Buying the right size scythe

A scythe is a very personal tool and should be sized and adjusted to fit your body and mowing style for the most comfort and efficiency. This was especially true with the older English and American pattern scythes when the saying was “You can no more lend someone your scythe than you can lend them your false teeth”. This is still the case, even with the modern adjustable scythes and is the reason we spend so much time working with the scythe on my courses so that I can observe you mowing, make adjustments and send you home with the best tool for you.

Learning to scythe bramblesThis was highlighted for me last week when I gave two sessions on setting-up the scythe for people buying them for Christmas presents. Heather & Annie came together wanting to also learn about mowing brambles and we spent some time outside while Pip just wanted to know how to fit all the parts together and is now eagerly awaiting the spring.

In both cases their height was 5ft8in which, based on the guidelines online, would suggest buying a #2 sized snath  but as soon as we started to fit the handgrips I could see that this wouldn’t fit for them and they needed the #3. What’s important is not just your overall height but also the length of your legs, arm span and, of course, how you mow.

If you’re thinking of getting a scythe and learning to mow I always recommend that you get someone to set it up with you or even better, take a course and buy the scythe there. You’ll take home the right sized kit set to your height and, if you come on one of my courses, the wooden snath will be already oiled and the blade peened so it’s sharper than  when it leaves the factory and a pleasure to use. You definitely won’t want to lend it out.

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About Steve Tomlin

I am a greenwood worker and scythe tutor. I carve spoons, bowls and other products from locally sourced greenwood. During the summer I teach scything around the UK.
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