Why We Use Maine White Ash for Our Snaths

For centuries White Ash (Fraxinus americana L.) has been known as the standard wood for tools used under stress - oars, canoe paddles, baseball bats, hockey sticks, axe handles, hammer handles, peavey handles, snaths.

White Ash is lighter than other common “tool” woods. It has high strength and durability. One of its great advantages is that it is flexible and bends under stress long before it breaks. Other woods may be stronger but are more brittle. Ash’s limberness keeps much of the shock of mowing, especially brush scything, from reaching the mower. The heartwood of the white ash is brown, and the sapwood is light-colored or nearly white. Cutting a snath blank along the line between heartwood and sapwood leads to some beautiful patterns of brown and white.

Density of common “handle” woods @ 12% moisture, from the lightest to the heaviest:

  • Ash – 42 lb/cu ft
  • Sugar Maple – 44 lb/cu ft
  • White Oak – 45 lb/cu ft
  • Shagbark Hickory - 50 lb/cu ft

Perry Maine Snaths weigh an average of 2-1/2 lbs. Mount our 26” Scythe Supply standard grass blade on the snath and the total weight of the scythe is only 3-1/2 lbs. With our heaviest bush blade that weight is still only 4-1/2 lbs. Some other snaths alone weight that much or more.

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