scything


So I’ve been working on my scything over the last week with three more mowing sessions. I found some videos on youtube about how to peen (bang the blade with a hammer), which I put into practice. Marta’s Dad also gave me an old sharpening stone holding, which had an old sharpening stone inside. This proved to be much better than the one I had, and I think my blade is now sharpish. I also found a scythe handle in a slightly different style which allowed me to mow with a better posture.

Neater Rows

Neater Rows

To go some way in answering Eddy at Winkos, who mentioned how long it would take to cut his meadows using this method, I worked out over the few sessions I’ve done that I’m averaging 150m2 per hour.  I normally do from 4:30am till 8ish. I reckon we have about 10,000 m2 of meadow, which would take around 67hrs at my current pace. Or 8 days worth of 2 four hour sessions.

I am finding the mowing easier as my technique improves. We found out our neighbour used to mow his wheat fields using the scythe back in the day. I’m hoping to pick his brains a bit about technique, sharpening and setting the blade etc with the aim of getting my mowing to 200m2 per hour.

I also managed to have a go at actually doing something with the grass. I made a hay rack, according to what I remember seeing in a youtube video, in my style I made a rustic version. It is the alpha version, I think a few more pegs are needed for the final design, but I’m happy with it as a first attempt.

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I was bought a scythe a while back and I’ve been itching to use it. A couple of weeks ago I did some research about how to sharpen, set it, and use it. Last week I managed to put it all to the test.

My research showed that the best time to scythe is before dawn. There are various witty quotes, which I can’t find now, which say by the time the sun is up and the dew has gone you should be resting with you work done.

With this in mind I started my first session just after 4am. It was a beautiful morning, already quite light. My first swipes of the blade didn’t seem to cut much and I was tempted to give up. I carried on and started to get a bit of technique going. I ended the first day at 8:30am, extremely tired and feeling quite sick. I should mention another quote I found on http://www.scytheconnection.com/adp/docs/movement.html  “If you cannot rest yourself while mowing, you are not doing it correctly”. From this I deduce I am definitely not doing it correctly.

 

I had another go a couple of days later on a nicer piece of land, with less mole hills and trees. I found it a little easier going but I’m still not cutting the grass close enough to the ground. There are three things that effect cutting: Blade sharpness, blade position/angle, and technique. I pretty sure I’m a bit out on all of these. Now I’ve had a good go and I have some internet I’m going to do a bit more research and do some more cutting next week.