How to choose your scythe
Choosing a scythe
When you want to order equipment, there are quite a few considerations.
Please contact us if you need help!
A starter scythe kit is includes a snath, a blade, a whetstone and a whetstone holder.
As the scythe needs to suit both the body using it and the job it is to be used for, there are a variety of choices to make.
1. To choose the correct adjustable snath
Measure the distance from the ground to your wrist when you are standing upright in a relaxed pose. It can be good if you can get someone to help, as it is quite hard to stand upright and measure at the same time!
For a short snath: measurement 690-850 mms,
For medium snath: measurement 800-930mm
Long snath: 880-1040mm
Sometimes people near the boundaries of the right size sometimes drill an extra hole - which gives even more possibilities, especially for sharing snaths.
2. Choosing the blade.
There are 2 main considerations when choosing the correct blade.
a. the work the blade is to do and
b. the terrain it will be working on
The Grass Blades- Tui, Kiwi, Red, Black and Green are all for vegetation which is usually up to one year old. It is still green, not woody.
While you are working, you will keep the edge keen with a whetting stone (mainly the fine one and occasionally the medium one).
After a while- depending on how much you use it the blade will need peening. This is cold forging and does not remove material, but compresses it and makes it harder.
These blades are wonderful for flat land and gently sloping land.
The Tui Blade (designed for NZ) is very good for flat land. We have then in 65 and 75 cm
The Kiwi Blade has been designed for you, in New Zealand from the learning we had in 2009. It is good if you do not want to cut the grass too close to the ground (in a very dry area- or in an orchard) or where the ground has been pugged by animals, as the tip of the blade is higher than the others and not so likely to dig into the ground (not good for the blade!) It is really good for use in the orchard. It is similar to the green blade- but even better! We have 55, 65 and 75 cm blades
The Green Blade has now mainly been replaced by the Kiwi blade,) We only have 65cm blades.
The Black Blade is the blade of choice in Austria, where they have been scything for centuries. It is fabulous to use on flat ground- like a lawn, where you want the grass short. With a Black or Tui blade you can cut grass very short- even when someone has been through with a mower! WE have them in 65, 75 and 85 cms.
The Red Blade is another lovely blade to use. It is the lightest blade in our range. It is more curved than the black or tui blade and is also most suitable for flat land.
We have found that once the grass has been cut with one of the bush blades (as we do not know in long grass where the hazards are - bricks, rocks, logs fences and wire) then keeping the grass down is easy and delightful with a grass blade
The Bush Blades- Red Discovery, Red Bush (Fern) and Posthorn can all handle woody vegetation.
They are maintained with the whetstones- mainly the medium one and sometimes the course one. They are great at restoring those areas which have been neglected (often because you have not had the right equipment. They are wonderful for blackberries, bracken, gorse, thistles etc. The woodier the plant the shorter you want the blade- or you run the risk of putting too much force on the ring clamp and bending it.
Red Discovery is a wonderful blade to use in an area that has been neglected, where you are not sure if there are rocks, wire, stumps etc. under the long grass. It is a blade maintained by a whetstone, not peened. It can be easily fixed if damaged. It is 66cms long. It is also cheaper than the other blades
Red Bush (Fern) This is the blade we choose when cutting blackberries, regenerating gorse or manuka- up to 1 cm in diameter. At 50cm it is a lovely short blade, easy to use and does the job.
Posthorn. This blade is only 40cm long
The Austrian scythe is quite a different creature to the English or American ones most commonly known in New Zealand. They are lighter, more nimble - a real pleasure to use and not hard on the body.