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Author Topic: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?  (Read 1750 times)

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Offline maple flats

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Re: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2020, 11:18:21 AM »
If used properly a scythe is easy to use, but form is the key. The swing is at a twisting of the lower back (50%) and the arms (50%). I don't think anyone with a lower back issue would be able to do it. By the way, I have at least 5 scythes, some are much lighter than the others, but none are light.
However, a good sharp scythe will trim far better and faster than any weed trimmer, in the right hands. Even at 73 I can still cut with a scythe for about 30 minutes at a time, but not on over grown weeds, timely cutting is the key. My Dad (born in 1912) and moved from a coal mining community to a poor farm at age 9 taught me how to use and sharpen a scythe. I don't use it for field cutting but I use it to clean around a pond, next to buildings and near fences.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2020, 06:10:06 PM »
Other than the "misery whip) AKA 6' or longer, crosscut saw the only thing that comes to mind is the scythe.
Used only sparingly in my youth, as I ran and tried to hidewhen my dad "suggested" I mow our lower 1/2 acre garden spot around the edges.
When I was a young man working in western Albany county NY in the early to mid 60s there was an older, probably in his late 60s or early 70s man named Adam Messer that was hired by the local town to mow the roadside of the road he lived on using this abominable tool. 
I would see him working along slowly and sometimes he was sharpening the awful tool.
Also when young, I remember seeing a good number of cradle scythes another tool of Satan that must have been absolute torture to use.
Imagine a 4 to 6 pound scythe with the "cradle" attached weighing another 4 or 5 pounds to harvest grain.
When the cradle was full it must have weighed plenty
Those folks were a lot ruggeder than me and I suspect most of us on the forum.
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Online sawguy21

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Re: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2020, 07:16:58 PM »
Misery whip, that is another tool I learned to avoid. You are right Pete, they were a tough lot but used what was available. No wonder the gas powered trimmer and combine were invented. ;D
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Offline LaneC

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Re: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2020, 09:52:08 PM »
   Thanks for the offer Oliver, I appreciate it. I may have to wait til this winter and burn them. it will not be a big problem. thanks to everyone for the replies.
Man makes plans and God smiles

Offline Kindlinmaker

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Re: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2020, 06:33:40 PM »
Certainly not an option if a gas trimmer is problematic.  I never mastered the scythe but admired watching my father handle one.  It wasn’t a pure back twisting motion but rather a reach, draw and turn motion all at once.  And it was not only cutting but also laying in clean row for drying and efficient raking when used for harvesting.  Like so many tools of that era, hard on their bodies but an absolute pleasure to observe; a working man’s ballet.

Online farmfromkansas

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Re: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?
« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2020, 09:58:09 PM »
My dad had a scythe hanging on the wall of his shed, but I never once saw him get it down and use it.  Lots of times remember him hooking up his #8 John Deere 7' sickle mower. He had a mounted model, had blocks that bolted to the tractor and round shafts that the mower hooked onto. One old antique he ran was a Jayhawk stacker.  He would use a dump rake to windrow the hay, then drive down the windrows till the stacker was full, then dump it on a pile.  My job was to take a pitchfork and move the hay around a little bit and stay on top of the pile, and pack it down with my feet.  Dirty job, and I probably was not the best stacker, but it made hay. Once the top was rounded off, he would tie wire between 2 hedge posts and throw them across the stack to hold the hay down.  
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Offline maple flats

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Re: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2020, 08:48:00 PM »
My dad mowed the hay for a 25 cow farm, along with 2 brothers thru the 1920's and half way thru the 30's using a scythe. Then they got a 5' sickle bar horse drawn mower. I forget the model#. Then when I was 7 they sold their cows, when the NYS Thruway (Interstate 90) split their farm in half, making it far too long a trip to run the doodlebug tractor, pulling the now shortened pole 5' mower to go around to cut over half of their hay ground. After that dad continued to mow the fields on the north side of the thruway once a year, but the south side grew into brush and is now a woods, over 65 years later.
I now just practice using a scythe enough to re-acquaint myself with it and to trim around a pond once every 2-3 years. I used to trim some fence lines but I now use my weedbadger with a 25" hydraulically driven mower head, mounted on a small diesel tractor. On that there is a joy stick control that extends or retracts the mower head 12". It is mounted on the 3 pt hitch and the mower head extends up the right side so it is at the middle of the tractor, beside the driver. That tractor has 12 speed gearing and I can run it as slow as needed to maintain good control. Much easier and faster than a scythe.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline RAYAR

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Re: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2020, 09:26:30 PM »
I own a couple , both hay and brush scythes, and use them on occasion. Knowing how to use and sharpen them is an art unto itself. Also a great body workout.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2020, 04:50:01 AM »
I remember mother's uncle well into his senior years still using one of those old scythes out on the perimeter of his field knocking down aspen suckers and hawthorns. He was more stubborn and a tight wad than any man you'll ever come across. ;D Never wanted a wood splitter neither, but didn't mind using one when my uncle brought one along to split his firewood. :D He was a rail road man, and he can't blame it on the depression, he had steady weekly pay. Counting it on the weekend and crying over the interest. Happy tears, not depression.  :D He sure knew how to skin animal fur though, and how to repair it if it was tore up with floss so you'd never see it. He was better than a surgeon of the day, many folks would swear to that.
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Offline K-Guy

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Re: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2020, 12:58:48 PM »
I sold mine when the hospital sent me a restraining order , stopping me from hanging around the doors wearing a black robe and holding it!  :D ::)
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Offline Gere Flewelling

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Re: Does anyone use a scythe regularly?
« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2020, 04:33:21 PM »
I remember my grandfather used one often.  He was an old potato farmer from northern Maine.  He was retired when I was a young fella.  He used to live with us part of the summer.  He had an old scythe that he always brought with him.  He couldn't bend down very well to pull weeds in the garden, but if that weed was a couple of inches tall it got pruned back with the scythe with the precision of a fine surgeon. He had the hand sharpening thing down to a science.  Just a couple of whips with the stone singing over the blade and that thing would cut even the finest lawn grass with just a swipe.  I can make a scythe work (I still have his) but I can't sharpen it like he could to save my life.  Great memories though.  Thanks! 
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Who does this regularly?

Started by kelLOGg on Sawmills and Milling

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Last post November 10, 2013, 05:16:38 PM
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