European Scythe

Most efficient mower

Light, sharp, ergonomic and quiet, this European scythe is not what you’ll find in your local hardware store. The handle (snath) is custom-fit, so you stand comfortably upright while ‘sweeping’ weeds and grass down with ease. Potential uses range from small-acreage hay cutting to weed and brush clearing in variable terrain. I use it as a weed-whacker replacement on my long driveway. You can talk to people and hear birds while ‘weed-whacking’. Pretty sweet. The price for a new one puts it up there with gas-powered weed-whackers, but I find the experience much more enjoyable. Honestly, I believe you can clear more area with less sweat using a European scythe than a powered string-trimmer. The key is the light weight of the tool and the sharpness of the blade.

Most people are stunned when they see me take down grass or weed stalks with little more than a gentle nick from the blade. Furthermore, getting it custom fit will make it probably the most pleasant-to-use garden tool you’ll ever have. (I’m unusually tall, so maybe this impresses me more than it would a 5’9″ man, for example). Here’s how a European scythe and string-trimmer weed whacker tally up to each other:

Scythe Pros
Scythe is lighter. Likely to be considerably more ergonomic. Quiet. Free from power source. Stalks intact, no pulverizing of plant-matter.

Scythe Cons
Must keep the blade *sharp* (The $170 kit comes with peening jig and whetstone). Sometimes the direction of approach makes a particular weed hard to cut. You won’t be able to pulverize a weed in between rocks or hard things. You must not let the blade hit hard things like rocks or metal.

For those considering a scythe, be sure to get the European style and help end this sad era that has had Americans breaking their backs with horribly un-ergonomic, heavy scythes. For instance, European blades weigh 15 oz, while American style ones weigh twice as much, at 30 oz! Besides the weight difference, the tang on the American style is not angled to help you cut the stalks. The blades are thicker and not as sharp, etc. You’ll find a lot more info on why and how to use this tool at Scythe Supply.

-- James Zimmerman 07/8/05

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