I’ve been making snaths since 2007 when Peter Vido of Scythe Connection gave me a very quick tutorial on the various angles and ergonomics of a scythe handle. Since then I’ve studied the info online, talked further with Peter and built a few snaths, learning and improving along the way. At the Somerset Scythe Festival I’ve been asked several times to give presentations on snath making and improving the standard Swiss-made snaths used in the UK.
Snaths are subtle things and making one from a stem of wild wood is no straightforward matter. Eventually, I’ll write more details on what I’ve learned but for now I wanted to put up a bit of info to help Rico over at Survival in the Wasteland.
An important part of making the snath is getting the right rotation of the stem and aligning the handgrips with the blade. Draw an imaginary line through the two handgrips (or the place on the snath where your hand sits if there’s only a single grip) and note where this line crosses the scythe blade. There’s a ‘sweet spot’ on the blade about one third of the way along it’s length, measured from the heel. This is where the blade rides on the ground as it cuts and the handgrips should be in alignment with this point to direct your energy most effectively into the blade.
I’m fortunate that, through knowing Christiane Lechner, I can examine the snaths that Peter Vido made for her. In the top photo the camera was placed on the left-hand grip and you can see how the lower grip aligns with the sweet spot. On Rico’s snath, in the lower photo, the grip is rotated too far to the right.
Hope this helps, Rico. Glad you’re enjoying the mowing.