The sharp, curved blade of a scythe has been a symbol of implacable strength since at least Shakespeare’s time. “Nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defense,” he wrote.
A thin blade of grass is certainly no match. Nor are weeds, scrubby brush, or other soft-stemmed garden nuisances. This may partially explain the garden scythe’s recent resurgence in popularity (see our recent post, Trend Alert: Mowing the Lawn with a Scythe). But there’s also something extremely satisfying about the blade’s noise-less, low-tech whoosh. And no gasoline smell to make you sick.
Ready to mow as the Elizabethans did? Here are 10 of our favorite scythes:
Above: For a wide selection of scythe blades, snaths, whetstones, and fittings, see scything expert Niels Aamand Johansson’s Denmark-based shop, Legrej.
Above: With a 22-inch hammered steel blade best suited for long, thin grass or hay, a Scythe By SHW is made in Germany and has a lightweight galvanized steel snath with two wooden handles; $99.95 from Garden Tool Company.
Above: An Austrian Scythe Kit comes with both blade and wooden snath, with the length of the handle customized to your height. It is £136 from Learn Scything.
Above: “The tool of Demeter comes back into favor,” notes Germany-based tool seller Manufactum. “Form and method of production has not changed much in the scythes best quality in the last two centuries.” A Sense Tubular Steel Tree with a forged carbon steel blade and steel snath is €94.
Above: With a 40-centimeter blade and a very short wooden snath, an Allotment And Raised Bed Austrian Scythe Kit makes it easy to mow a small space; £136 from Learn Scything.
Above: A Schröckenfux Garden Sense Original Razor has a blade specially designed for “less fatigue even with uneven surfaces” and a tubular steel snath with two wooden handles. It is €95.20 from Dictum.
Above: Measuring 55 inches long, a Steel Blade Garden Scythe comes with a grinding stone; $34.99 from eBay.
Above: A cross between a scythe and a short-handled sickle, a Bulldog Premium Garden Scythe has a 32-inch steel handle and a 12-inch detachable steel blade; €39.95 from Lenehans.
Above: A miniature, 12-inch scythe has a curved steel blade and a hardwood handle. A Grass Hook With Handle is $17.97 from Home Depot.
Above: Scything expert Steve Tomlin teaches classes for beginners and sells a Complete Beginners Scythe Kit (£170), which includes: a 65-centimeter Ditch blade, an adjustable wooden snath, three whetstones, a whetstone sheath, a peening jib to shape the blade’s edge, a blade attachment ring with allen key and adjustment wedge, and a copy of his Learn to Scythe book (also available separately for £10 plus £4.50 for postage and handling).