The Scythe Book: Mowing Hay, Cutting Weeds, and Harvesting Small Grains, With Hand Tools (Anglais) Broché – 31 décembre 2001
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The original text by Dave Tresemer has not been re-edited. It is still a good introduction to this wonderful tool. The core of the new edition is the addendum by Peter Vido. Peter is extraordinarily dedicated to the scythe as both a practical tool and as a model of wisely applied human engineering. Peter shows us how complex and subtle this simple tool can be. The depth of his knowledge may overwhelm the uninitiated on first reading, but as your experience grows with this tool, Peter's commentary becomes increasingly valuable. There is a lot of important information packed into this addendum and any scythe enthusiast will learn much from this master.
The European scythe accomplishes more than the mundane job of cutting grass. It offers us an opportunity to step away from the craziness of American lawn culture. It gives us the space in which to breathe, listen and explore our own rhythms without burning gasoline. This book is the place to begin.
The terminology is standard, though it is a little inaccurate. The 'European' scythe is hammer forged from a bar stock. The 'American' is stamped and formed from sheet material. So the scythe the author is so fond of is a hammer forged scythe. Simple as that. Europe really has no claim to it.
Here's the basics to using a scythe:
Adjust it so that you are standing and the blade is just slightly tilted up at the edge.
Cut the grass when it is wet.
Keep the blade close to the ground, actually just riding lightly over the ground.
Swing the blade pointy end first. Don't slash like using a sword, but slice like cutting bread.
Cut only a few inches at a time.
What the book does have is a very in depth description of the history of the scythe, including a discussion of early short handled sickles, the steps involved in crafting a scythe, harvesting techniques and quotes about harvesting from a wide variety of literary sources. After reading this book, I'm thinking about hunting down a copy of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina just to read the sections on harvesting.
I was hoping for a little more "how to" info, but I think perhaps that is best obtained from an experienced user who can not only show you how to do it but critique what you're doing as you do it. The basics are here to get you started, and the author's passion for hand tools is obvious. Keep your blades sharp and your back strong and you'll be surprised what you can accomplish.