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How to Mow with a Scythe
Mowing is one primary secret in keeping the lawn healthy. Frequent and proper trimming encourages profound root growth. Additionally, it enhances turf’s density and eradicates harmful pests in the process. There are two main factors to effective mowing; frequency and height. Both considerations depend on the grass species, turf level desired, safety, and mowing equipment used. This section intends to uncover the main benefits of using a scythe to mow.
What is a Scythe?
A scythe is a beneficial agricultural hand tool used to mow grass and grain crops. The device has an elongated, curved blade attached to a long handle. Choosing the best scythe for the job can be a daunting task to most people. Experts sensitize on picking the best fit by analyzing the following components;
Currently, you can find blades in three options; bush, ditch, and grass. The ultimate preference depends on the specific type of mowing in mind. Luckily, most knives are adjustable and handle most tasks at ease. Still, it would help if you considered the blade length as well. A short blade of about 24 to 28 inches works best for cutting edges and clearing weeds. On the contrary, a longer edge (35-39 inches) is more suitable for mowing wheat and grass.
There are two types of snath; curved and straight in sizes 1, 2, 3, and 4. The bottom line is to pick a scythe that compliments your stature. It boils down to taking your measurements from hip to ground. Also, estimate your cubit dimension and height when wearing shoes. Cubit measurement is the distance between a spread-out finger and the thumb from the elbow.
For individuals less than 5ft tall, pick size 1. Size 2 (150 cm) is ideal for people measuring 5 to 5ft 10. Likewise, get a size 3 (160 cm) if your height is 5 to 6 ft 4—A size four suits individuals 6ft 4 and taller. Ultimately, pick a snath with several handle position adjustments for added comfort.
A scythe outfit encompasses all items need to preserve your tools. Here, select a durable piece likely to serve you long and efficiently.
How much Does a Scythe Cost?
Scythes in excellent condition call for high prices of up to $200. Anticipate paying more for Antique scythes, some centuries-old. Still, you can get a quality-condition gadget for not more than $20. On average, various scythes in the market cost $30 to $90. The final price depends on the scythe length, materials used, and durability. Before paying, confirm if the steel or wood used is durable enough. After all, superior quality material increases product longevity and achieves admirable cutting outcomes.
Photo by Roberto Sorin on Unsplash
How to Mow Grass with a Scythe?
Mowing grass with a scythe is an art that requires time and patience. The process does not need immense strength, even when trimming thick turf. Instead, the paper-thin blade gives the tool added resilience and strength. What’s more, the curved blade maneuvers better and provide a trim with a cut. Below are basic guidelines mowers need to follow.
1. Balance the scythe well with your hands and face the patch you wish to mow. Then, keep the back straight and bend your knees.
2. Pull out your hands and place the scythe on the ground. Naturally, the blade sits arched slightly up with the back resting on the floor. As you begin mowing, turn your torso to allow the edge to move from one side to another. Eventually, your scythe should rest at the alternate side from where you began.
3. Remain in a steady position without making unnecessary movements. Also, maintain the blade on the ground throughout the process.
4. When mowing, sweep up the scythe slightly before you. Then sweep it across the ground and into grass edges. Only engage a third of the blade in the lawn. It is because cutting grass with the entire length sometimes stops the motion.
5. Continue with this motion movement till the end of the process. It is prudent for mowers to practice holding the scythe well before use. Then proceed to cut small bites of grass by shifting the blade in small curves. Later, after gaining experience take wider angles of up 180 degrees.
Trimming large fields with a scythe requires shorter strokes, especially around the trees and rocks. If you feel the blade lose its intensity, take a break and strop the scythe against a stone. All in all, keep the edge sharp at all times. Moreover, learn to move the sickle in an arch and always keep it on the ground when mowing. Avoid hitting on rocks or other complex objects likely to damage the blade.
Lawn trimming with a scythe has several advantages compared to other options. Main benefits associated with the tool include;
- Less unsettling noise
Exposure to excessive noise can cause various health problems to mowers. Some include poor concentration, hearing disability, stress, insomnia, etc. Scythes are an ideal alternative because they do not produce disturbing noises. It comes in handy when mowing close to wildlife sanctuaries and around residential areas.
- Save Fuel and Minimize Pollution
You do not have to use expensive fuel when mowing a lawn with scythes. Besides, as opposed to scythes, gas-powered machines contribute immensely to air pollution. In reality, running an old gasoline lawn mower emits similar pollution to a car driving on more than 500 kilometers.
- Light Weight
An ordinary scythe measures approximately 16-20 inches and weighs about two pounds. The perfect weight makes it easy to clear bushes, weeds, and small trees at ease. Altogether, the final weight depends on the country of origin. For instance, some scythes in the US weigh up to six pounds. On the other hand, European countries make similar tools weighing at least four pounds. Nevertheless, there is a huge difference in effort needed depending on the scythe used. Altogether, a lightweight scythe provides much-needed momentum when cutting through grass and woody plants.
