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Jonm

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Don't ask me what can happen if you are not careful with a corded trimmer .....
Many years ago, pre RCD days, I read that most electrocutions with corded garden tools occurred not when the cable was cut but by picking up the severed cable. How stupid I thought.

Then I was out using my mains electric lawn scarifier, got the cable caught in it and reached to untangle it, and stopped before touching it, A near miss, good job I had read the article.
 
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harvestbarn

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I would suggest a brush cutter with a blade this will be the easiest solution and make short work of even a large area. Perhaps hire one if it will be a one off use. In my opinion bull bars are essential for ease of use.
 

Orraloon

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Many years ago, pre RCD days, I read that most electricutions with corded garden tools occurred not when the cable was cut but by picking up the severed cable. How stupid I thought.

Then I was out using my mains electric lawn scarifier, got the cable caught in it and reached to untangle it, and stopped before touching it, A near miss, good job I had read the article.
I managed to cut the cord on an electric hedge trimmer. At first I wondered why it had stopped then I noticed the cut off cable. Had enough respect for electricity not to touch anything. We dont have fuses in the plugs here so knew it would likely still be live. Its actually better now with a shorter flex as I can always see the connection to the extension cord and that reminds me to be careful about where the cord is laying.
Regards
John
 

Ttrees

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I have to sharpen the auld lads one soon, have these got a 13a plug?
I'd like to know some thoughts on what ye think about that.

Meant to get you a piccy of the one I have yesterday
Great for when you'd cut the arm of yourself with brambles if using anything shorter.
It was a bit longer but broke at the pin, a job for the saw that was.
SAM_4786.JPG


Thanks folks
Tom
 
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Sean Hellman

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Telling someone in the hand tool section to get and use electric tools! What is going on? Rather like telling someone with a nice collection of hand planes to get real and buy a planer thicknesser.

Sickles are great and work very well. Ignore most of what is said here. You want a full curved sickle, plenty of old english ones about. I remember linesmen clearing the verges with them as a kid and have used them on and off over the years myself. The same sickle can be used for cutting grass and for cutting hedges, Once you get use to them they are quick. You will need a cigar stone which is very rough and some canoe stones to sharpen them. You do need to maintain a good edge especially for grass.
This bloke only lives a few miles away from me and knows what he is doing with sickles
 

Phil Pascoe

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Many years ago, pre RCD days, I read that most electrocutions with corded garden tools occurred not when the cable was cut but by picking up the severed cable. How stupid I thought.

Then I was out using my mains electric lawn scarifier, got the cable caught in it and reached to untangle it, and stopped before touching it, A near miss, good job I had read the article.
I remember years ago seeing my uncle mowing a dew laden lawn pulling the mower until the flat connector parted. He was dancing around like whirling dervish - he picked up the mains end of the lead with the male part of the connector attached ...:oops:
 

heimlaga

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Around here one can still find a special sort of rather thick and solid sicle which was used for harvesting small twigs for animal fodder. They are sicles not billhooks. I should have one tucked away somewhere.
Normal sicles were used for harvesting grain and not much else.

In scandinavia all scythes and sicles are laminated with a strip of high carbon steel in the edge. The back is soft iron. They can be kept much sharper and will cut thin and sparse grass much more efficiently than the soft scythes used by southerners. Soft scythes are sharpened by cold hammering.
 

pe2dave

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I have to sharpen the auld lads one soon, have these got a 13a plug?
I'd like to know some thoughts on what ye think about that.

Meant to get you a piccy of the one I have yesterday
Great for when you'd cut the arm of yourself with brambles if using anything shorter.
It was a bit longer but broke at the pin, a job for the saw that was.


Thanks folks
Tom
I wouldn't call that a sickle.
 

pe2dave

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Around here one can still find a special sort of rather thick and solid sicle which was used for harvesting small twigs for animal fodder. They are sicles not billhooks. I should have one tucked away somewhere.
Normal sicles were used for harvesting grain and not much else.

In scandinavia all scythes and sicles are laminated with a strip of high carbon steel in the edge. The back is soft iron. They can be kept much sharper and will cut thin and sparse grass much more efficiently than the soft scythes used by southerners. Soft scythes are sharpened by cold hammering.
Wouldn't that be a scythe? 3 or 4' blade and long handle? Who works with a tiny tool, bent double, when you can cut sweep step cut sweep step. Keep that up all day (my grandad did).
 

pe2dave

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@Ttrees The video above makes a good point? Thinner, green stuff in the hedge - cut it with a ragged edged sickle, older woody stuff, use a hacking tool like the one you show?
"Saw with the sickle", i.e. attack with a very shallow angle. A billhook doesn't work like that IMHO.
 

Rorschach

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Telling someone in the hand tool section to get and use electric tools! What is going on? Rather like telling someone with a nice collection of hand planes to get real and buy a planer thicknesser.

