Need some convincing about why scythes are a worthwhile investment?

Quick start guide

Our scythes are very, very, very sharp. Please handle them with care.

If you damage your blade, fix it, or it will get worse!

This is a very abbreviated guide to getting started. More detail on setting up is available in the ‘setup detail’ section of our guidance menu – if things don’t seem to be working for you, try reading the detailed explanations for a more thorough understanding.

This page is also available as a printable PDF.

  1. Unwrap your blade and carefully scrape off the protective lacquer from 5mm back from the cutting edge (at a minimum), right to the edge.

    The lacquer is difficult to see until you see a spot with the lacquer taken off.

  2. Attach the blade to the snath

    Don’t tighten the grub screws too much just yet.

  3. Fit the lower (middle of the snath) grip: with the scythe standing ‘on end’ (with the blade resting at your toe and the snath running up along your body), the bottom grip should align with your hip (the bumpy bit at the top of your leg, well below your waist). For field mowing, the grip should be 5 or 10cm higher.
  4. Fit the top grip: with your elbow on the bottom grip, your fingertips should align with the top grip for trimming weeds or, for field mowing, the top grip should be around 10cm above your fingertips.
  5. Stand with your feet just further apart than shoulder width (you’re not trying to do the splits) and hold the scythe with the blade resting on the ground. Check that the edge lays nicely. If it doesn’t, adjust with the wedges supplied.

    Too low and you’ll chew dirt and rocks, too high and you won’t cut cleanly.

  6. Set the hafting angle: the distance between the red dots in the diagram should be a fingerwidth for a 50cm blade, and an extra fingerwidth for each additional 10cm of blade length.

    The distance between the red dots is the ‘hatfing angle’ – often measured in finger widths.

  7. Tighten the attachment ring.
  8. Start mowing! The blade stays on the ground – don’t lift it up – and you should be ‘drawing’ an arc through the grass, shuffling forward an inch or several inches at a time, depending on the length of your blade. You do not need to apply a lot of force – a sharp blade will move through grass at a speed of a couple of feet per second, and still cut grass. Let the blade do its job.

If you find yourself mowing pretty well at first attempt, well done!  Most people need some time to get a feel for it and there’s a lot of fine tuning you can do.

Here’s a video of a very relaxed mowing style to give you something to aim for: