its important to get the right one so it suits your height and the blade is right for the type of cutting. Does anyone recommend where to get one from? The ones I've found so far are around £120-£160 which includes everything we would need. For us it is a lot of money and so we would want to ensure it was going to be worth it! I have seen others online for a lot less but I'm guessing they might not be suitable?

Any advice would be great, thank you!  :)



  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,291
    They're a work of art to use.   A tour of junk/antique shops may unearth one, but you'll then need to learn how to sharpen it for maximum effect.  If you can find an old ex-farm worker of 80+ he would advise you and MAY know where there is one, but a simpler alternative to mastering a totally new technique would be to find one of the old Allen Scythes one sees on antique TV programmes from time to time.
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,291
    PS -  This may illustrate what I'm talking about?
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    This takes me back! My dad had both!  You DO need to learn technique, it takes time, but it is very satisfying- just look what it did for Poldark. The Allen Sythe is a beautiful beast and will power through your meadow, but you need strength to handle them.
  • polbpolb Posts: 198
    Thanks both, I think the Allen Sythe might require a bit more strength than I have!! I hadn't thought about an antiques/junk shop places..they might be worth a look if I can then get it sharpened..
  • UpNorthUpNorth Posts: 376
    i can vouch for the vintage shops, they're frequently available depending on condition £40 to £80.   i would recommend one.  i used one for a few years, beating back bramble largely.  until the blade broke.  then the handle.   it had been left outside a LOT before i started using it, so it was very end-of-life for me....i'd have another but actually i think i'd probably by a petrol brushcutter, ie metal blade thing for heavier duty, a battery strimmer is probably adequate for cutting back grass.
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    edited July 2020
    It's not so much strength as technique. My dad would have been 111 years old and was a master as he learned the skill from birth! The family were farmers so used a scythe as a matter of course. I loved to watch him and still have his scythe stone. They are sticks of carborundum. It isn't something you can learn from a book. The angle of the blade is paramount, as is sharpening it correctly and frequently when using it. He could cut grass so short it was as though it had been cut with a mower. He taught me but although I could cut grass with it, it was never very good. 
  • polb said:
    Thanks both, I think the Allen Sythe might require a bit more strength than I have!! I hadn't thought about an antiques/junk shop places..they might be worth a look if I can then get it sharpened..

    From what I remember of my neighbour using one when I was younger the sharpening was something that he did fairly regularly while using the scythe so getting some sort of sharpener tool might make sense. The Lidl stores here in Ireland have small blade sharpers on sale this week for 3euros and I have found these good for the other blade tools I have myself.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    I meant the Allen scythe. They are heavy and powerful and move quite fast. My Dad's had an open blade with no modern safety features. It was tricky to turn and steer the thing and was not for the weak or weedy!
  • polbpolb Posts: 198
    Thanks everyone, sounds like the key is to be able to sharpen as you use it and practice!

    I'll look out for a second hand one as I don't want to spend all that money and not be any good at using it!!! :#
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    How about hiring an electric scythe? It would be much faster than a strimmer thereby cutting down the noise pollution. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
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