How to Use a Scythe

Are you looking to create a sustainable, low-maintenance, and natural form of land management for your yard or garden? If so, then learning how to use a scythe may be just the answer. Scythes have been used in farming practices since ancient times and remain one of the most efficient ways to regulate plant growth and maintain land health without relying on unnatural input.

How to Use a Scythe

Whether you’re a seasoned farmer or simply want to exercise while tending your garden, here are the basics of using a scythe.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the history of scythes and provide detailed instructions on how to use them safely and effectively. Read on to learn all about this timeless tool!

What are the Benefits of Using a Scythe?

Scythes are incredibly versatile tools that can be used in various ways. Some main benefits of using a scythe include improved land management, even cutting, and low-maintenance upkeep.

Scythes can easily cut through long grasses and weeds without uprooting them from the ground. This allows you to create clear pathways and prevent overgrowth, all while maintaining the natural environment. Additionally, scythes provide an even cut that is more aesthetically pleasing than motorized machines.

Furthermore, scythes require very little upkeep and no fuel or electricity. This makes them incredibly cost-effective as well as eco-friendly!

What Will You Need?

When using a scythe, having the proper equipment and safety gear is important. Here are some of the items you’ll need:

  • Scythe
  • Mowing Sickle (optional)
  • Gloves
  • Long Pants
  • Protective Eyewear
  • Ear Protection (optional)

Once you have all of the necessary tools, you are ready to get started.

10 Easy Steps on How to Use a Scythe

Step 1. Position Your Feet Correctly:

Stand sideways to your intended path with your feet shoulder-width apart. The foot closer to the direction you want to swing the scythe should be slightly ahead. Additionally, be sure to keep your back straight and your arms loose.

Swing the Scythe Should Be Slightly Ahead

Step 2. Grip the Handle:

Grip the handle of the scythe firmly with both hands. Place one hand close to the blade while the other should be a few inches from it. The farther you are from the blade, the easier it will be to swing it.

Step 3. Swing the Scythe:

Start by slowly swinging the scythe horizontally from right to left. The motion should be smooth and fluid, originating from your hips and transferring to your arms. The scythe should be kept close to the ground, just grazing the grass’s tips.

Remember, the power should come from your body’s rotation, not your arms. Avoid forcing the scythe through the grass; let the blade’s sharpness and your body’s momentum do the work. This will ensure an efficient cut and reduce fatigue.

Step 4. Adjust Your Stance:

After every swing, take a small step forward with the foot farthest from the blade. This movement should be synchronized with your swinging motion, allowing you to cover more ground with each swing. Remember to maintain your foot positioning relative to your swing path and to keep your feet shoulder-width apart to ensure stability.

Step 5. Rhythm and Consistency:

Find a rhythm that suits your pace and energy levels. Consistency is key when using a scythe. Maintaining a consistent, smooth, and rhythmic swing will reduce strain on your body, achieve more efficient cuts, and increase your overall scything productivity.

Step 6. Honing the Blade:

Maintaining the sharpness of your scythe’s blade is essential for effective cutting. After every few swings or when the cuts start to become less efficient, pause to hone the blade.

Maintaining the Sharpness of Your Scythe's Blade

Use a wet stone, holding it at an approximately 20-degree angle to the blade and sliding it along the edge smoothly. A sharp blade makes the task easier and promotes safer use of the tool. Remember, a dull blade can cause you to exert more force, increasing the risk of accidents.

Step 7. Clearing Cut Grass:

After a few swings, you’ll notice the cut grass accumulating on your blade or falling in your path. It’s important to clear this debris regularly to maintain the efficiency of your cutting and prevent any potential safety hazards. Push the cut grass away from your path using a gentle brushing motion with your hand or a tool. Be sure to wear your gloves while doing this to avoid any accidental injuries.