- Better Control
Modern scythes have a projecting peg on the handle. The mower then grasps it with one hand, which improves the swinging control. The enhanced motion eventually gives a quick clean cut.
Some mowing sites are inaccessible or unbefitting for large mowing machines. Scythes offer a more flexible experience because of their small size. Also, it is easier to mow more selectively with scythes than other alternatives. In short, you can cut on uneven areas, slopes, and hills with minimal challenges.
- Physical Exercise
When done correctly, scything offers mowers a chance to move their bodies routinely. In other words, mowers use their legs, abdominal muscles, chest, and legs. It helps in burning calories and keeping the body fit. The process can instigate a peaceful and meditative experience in the long run.
- Long Comfortable Handle
Long scythe handles provide a better and exceptional grip. Most scythes have two or more handles fixed to a long pole. These added handles enable convenient mowing without straining your back even when standing. Wooden shafts on most scythe tools also add to the tool’s reliability.
Overgrown hedges and lawns can host animals like baby rabbits or snakes. Once the grass gets trimmed down to manageable levels, it reduces the chances of dangerous animals creeping into the house.
Even if scythes have loads of benefits, you need to consider a couple of drawbacks linked to the tool. Some of them include;
- Ineffective Cut
Scythes only manage to trim down well grass growing straight up. If rain or wind pushes the lawn down, stakes are high, and scythes may not give a neat effect.
- Frequent Sharpening
Perfect trimming requires razor-sharp blades always. To achieve clean-cut mowing, you need to sharpen your bladed on repeated occasions.
Since the introduction of agricultural mechanization, most people have moved to power-generated mowers. Engine run machines have a higher blade speed than manual ones. Besides, they are two or three times faster than residential blades. Another factor is that powered equipment usually has heavier and several blades likely to accomplish the task faster.
Reaping or Mowing
Reaping is the process of cutting, gathering, and harvesting crops. Usually, harvesters use reapers, sickles, and scythe for proper harvesting. Generally, the process incorporates cleaning, parking, sorting, and post-harvest handling. Post-harvest handling addresses temperature control, sorting, and transportation to the market. The treatment determines the crop’s final quality as an ingredient or as fresh consumption.
Successful harvesting involves combining several harvesting mechanisms to cut crop loss. In small farms with minimal mechanized tools, individuals opt for labor-intensive procedures. Extensive mechanized farms use sophisticated machinery like the combine harvester. Automation has improved reaping efficiency and speed. For example, some specialized equipment utilizes conveyor belts to replace manual seedling removal. Remember that harvesting grains with scythes need fastening a cradle to hold them. The cradle is a set of tines or teeth that hangs behind scythe blades.
What is mowing? Mowing is the act of trimming down or leveling grass or bushes. Remember, cutting increases the turf’s density that requires frequent trimming. Before clipping, find out the grass type in your yard because some species grow faster than others. Then, learn how to mow that particular glass blade to the right height. The thumb rule is cutting only a third of the grass blade and never trimming more than the required length.
When using a scythe, wait for the grass to dry before drying. But, you may have to trim the grass during rainy seasons to prevent it from growing long. Almost all grass blade species survive occasional close trim. Yet, frequent close mowing gives it a brown color. Furthermore, the process causes several side effects to the lawn. Keep following as we mention a couple of routine mowing negative aspects.
- Increased danger of soil compaction
Soil compaction happens when particles press together and lessen pores between. As a result, compacted soil has inferior drainage and infiltration.
- Increased Weed Germination
Mowing exposes weed seeds in the soil to direct sunlight. Thus, they manage to germinate and sprout much faster on the lawn.
- Affected Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is the natural process where plants convert light energy to chemical energy. In a nutshell, plants use water, gases, and sunlight to make glucose. Glucose is a significant component for plants to endure. Mowing reduces grass surface area. The process affects the plant’s chances of survival. Moreover, mowing may injure the plant’s crown. It is where nutrients get stored, leading to new healthy growth.
How to Sharpen your Scythe
A well-functioning scythe needs to be sharp at all times. The idea is to produce a sharp edge by removing enough metal. There are various ways used in sharpening scythe blades. Most people prefer using a coarse stone in a rectangular space. As an alternative, get cylindrical and curvier stones too. Then dip your choice of stone in water. Proceed by running the wet stone along the blade edges.
Another option is hammering the blade edge to a thin size on a preening jig or anvil. Later, hone the edge with a stone to set up the blade for the job. Re-sharpen the blade during mowing if necessary.
While frequent mowing can be cumbersome, some people consider it therapeutic. Recent research discovered the release of a relaxing chemical that kept mowers relaxed. Unfortunately, some individuals still associate scythes with the grim reaper image. The storyline dates back centuries when Cronus, the harvest god, carried a long sickle. Afterward, ancient people used the scythe image to remind others about death and how it reaps sinful sinners. Of course, that narration has anything to do with the valuable scythe tool we have today. Whether reaping or mowing, scythe performs magic in the fields.