Need convincing?

We’ll say it again: we recognise the value of technology and machinery. Marshall is an IT consultant and lives on a 440 acre farm, and Tony is a scientist and farms 25 acres. Between the two of us, we work with stuff on a daily basis ranging from fence strainers through to bulldozers, and from smartphones through to laptops with software that develops other software.

One of the reasons we like scythes is because they’re an old-time tool that can actually outperform their more modern counterparts, and can do so with a minimum of fuss.

For example, the heaviest rig in our catalogue weighs in at around 2.5kg. Compare that to a brushcutter. And you don’t even lift a scythe – it stays on the ground most of the time for casual mowing. When using a scythe, you don’t have to wear a harness, goggles, or earmuffs. You don’t have to carry petrol, spill petrol, use petrol, or breathe exhaust fumes. You can hear the grass being mown, rather than the engine.

Lawn - after mowing with a scythe

Lawn – after mowing with a scythe, and having been raked.

Lawn - before mowing

Lawn – before mowing – the grass was not long by any means.

You can rig up a scythe and head into an overgrown paddock and tackle five-feet-high, rank cocksfoot grass clumps, and once you’ve done that, take that same tool and give your lawn a mowing, without changing a thing. You can use different blades for different jobs, as with a brushcutter, but on the whole a scythe is a lot more versatile.

Mow a lawn?  Yep, scythes will cut grass long or short. We’re quite excited about the prospect of converting people to scythe mowing instead of motor mowing. Here’s what one customer in West Hobart had to say when I asked how he went with his lawn, which he used to mow with an electric mower:

The weekend ended up being very busy so I only got about 5 minutes of mowing done.  But those five minutes were great–I whipped through the open area of back lawn and did some edging. I think it was faster than pushing the mower.

Our social scything group also demonstated mowing lawns with a scythe out at the MONA market.

Here’s a video demonstrating the mowing of a lawn that was already pretty short. If it starts to look like it’s not actually making much difference, wait until the end of video where you’ll see Marshall mowing in reverse, high speed – the difference between mown and unmown becomes very obvious.

An old timer in our area who has been farming for more than 60 years, and who’s generally not one to dish out undeserved compliments, told Marshall, with just a hint of admiration in his voice, that Tony cleaned up the thistles in his top paddock with a scythe faster than he would’ve done it himself with a tractor-mounted slasher. And that, of course, is not because a scythe is faster at mowing thistles than a tractor-mounted slasher, but because a human is more agile than a tractor and can adjust course and direction with more ease than a tractor. It’s horses for courses (or people for paddocks). Quite often machinery has an overhead that we just overlook because it’s a machine, so therefore “must” be the most efficient way of doing things.

But, if you’re still holding on to your (reasonable enough) skepticism, perhaps these videos may help:

Scythe vs Brushcutter

Easy mowing style

Extreme scything

This video demonstrates that even a light grass blade, when wielded by a skilled user, can be successfully used outide its typical remit… However, we don’t recommend trying this unless you’re willing to learn a good deal about blade repair in the process.