Blade Selection Guidelines
We carry an extensive line of blades both left-hand and right-hand. They come in a variety of styles, weights and lengths to suit different tasks and mower’s preferences. If you would like some friendly advice or guidance in making a choice, please let us know and we will be happy to help. Following are a few guidelines to help you choose the type blade you need.
Grass blades are our most popular type. They are used for mowing hay fields, grain harvesting, and maintaining lawns. Convenient lengths range from 22 to 36 inches. Length selection depends on the area to cut, ground conditions, the type of grass among other considerations. The shorter sizes work well for small areas and in tight quarters, such as clearing around buildings, garden edges or between garden beds. The longer grass blades cut a wide swath for mowing large fields, lawns or harvesting grain. Grass blades are beautifully formed, graceful, thin and light, strong and resilient. A 36-inch blade weighs only 21 ounces. Grass blades are a joy to use and once you begin mowing, are hard to put down.
Bush blades are built short, stocky and strong for the hard work of cutting woody plants. Blade lengths run from 16 inches to 20 inches. Use bush blades to thin saplings in a woodlot or to keep back small trees encroaching on a field or woods road, trail maintenance, for clearing brush and heavy weeds. The weight of these blades, as much as two pounds, provides momentum to slice through woody plants. These blades will mow grass but are too heavy and short for efficiency at that task.
Ditch blades fall between the grass and bush blades in heft and sturdiness. Stronger than grass blades and slightly heavier, ditch blades mow grass well plus heavy weeds and light brush (up to ¼” diameter). They will not stand up to the abuse of thick woody stems like the bush blade. Ditch blades are versatile and used in places where the mower encounters a variety of plants such as the edges of field and woods or roadside ditches. They are excellent for mowing hay fields, as well.
A Special Note on Blade Length for New Mowers about Longer Blades
We consider long blade lengths to be 30 inches or more. At first glance it seems the longer the blade the more area that can be cut in less time. This is true when the scythe is in the hands of an experienced mower. For mowing large areas we find that most people are more successful with a 28" blade. This is particularly true for new mowers.
Long blades require very good mowing technique. Long blades create greater drag, so take more energy. Your swing has to be easy, light and smooth with a steady rhythm. You have to make use of your body mass to help carry the blade through the grass. The blade has to slice (see our Stroke Workshop). If you force the blade, especially in heavy, dense stands of grass, the blade won't cut well. It catches in the grass and the scythe moves with a jerky motion. The mower tires very quickly. Large areas often are more efficiently mown with a shorter blade. Twenty-four inch to twenty-eight inch blades are good choices. Bear in mind, most people are not going to mow an acre a day. Most mowers will harvest only a small portion of that area at a time so a shorter blade suits the conditions better.
It is true that anyone can learn to scythe with what ever length blade they choose. After many years of helping people learn to mow we have found it is best for new mowers to learn on blades shorter than 30".
If you would like help in deciding if a long blade makes sense for you please call us at (207) 853-4750 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Order blades on our blades page .
Blade covers are available for all blade sizes.
Click here for a discussion on snath selection.
Left Hand Blades
Right Hand Blades