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Sickles, Scythes & Slashers

Allotment Sickles, Scythes & Slashers

Some first time plot owners are faced with a plot covered in weeds and tall grass and need a tool to clear the 'jungle' so they can start cultivating. Sickles or grass hooks and scythes are the solution.
The sickle or grass hook is a hand held curved blade on a wooden handle that is designed to cut tall grass and weeds while bending over.
A scythette has the same curved blade but it is mounted on a longer handle so that it can be used standing up.
The slasher is a flat double sided blade with a long handle that can be used standing up.

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How to Choose and Use Sickles, Scythes & Slashers

Using a Weed Slasher The history of the sickle dates back to 8000 BC when it was used to harvest grain, the curved blade design has not changed much since then. the stems are cut close to the ground with a hooking motion. The sickle cutting action is most effective when the stems present some resistance ie near the ground.
If you try to use a sickle to cut stems halfway up the stem they will not work very well, the stems move out of the way of the blade and it will not cut them, just push them aside.
Good for working small areas at a time, or areas in confined spaces.
The scythe is an ancient tool replaced by horse-drawn and now tractor based reapers, but it is still used in some areas of Europe and Asia. The blade can be from 24" to 36" long mounted on a long handle and was used to clear large areas of grass or grain.
The traditional full size scythe is probably not required within the confines of a plot however a modern day smaller equivalent is available. It is called a scythette for obvious reasons, and has a smaller blade and 95 cm handle making it ideal for plot grass and weed clearance. It is used standing up and walking along using a left to right swinging motion close to the ground, again to give the blade some resistance. The blade is one sided so only cuts in the direction of swing.
Similar to a scythette but with a double sided blade. It is used in the same way as a scythette, walking along swinging the blade back and forth across the stems, close to the ground. Its major advantage is that the blade cuts both directions when swinging back and forth. It is good for clearing large areas of grass or weeds and can cope with thicker stems.

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