By Cris Carl, Networx
Scything may seem like an antiquated method of harvest and weed control, but improved tools and a growing desire in many to be more earth-friendly is reviving the old technique. Although I didn’t know many Boston-area landscapers who use scythes, I began looking into scything two years ago as a way to improve on land management for a property I was responsible for. After working with local expert, George Esworthy “The Scythe Guy,” of Shelburne Falls, MA, I learned that size and strength barely matter. Like many situations, it was all about the right tool. In addition, a company in Conway, MA, One Scythe Revolution provides extensive information and products on their website.
Scything your weeds or grain crops is quiet, non-polluting, effective, and good exercise. If you are a taller person, you can swing up to a 10-foot arc that quickly mows with only the sounds of swishing and birds in your ears. There is no expensive heavy gas or electrical machinery tearing up the earth, and no dependence on petro-chemicals to fuel your harvest. All of the action of scything comes from the waist and hips, so you can harvest and work on slimming down. Scything can also be used, for example, to cut hay for bedding or mulch.
What is a scythe?
A scythe is made up of three simple parts: a blade, of which here are two basic designs and several sizes, a handle or snath, and a tang. The snath has two handholds. Typically, you need to find the right size snath for your height, but One Scythe Revolution has a patented snath with ergonomic, adjustable handholds.
American style scythes have an “S” curved snath and a crescent shaped blade. An Austrian scythe is far superior with a straight snath and a blade that has three different cutting edges (crescent, rocker, and belly curves) in one. American scythes are heavier and harder to manage.
The tang is the metal collar that holds the blade onto the snath.