Step 8. Take Breaks:

Using a scythe is a physical activity that can be quite taxing, especially for beginners. It’s important to take regular breaks to rest and prevent exhaustion. During these breaks, you can also check your blade for any nicks or damage and hone it if necessary. By pacing yourself, you can ensure a more enjoyable and productive scything experience.

Step 9. Safety First:

Always prioritize your safety when using a scythe. Keep your working area clear of obstacles and ensure you have a clear view of your swing path. Be aware of other people, especially children and pets, and ensure they stay at a safe distance while you’re scything.

Step 10. Clean and Store:

Once you’re done scything for the day, clean your blade thoroughly to remove any debris or grass sap. Dry it properly to prevent rust formation. For storage, consider using a blade cover to protect the sharp edge and store your scythe in a dry, safe place away from children’s reach.

Clean Your Blade Thoroughly

By following these steps, you can safely and effectively use a scythe. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon be an expert in no time! Now that you know the basics, why not give it a try?

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Before using a scythe, make sure to sharpen the blade. The best way to do this is with an oilstone or a file made specifically for sharpening scythes.
  2. As you use the scythe, monitor the angle of the blade so it remains at about 45 degrees relative to your body. This will help ensure your safety while using the tool.
  3. If the blade is no longer sharp, use a whetstone to sharpen it again. This can help keep the scythe in good condition and allow you to cut more efficiently.
  4. To protect your hands as you work, wear heavy gloves. Additionally, wear long sleeves and pants to prevent cuts from the blade if it slips during use.
  5. Ensure that the blade is firmly attached to the handle. If it becomes loose, tighten any bolts or screws with a properly sized wrench. This will help you work safely and ensure the scythe remains in good condition for future use.

With these additional tips and tricks, you’ll surely have a safe and successful experience using a scythe. Keep in mind that practice makes perfect – it may take some time before you feel comfortable working with the tool.

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Never use a scythe while wearing sandals or open-toed shoes – it is important to keep your feet protected at all times.
  2. Refrain from using a scythe on wet grass, as this can cause the blade to become dull more quickly.
  3. Avoid allowing the scythe’s blade to come in contact with rocks, roots, or other hard objects as this can damage the scythe and make it difficult to use.
  4. Never attempt to use a scythe that is not properly sharpened or maintained – this can put you at risk of injury.
  5. Don’t sharpen the blade when it is hot from use – wait for it to cool down before attempting to sharpen it.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your scythe stays in good condition and you stay safe while using it. You can become an expert at using this versatile tool with some practice!

Is Scythe Good for Beginners?

The answer is yes! A scythe can be a great tool for beginners just starting with gardening or landscaping. It’s relatively easy to learn how to use and maintain, although it does take some practice before you feel comfortable using it. And since it is such a versatile tool, it can be used in various settings.

Whether you’re looking for a way to keep your lawn neat or an efficient way to clear brush and weeds from your garden beds, the scythe is a great option for beginners. With proper maintenance and use, it can last you many years as well!

Clear Brush and Weeds From Your Garden


As you can see, how to use a scythe is far more simple than it looks! It’s just a matter of keeping a few key things in mind: make sure the scythe is sharpened and keep your posture in mind to avoid fatigue. With regular practice and following the correct maintenance methods, you’ll be reaping easily. If you’re new to scything, start small and take your time; keep going if it takes several attempts to get it right.

Remember, practice makes perfect! Scything is an ancient skill that can offer satisfaction through cutting grass effectively and providing some physical exercise important for our physical and mental health.

So go out there, sharpen your scythe, and re-connect with nature—it’ll do the world of good!

Photo of author

Enrique Howard

Hi, I am Enrique. I started my professional life as a handyman and did a lot of external and internal repair of home and office with a little bit of electric and plumbing support. I have extensive experience in tools testing such as drilling, turning, milling, and non-conventional machining like EDM. So let me help you on your journey towards becoming an enlightened DIYer with amazing tools that you can use on your project.

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