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good non-gas mowers

 
gardener
Posts: 6341
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1084
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I use a 100 year old scythe with a wood snath that is the same age as the blade. This one is a fairly new purchase and it is an American forged blade (Keen) with a curved snath made of hickory, with two straight handles.

I peened it on my anvil to straighten the blade since it was rather wavy and then filed and used a blue stone hone to bring it to sharpness. When I'm cutting I dress hone about every 10 swaths, which only takes about a minute. I can cut 1 acre, around trees and rocks in about 3 hours. It took me all of one day to really have the scythe swing and sharpening down to where I didn't have any problems, my grandfather taught me how by working along side me. Worst part of it was having to hear how I was doing it wrong, then being shown how it was supposed to be done, over and over till I got it. No pre teen wants to be shown up by their grandparent.

I've been thinking about getting a new, Austrian type, grass cutting blade and snath just to come into the modern era, which would also require me to learn the peening sharpening process. But I probably will just use this one since my wife has expressed a desire to hang it on a wall when I stop using it.
I oil/ wax the snath every spring with a lemon oil/tung oil/bees wax blend. It rubs in nicely and will last an entire year.
It did take three applications when I first got this one from my antique tool dealer, the blade was in rough shape and rusty but now it looks as it should and cuts everything from fine grass to wheat straw.

I timed my using the scythe against my using a weed eater and since I move the weed eater the same way I move the scythe, the times were about the same, but the cut grass was in neat rows off the scythe instead of thrown all over the place. And I didn't hammer my legs with rocks while using the scythe. Overall, I much prefer my "old timey scythe" to the weed eater.

*our resident guru of the scythe, Benjamin Bouchard, is a wonderful person to have available here. I have learned a lot from his posts.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 8815
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
727
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This sickle bar mower that I made from my E-go cordless hedge cutter, works great on tall grass.

E-go makes the best cordless lawnmower that I have seen. Home Depot sells them, but for some reason they push the lightly built Ryobi, which is inferior in every way that I can think of.
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gardener
Posts: 787
Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
41
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I used to have a black and deck electric mower but thick Bermuda burned out the motor. Which supports Pauls previously stated opinions. So i wont be trying anymore traditional style electric mowers ever.

I have a Fiskars reel mower that cuts up to 4 or so inches. I used it pretty extensively while renting a place that had significant lawn and liked it. It does have some plastic parts though.
I have an Austrian scythe as well that i am only decently skilled with. It is a brush blade so it excels at thick stalked plants.
My new house came with a whopping 1/3 of an acre lawn.. Its terrible. I had to maintain it throughout the summer while i let the weed killers and chemicals wear off. Once the weather broke i lost all interest in maintaining the useless crap. So i let it go to the legal limit and its really only crab grass stalks that get over 12 inches. The scythe is difficult for them because i am trying to cut them off pretty high and they kind of get whipped around and don't all get cut. String trimming is ridiculous for that much ground. Im starting to think dales sickle bar hedge trimmer attachment would be ideal for this scenario, cutting loose stalks and shoots at about 10 inches off the ground.
Obviously the plan is to end up converting everything except the easements to forest gardens, ponds or veggie plots, but these will need to be fenced in from puritan eyes. Easements will be polycultures maintained at 10 inches height( for legal reasons)
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6341
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1084
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
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I second your thought of the sickle bar mower idea for your situation, that would be the best choice I believe.
 
Posts: 180
Location: Boise, Idaho (a balmy 7a)
16
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After my 42" riding mower stuck the piston, I was forced to do something with spring approaching.

I purchased a Greenworx Digipro 19" cordless walk behind, mostly because it will cut 4" high (approx.)

I am a believer in longer grass. I even have to manage my goats in the pasture with zones, as they do not believe in leaving grass more than about 1/2" high! Plus in the front yard, they eat all the shrubs first: no, no.

The Greenworx is functioning quite well and the whole ordeal for my 1/3 acre of front lawn is about 15 minutes longer than with the riding mower. It helps me reach my daily step count.

I am not certain about what the mulching will produce as the grass has yet to evenly fill in this spring to 4 inches. I also am not sure what it will doo for sucking up leaves in the fall, my real love of the riding mower.

The mower is of good quality and came with two rechargeable batteries of different operational times. I like the extra control and detail of this mower versus what I was able to do with the riding mower. The digipro feature has been able to handle the sticks and thick clumps well.

So far, so good.
 
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