throw away your mower and get a scythe

This is a gorgeous hand forged Austrian scythe.
And here is my friend Steve Tomlin and his Austrian partner Christiane Lechner, they are visiting Edale this week en route to the West Country scythe festival next weekend where Christiane will be teaching a masterclass. I have been fancying getting into scything for a while and Steve showed me the basics a few weeks ago. He is a talented woodworker and recently lost all his tools in a workshop fire, we spent a day in the forge together re hardening and tempering them, read about it on his blog here. Anyway today Steve brought me my own scythe and we popped up to a friends little orchard to get some mowing practice in.

It is a simply idyllic pastime in an idyllic spot.

nearly finished mowing and time to rake up.
and this is what it looked like when we had done.

 I last mowed my lawn at home 3 weeks ago when Steve was last here so it was ready for a trim, I don’t have a huge lawn so it takes about 10 minutes with the scythe, probably about as long as it used to take to get the mower out and set up ready to go. Scything is not only fun and good healthy exercise, it is carbon neutral and the lawn is so much nicer for allowing it to grow a couple of inches then cutting it cleanly. It was always a stress having to use a mower since if it gets just a bit too long the mower can’t cope.


This lovely video made at last years festival is a piece of fine craftsmanship in it’s own right made by Dan Merry just for fun but you can spot he is a professional.

[vimeo w=400&h=300]
Lawnmower Men from Dan Merry on Vimeo.

and in this video you can see Christiane mowing beautifully about 45 seconds in. It is a wonderful rhythm and surprisingly not at all hard work once you begin to relax. 

Tomorrow we visit Abbeydale industrial hamlet in Sheffield where they used to hand forge quality scythe blades but there is no one left making them in the UK today.

For more info on scythes and mowing see Steve’s scytherspace blog here
or why not try a one day course.

2 Responses to throw away your mower and get a scythe

  1. Gorges Smythe June 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    Just remember, if you can't keep your back straight then the snath doesn't fit (or isn't adjusted right).

  2. Barn the Spoon June 6, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    nice one, i first met Steve and Christiane at the scythe fest 2 years ago where Steve gave me a masterclass in spoon carving, and Christiane gave me a masterclass in mowing. great people, and the scythe fest is awesome.