Sickles are great and work very well. Ignore most of what is said here. You want a full curved sickle, plenty of old english ones about. I remember linesmen clearing the verges with them as a kid and have used them on and off over the years myself. The same sickle can be used for cutting grass and for cutting hedges, Once you get use to them they are quick. You will need a cigar stone which is very rough and some canoe stones to sharpen them. You do need to maintain a good edge especially for grass.
This bloke only lives a few miles away from me and knows what he is doing with sickles
I like that video, I don't agree with all his points but I like his attitude of "this is the way that works for me, if you want to do it your way, do it, I am sharing my opinions". That's a good way to live your life.
 

hairy

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20210917_133351.jpg


I bought three blades when I bought a new scythe from the man in my previous link about six years ago.
The only one I've used is between these two for rough growth but not woody stuff and works well.
The longest blade is supposed to be for grass, and wasn't the longest available at the time by any stretch.
I have a reprint photo taken a long time ago with a man walking down a field just cut with his scythe over his shoulder and the blade tip reaches down past his knees.
I'm sure it's easy to appreciate the longer the blade, the more you will be trying to cut which doesn't work if the vegetation is tougher than it can cope with. Hitting it harder will only work so far then the heel fitting snaps. New snath please.
 

pe2dave

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@hairy I was told to scythe through grass? Take a little, hook round it then slide the blade across it, max 20 or 30 degs from the blade edge. That way you cut it, rather than hack it. Same idea as with a plane run at an angle, much easier to cut.
 

hairy

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The snath is supposed to be adjusted to suit your height (its length, plus each handle height), then you learn to swing to keep the blade flat. You can't realistically change your swing to alter the angle the blade strokes what is infront of it? You can of course do that with a few swings at something specific, but as an hour after hour activity? The rythmic nature of the task is what many find appealing. You set the snath, chose your blade which determines the angle of how it cuts as well as how much it tries to cut with each swing (determined by blade shape as well as how the fitting end is bent, the two in the pic are a little different) and off you go.
A bigger say 3' blade set more openly for something not too dense and easily cut may take a 6"+ cut per sweep, the smaller thicker blade for denser growth may only take 2" both with the same swing.
If you try to change how you swing to suit what you're cutting you can't keep the blade parallel or flat to the ground, so the growth will be running up or down the blade and tear rather than the same part slicing along it (more scraping than slicing), and, less of an issue, your height of cut will be different within each sweep.
So if you try to open the blade to take more the tip will be up, trying for taking less each time the tip will be hitting ground every swing unless you are aiming to cut 6" off the ground which itself will feel weird.
It's supposed to be the case that when big houses employed folk who could scythe to cut a lawn before mowers, the height of cut was adjusted by the thickness of wood soles strapped under their footwear, not by their swing.
 

pe2dave

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I guess snath == scythe.
No disagreement on full size tools. Blade flat to the ground largely (not altogether) determines the cut.
That logic does not apply to a 'hand' tool such as a sickle, on a 12-15" handle?
From seeing people new to the sickle, it's the most common error, assuming using a sickle is like
using a razor.
 

heimlaga

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Wouldn't that be a scythe? 3 or 4' blade and long handle? Who works with a tiny tool, bent double, when you can cut sweep step cut sweep step. Keep that up all day (my grandad did).
A few did harvest oat and barley with a scythe and that practice became more common as time wore on and corn became less valuable. Though most harvesting was done working with a sicle and bent over almost double. The scythe wasted too much corn that fell off when cutting. Rye which was for centuries the most important corn could not be cut with a scythe because it grew around 1,8 metres tall and if you cut that with a scythe you got no proper bundles.
That is what the old people told me when I asked this question.
From the 1910-s and onwards most corn fields with road access were harvested using horse drawn sicle bar mowers (normally the one horse variety) fitted with a gate that collected the straws until there was enough for a bundle. Those mowers also got an extra seat for the helper who manouvered the gate. However sicles were used until well after the second world war to cut open a path for the horse pulling the mower when starting on a new field and also for roadless fields though those rapidly became fewer as more roads were built.

I suppose people further south like in England for instance used scythes all the way. They seemingly did not mind wasting a bit of corn and they did not grow that much rye.
 

richarddownunder

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Advice wanted regarding a Sickle. Small overgrown lawn / small hedges to cut.
'Novice' to the sickle-hence questions:

a) Serrated blade v Non serrated blade?
b) There's a lot for sale under £10---any good? (You get what you pay for)?
c) Fully 'curved' blade?
d ) Any recommendations regarding make / where to buy a quality one?
e) Best type of sharpening stone--what is it made off?

Many thanks.
Depends on length of grass and size of lawn...I use a very traditional smooth-edge sickle (dont have a scythe) to hack down long grass for our alpacas - its sort of effective to get handfulls of grass. Its hard going. I have a petrol scrub cutter and lawnmowers (but our lawn is not small). As others have said, I'd just borrow or hire a scrub cutter and then use a mower. As for a small hedge, hand shears are fine and are easy to find second hand. You only need motorised clippers if you have a lot of hedge.

Cheers
Richard
 

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