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David F Paul

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since Apr 24, 2020
Kansas farm kid turned part time suburban homesteader
Middle Tennesee zone 7b
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Recent posts by David F Paul

Anthony Noble wrote:Where has everyone bought their scythes?  What did you choose and why?  Are you happy with it?

I bought mine from The Marugg Company.  I bought the 26" grass blade with a curved hickory snath.  

I bought a second scythe from Botan Anderson at One Scythe Revolution to teach students at Earlham College.  I'm hoping to start a mini course about steel tools.  The above book gives so much great information about steel, its history and many of its dynamics.  For the school, we got a Fux Grass blade and a Fux light bush blade.  I got the adjustable wood snath so many people can use it comfortably.

I've had to repair my Marugg blade so many times from hitting rocks and wire, I'm afraid the metal is getting too thin.  I'm considering filing everything down so I can start with a new edge.    I peen with a rounded peening hammer and a flat anvil.  For the school, I use the cheeter anvil jig which has worked pretty good.  I haven't had to repair many cracks (probably because I make sure students are a lot more careful than I am!)

Looks like marugg went under a few years ago sadly, I got one from scythe supply and one from botan at OSR, I like the OSR one much better. I use the narrow peening anvil and a flat faced picard hammer for my peening. I have a TOPS heidi and peter 28" blade which does me alright and a 50cm falci blade which is very nice. I am still working on my peening skills, so I mostly just peen the very edge... one line going down, and this seems to work very well for me so far. I didn't like the way the peening jig made ridges in the blade, hopefully one day I will be competent enough at peening to smooth it out. also i feel like i get a much better edge using an anvil. I set up my smaller falci blade which was meant as more of a ditch blade with a very fine edge for cutting grass because i mostly use it to mow garden paths and take the place of a string trimmer.
5 months ago

Matt Todd wrote:

I'm a recent scythe owner/user (cheap one from Lee Valley Tools that I'm perfectly happy with) and I love it! Cutting big swaths is great. The quiet. The nice little breaks when you stop to sharpen (a must.) And the ability to use it in the morning dew that would be a mess with a string trimmer. The way you can just crouch and use your cuttings to mulch plants as you go when needed.  

But... you will never be able to edge a fence with it. Especially chain link, cattle panel, and woven wire.  The string trimmer wins for those applications, so you most likely will not get to replace a trimmer entirely with a scythe.  

you totally can edge a fence with it. and you don't throw a ton of shredded plastic everywhere, or damage your fence/more delicate things. You do have to focus a little more and go a bit slower, and you have to make sure the first couple inches down from the tip is screaming sharp because you wont have inertia on your side but you can get right up next to anything... scythe regularly as close to the fence as you safely can, then when you get to the fence push the blade in between the grass and the fence, in very short strokes, with the back of the blade in direct contact with the fence. if it's super sharp at the tip end then it will cut the grass no problem, it's a little bit of a different stroke and style, but it works fantastic once you get the hang of it. here's some videos:
5 months ago

Barbara Carter wrote:I just got my first scythe from Scythe Supply, and am a bit disappointed. The collar is very loose; it twists around on the snath and torques the blade when I tighten it down. It actually forces the blade into the "wrong" open angle they warn you against, in spite of my best efforts to hold the blade at the correct angle. I've sent an email, we'll see what they say about it.

I have had this problem as well, so what I like to do is get everything tight enough on both screws that you can still just barely move the blade, then put the blade in the correct position, then tighten each screw a quarter turn at a time alternating between each screw each time.not a big fan of the square key they send, or the snath. i reccomend the smaller rings from one scythe revolution, they are a regular hex key and the screws are in a diagonal arrangement instead of one on top of the other, which helps. also the construction is much nicer, not sure about yours but mine from them had spotty welds, and a lot of burrs on all the parts like they didn't take the time to finish them correctly.
5 months ago

Janet Reed wrote:I feel your pain re loppers..the “new” old. Pair I inherited are Craftsman Power Lever...fiberglass handles; my husband has taken them apart to sharpen with no gripes.  Don’t know if they still make them. Craftsman also has a different quality now

that's the real struggle, it's hard to even trust brands that used to be awesome :/ guess i need to check more yard sales
6 months ago
Fiskars is really hit or miss for me, love their scissors, got some lopers and pruners, the lopers worked great at first but i somehow managed to take some pretty big chunks out of the blade fairly quickly in the first season of use, and I don't recall doing anything really hardcore with them at all. They have now been demoted to use for poison ivy cutting only. I had the same problem as you with the pruners, but in addition to that, the other problems I have had are: when I took them apart to sharpen I can't get the tension on the bolt that holds them together to be perfect, either they are too stiff and the spring wont push them open, or they are too loose and when they close there is a gap that doesn't let them cut small stuff all the way. Also, if I cut something just a little too big for them, and put a lot of pressure (i know i probably shouldn't do that but hey, sometimes you know it can take it and it's more time to switch to different tools or maybe they are all I had at the moment) they snap shut very quickly and because of the shape of the handles I have caught my fingers a few times in them resulting in some gnarly bruises and blood blisters... I have since gotten a pair of these corona pruners: and they are fantastic, probably the best I have ever used, and the handle construction is in such a way I can't ever catch my fingers between them, and have taken them apart several times to sharpen and getting the tension right when putting them back together is not a problem. I also got the leather belt holster they sell which is really awesome, because I can just wear them around and have them on me if i'm doing other tasks and notice something that needs a quick snip. I am on the hunt for a new pair of loppers that are nice and sturdy, if anyone has any suggestions. Being able to take them apart for diy maintenance is a must.
6 months ago

Sena Kassim wrote:Good day, We are considering the purchase of our first scythe. Our gas weed eater has retired, shall we say.

