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Aussie mowers, meet Günaş

You may recall we raised the bar on the Australian scythe retail scene (okay, okay, so there wasn’t really much of a scene…) by introducing Australian mowers to Falci blades and Canadian snaths (“best thing I’ve yet to try” said one self-confessed ‘scythe tragic’ who admitted he had no need for more scythe gear but just wanted to try our stuff!)

gunasWell, we’re having another go at breaking new ground. Meet Günaş. This Turkish company manufactures from Turkey and Iran, and we think they’re doing very well on a quality-for-cost basis.

We’ve also found the company to be fantastic to work with from a customer-service perspective. And it could well be this attitude that is setting them up so well; I heard one report that early versions of their blades weren’t so flash, but they’ve demonstrated a commitment to take on suggestions to improve their product. I wonder whether that might explain why some of their blades’ features strike me as being quite reminiscent of a Falci blade. But we didn’t rush in – we got some samples. We’ve had their blades for several months now, have used them in the hay season, and have sent one off for ‘independent review’ as well. On all fronts they’re doing well: it’s become a favourite blade for our product tester and Tony liked his so much he mowed most of his hay with it this year.

So how are they different?

Straight out of the box

Straight out of the box

Well, they’re certainly not “ready to mow”, and not nearly as close to that as the Falci blades are, out of the box – and that’s one reason we’re offering them at a lower price (it would take you a good hour or more of peening to get them approaching the fineness of a Falci edge – e.g. out of the box they’re bevelled on both sides). On the other hand, they are much closer to being “ready to mow” than some Austrian blades I’ve seen. We’re offering two prices for these blades: “as they come”, and “peened”. The latter still won’t be thumbnail-test fine as we’re expecting to cater for people wanting a thicker edge with these.

Now that's a knob...

Now that’s a knob…

The knobs are big. Quite big. Too big, in our book – we don’t like drilling out too much timber from the snaths. So we’ll grind them down a bit. The tangs on the Günaş F2 models also have a hanging hole in them, which I was surprised to find I really enjoyed – it’s far more reassuring hanging a blade with a hole than it is just relying on the shape of the neck. The tangs themselves have a bit of a curve to them as well.

In the 65cm size they are a slightly flatter blade along the belly from tip to tang than the equivalent Falci 100 model, and the F2 is also quite flat from rib to edge. Both models have a deeper beard than the Falci model 100, the F2 more so. Interestingly, the 75cm gold Günaş has a lot more curve along the belly from tip to tang than the 75cm Falci we first stocked.

FalciGunasAs for similarities, the thing I found most striking is the formation of the tang into the neck into the blade – to my eye it looks like the Falci approach where the tang becomes the blade rather than the tang looking more like an appendage hanging off the blade; the tang is still flat half way into the twist of the neck rather than the twist occurring on a completely different plane. I suspect (and this is only speculation) that this was an improvement to counter the reputation Turkish blades had for having weaker necks. We’ve certainly had no problems with these and both we and our tester have given them some pretty tough going to handle (I actually labelled the test blade with “Rough Stuff Wrangler”, and have since heard that it’s performing well in 2 metre-high sub-tropical Paspalum).

The real mystery for me, with the Günaş blades, is that the steel moves quite easily under the hammer, and yet they retain their edge very well, to the point that everyone I’ve spoken to about the Günaş blades mentions edge-retention as a plus. I have no idea how the folks at Günaş are achieving that apparent paradox (but perhaps it’s not actually a paradox and I just need to learn more about metallurgy).

Which should you buy, Falci or Günaş? Well, Günaş will be cheaper if you’re happy to peen it yourself. It’s a more robust edge, peens easily, and holds its edge well. If you’re mowing on rough stuff it might be a good decision. The Falcis are still the premium blade as far as we’re concerned, but if you tend to be a bit rough on your gear, or that extra twenty bucks really is going to make a difference, a Günaş would be a safe bet. And fear not, we have made it a bit easier too, because at the moment we have no overlap in blade sizes: Günaş are available in 65, 70, and 75, while Falci are available in 35, 50, 60 (left), 80 and 90 (at least, when we have them in stock…)

They’re available here, and we’ll have better product photos up soon.