The Garden Guide

Scythes and Sickles - review

Return to Garden Tools Home

Sycthes are two-handed clearing tools predominantly used for cutting away grass and weeds. A scythe can also be used to harvest grain crops and spinach. The handle of a scythe is known the snath. The cutting motion of a scythe is a rotating, sweeping motion. There are powerful reasons to consider using a scythe over a strimmer. Using a scythe makes no noise, no pollution, and, once you have mastered the art of using the tool, may well be quicker than using and maintaining a power tool. Furthermore, scythes are less bulky to store and look infinitely more elegant.

Hand-forged Austrian scythes are recognised as the best quality sycthes. These scythes are lighter than English and American blades with a thinner (and consequently lighter) blade. A lighter blade in turn means that the snath can be lighter. The Austrian scythe is suitable for cutting plants of up to a year's growth, though is not suitable for cutting woody growth.

Keep the blade of your scythe sharp as this will minimise the effort required to cut.

The Sickle is a similar tool to a sycthe but is a one-handed tool. The gardener must bend over to use a sickle, unlike a scythe. The sickle has the advantage that it can be used in smaller spaces where there would not be room to swing a scythe.


Woman moving grass with a scythe