Scythe Buyers' Guide
Yes, we do understand that the diversity of blades listed here may be confusing, and making a choice seems overwhelming. Why so many blades - and which is right for you??
We have written numerous essays in order to help clarify various technical issues pertaining to blade choices -- and strongly urge you to read them BEFOREHAND; they may be found here. If, however, you would rather not read anything beyond the actual product descriptions (some people have told us they "don't have time"), then we can only help you so much... In that case you still have at least two options: purchase a scythe from a source where choices are simpler -- or simply consider this catalogue the equivalent of walking, somewhat uninformed, into respective specialty stores handling shoes, bicycles, fishing equipment, etc. Do the people operating them (unsure as they may be of their customers competence to make the best choice) offer only one or two models/versions of each of their respective items? Of course not. Amongst the mail-order tool suppliers, for instance, Lee Valley Tools presents 200 different chisels to their woodworking customers, Lehman's Non-Electric catalogue carries over 70 different lamp shades and the online knife-specialty sources can make a knife-eyeing amateur quite dizzy with options. The examples are endless.Well, we break the established rules when it comes to scythes and join the complexity-prone crowd. We feel justified doing so, because we've put considerably more energy towards educating the public about scythes than selling them. We also do not sell anything (to the point of turning down a potential sale) that we think may be a poor choice (or a needless addition) for any specific customer -- an approach requiring also more time than has been accepted as "realistic". Given such guidelines, offering many choices is only natural. Although such diversity is not necessary, our selection, as we see it, ought to be viewed as a temporary scythe-lover's treat. (Read more)
For blade descriptions click here.
If it interests you to know why some blades of the same length and with the same labels are priced differently, here is an explanation.
#00 - " Hand-Powered Weed Whacker" (see description page)
#0 - "The Learning Blade" - SOLD OUT
These blades are leftover inventory from Green River Tools (the company founded by David Tresemer). Made in the late 1970s by BTSU of Germany, the workmanship is first class and fully on par with #10. This one has a slightly thicker and thereby stronger body with factory prepared bevel
Classical Iranian blade pattern. Made in Austria in 1983. We recommend these light blades for sensible folks (with less brawn than brain) and for children. (Our farm's working scythes are equipped primarily with blades of this weight per length.)
Made in Germany for the Belgian market more than 40 years ago. Read also the descriptions for #19 and #30.
Close to age and quality of #16, this is still a bargain in now non-existent workmanship. Its tang (acutely tilted toward the point) does not make it a good match to the common snath models as they are. However, should you retrofit them -- or for a homemade snath of any style, albeit one with ergonomically placed grips -- this tilted tang feature is excellent.
#5 - Sold out
#6 - Sold out
#7 - Sold out
#9 - Sold out
#10 - Sold out
Underneath the pretty fairy-tale label is an example of now-obsolete workmanship. (The caption in German reads, "Jokele, you go on ahead. You have the best blade.") Although this could be said of many blades in our present selection, in some cases it is more so than others...
These were made in the late 1970s for Argentina, where they served as the general-purpose blade. According to the somewhat arbitrary classification of blade types presently used (an issue we address here), this fits somewhere in the "ditch" category. For the economically-oriented mower, these blades are a bargain.
#12 - Sold out
For similar purposes as #12, with slightly more weight and length. The steeper tang is more suited to taller people and/or straight snaths.
#14 - Sold out
#15 - Sold out
#16 - Sold out
#17 - Sold out
From our present listing this is probably the most abuse-tolerant blade. We could call it a hefty "grass" blade (because you can peen its edge thin enough to cut a lawn) or a "ditch" blade (because most ditches can be cleaned up with it) or even a "bush" blade (because, given good technique, green saplings of most woody species can be cut without damaging it).
#19 - Sold out
#20 - Sold out
We wish we could offer these (especially in the "B" version which is older) in every length from 55 to 90 cm because they represent about as ideal a weight/length/strength relationship as any scythe blade. But we can't; made from 30 to 40 years ago, these are the last of them to be had...forever.
Previously we had another nice blade (now listed as #100 in the Italian blades section) in this place. This trio of light short blades might look too delicate for cutting the odd sapling and various weeds in tight places but that exactly was their application 50 years ago. However, we consider them to be too special to be recommended for insensitive hands. Made by Sonnleithner of Austria in the early 1960s -- the era of superb workmanship.
#23 - Made in 1979 for Spain. (Tang is stamped with Spanish inches which are longer i.e. 20" = 53cm) The 16" is a slightly heavier model. Fine example of Austrian workmanship of that era.
#24 - Sold out
A trimming blade with a rather highly elevated Alpine-style point. Product of South Germany's industry of mid to late 1960s, an era of still superb workmanship. Appropriately strong neck and back but with a thinner body than #12 or #27 and thus not recommended for rough hands.
#27 - Sold out
#29 - Sold out
In contrast to the only other 75cm blade we presently offer (#2 - which is about as light as a scythe blade could be made today), this one is as strong in the back and neck as a 75cm ever needs to be.
Stronger than necessary for what would probably be considered an average scythe task -- but within the category evidently popular by the average user on this continent today.
32, 32, 34....
A French model made by Schroekenfux (Austria) in 1982.
A slight variation of #35, a little older and with its point somewhat more elevated.
Italian-made Scythe blades
#101, #102, #103 and #109 are of contemporary production; the rest are left over from the period between approximately 5 and 40 years ago. All, in our opinion, are fine pieces of steel to have mounted on the end of a snath. Their weight is in all the right places (meaning the necks are strong and the points light), the overall tension excellent and the workmanship beautiful.
We had previously listed this blade as #22, but because it was made in Italy, we have now moved it to this section with its "blood family". It is of a somewhat recent production, but is one of the models now discontinued from Falci's standard program. This is the blade we used in the "brush" cutting demo and how we described it last year:
Along with #102 and #104 this model has been popular in Northern Italy and many other Alpine regions.
Recent production of one of the most popular contemporary (albeit by design very old) models. Neither extremely light nor unnecessarily heavy, it is, in our view, a blade with a rather universal applicability.
Similar pattern to our Austria-made blade #2, this is a typically "Eastern" model (Romania, Turkey, Iran, etc.) The tang, however, is too acutely hafted to function well on most common snaths. (More on this later)
With somewhat more elevated and straighter point than was typically used in much of Italy; more of an Alpine-style model (seen here dressed in two editions).
Why the image of a North American Native (who had no use for a scythe) would be used as a trademark is quite beyond us. Interestingly, both Austrian and German industries once did the same thing -- and on blade models which this continent never saw. This specific model is as typically Italian as the original version of lasagna. The body is rather flat, stiff and with a low point. (As explained elsewhere on this site, it is easier to cut a stubble without "steps" with a low-pointed blade than with for instance the classical Austrian pattern.)
This is a special edition of nearly the same model as #105, really a collector's item. (Very limited supply).
Very similar to #105 and 106, but of still older (30+ years) production.
Dressed the same as #101, this is nevertheless a different model which, along with #109, are amongst the "ditch" blades most widely used in Italy today.
Another Indian portrait on a more contemporary blade. Similar to #108 but a little lighter; otherwise the description above applies.
(click for more photos)
Practically the same model as #102, but approximately 40 years old. An extraordinarily beautiful as well as high quality blade. The iridescent finish (once used by Austrian makers as well) is now a thing of the past.
Whenever intentional communities, transition town groups, etc. plan to organize hands-on workshops and/or just want to have on hand several "practice scythes" for visitors or beginners to try out, we can put together diverse packages at a discount off our regular prices.