Using hand tools is much more appealing than buying another gas tool. We are also considering a battery string trimmer too.

I weed eat about 7 hours monthly. Garden paths, fence lines and around our house. Plus we are clearing a few areas to replant.

What are your thoughts on replacing a string trimmer with a scythe? I realize it will be a different workout.

Do you know if the ditch blade is good for grass and some woody materials? Can the grass blade handle some woddy materials?
I'd use it mostly on grass, but there are some thick stems.
Thank you. Great article and post!

Do it!!! There is a whole section here on scythes, my experience is they are more versatile than string trimmers, you can get much bigger stuff than you can with a standard string trimmer. I think they like to classify things a lot more than is necessary when it comes to blades. The Important part to learn is how to sharpen and set up your edge geometry for the task at hand. you can set up a very fine edge on a thick brush blade or ditch blade that will cut grass, but you can also set up a thick edge on a grass blade and cut tough woody materials too, but you don't want to cut woody materials with an edge set up to cut grass. since your edge geometry gets thicker as you mow and hone, It's generally the practice to peen your blade to a fine edge for grass and then when you have been using it a while and it's getting a bit too thick to cut grass nicely, it's set up to be able to cut the weedy woody stuff. Then you can peen it back out to cut grass again.  I use a 50cm falci blade for mowing my garden paths because it's short, it was sold as more of a ditch style blade but I peened it out to a very thin grass cutting edge because my garden paths are mostly grass/clover. but it can still take out some small saplings around 1/2in if done with care. I use a 28in grass blade on the rest of the yard, and have been interested in getting a lighter, longer grass blade but at the same time im in a pretty hilly and bumpy area so I'm not 100% committed to that yet, the 28 does just fine
6 months ago
Very cool! thanks for sharing! I would guess based on what benjamin said, the austrian model blade should probably be peened
6 months ago
I have been doing some research into this as well, I think it would be generally better to approach people about "building a pond" instead of a "natural swimming pool, as that seems to add the idea of a premium kind of thing. that said, machines and experienced operators are very expensive and there is no getting around that. depending on your soil and everything (which will require some testing) you may not exactly need to line it at all, just have an experienced pond builder that knows what they are doing and have the appropriate siting and soil tests. I don't have experience lining ponds with bentonite, but i have experimented with it a little bit, here's one thing to consider: if you don't entirely cover the area that's lined it will remain incredibly slick forever. It is very slippery. so keep that in mind. Are you planning on having some kind of filtration for this or will it be more of a static pool? if so that changes how it's designed a little bit. Here are a few videos that might have some good relevant information for you:  <--this guy in the second video might be worth contacting, I know he did a nice pond in tennesee which you will see in the video there, he will have a lot more practical guidance than I can offer and he might even be kicking around on the forums here somewhere... also I hear sepp holzer has a book on pond building but I have not sought it out yet.
7 months ago

Mark Cunningham wrote:

Good luck with your build.

I had also planned to do the outward facing grip on mine. I think the trouble is more the one handle arrangement than anything, with two inward facing grips, you have more leverage in the upper handle to help control the horizontal balance of the blade, but in a single grip snath all the control over horizontal balance is in one hand and the other hand is more controlling the arc of the swing and the hight of blade lay. Ideally you should be able to push the blade with no adjustment to the horizontal balance, and it should just ride on the ground. Most of the single grip snaths I have seen were relatively straight though, I think mostly the purpose of having a bent snath is so that you can have your hands mostly level to allow a more comfortable grip on the upper grip, since it will be gripped with the hand on top. However a single grip snath is gripped on top with an underhand grip, unless the angle of the tang on the blade is very high or very low, or you really want an overhand grip, I think it would probably be better to be straight. Do you grip overhand or underhand with your upper hand on that snath you showed me? Here is some video of that same gal mowing with the single grip  
7 months ago

Erica Colmenares wrote:We're in an apartment in the Bellevue area of Nashville now, but our place is west of town. I'm camping out there now, but will message you when I am back home.

As for the tool, I mostly want something to help while I'm waiting for the scythe, but since the turkeys have eaten most of the cover crop seed, it's no longer emergent.  

The deer have been eating everything of mine so I feel you there. I'm in Goodlettsville, would love to meet some fellow permies and nerd out about scythes! We are mostly just hobby gardeners, feel free to shoot me a purple moosage or whatever if you feel like meeting up at some point, my wife and I would love to check out some farms too, we are thinking about getting more land at some point in the future.
7 months ago