Please note, that categorizing the blades as Field, Trim, Brush etc. is only an indication for intended use of the described blade. In practical application the use of a blade can overlap or vary depending on various conditions, needs and the user's tool sense.
#00 - The Hand-Powered Weed Whacker
Although we consider the term “weeds” when used with reference to plants an inappropriate one, the moniker “21st Century Weed Whacker” was coined by us. It is meant as a satirical acknowledgment of the fact that a significant portion of the North American scythe-owners-to-be tell us that they’ve grown tired of breathing the fumes of the string trimmer and their primary reason for obtaining this tool is to “knock down some weeds”.
Using the common terminology, this could be referred to as a light “brush” blade, heavy “ditch” blade or a “forest culture” blade. (All of these terms are only somewhat accurate at best, and misguiding at worst. See: What in the World is a Grass Blade) Nothing like the workmanship of say #24, it nevertheless is a perfectly functional blade which will fill the need of the economy-minded and can also readily be used for the practice of peening. (Should you mess it up, simply file or grind off the 2mm of the edge and have another go at it. In no case, by the way, should beginners attempt to peen a zone wider than that!!)
#2 - Field, Lawn
Classical Iranian blade pattern. Made in Austria in 1983. We recommend these light blades for sensible folks and for children. This model is one of the lightest weight-per-length we sell.
#3 - 50 cm - Trim, Brush; 70 cm - Field
Made in Germany for the Belgian market more than 40 years ago. Strong blade with fine edge, initially not well suited for cutting of fibrous material. Fits well on straight, one-grip snath.
#6 - Trim, Brush
Made by Redtenbacher in Austria, a fine ditch blade.
#10 - Universal
Excellent German workmanship from early 60s
#11 - Tough
These were made in the late 1970s for Argentina, where they served as the general-purpose blade. This fits somewhere in the "ditch" category. For the economically-oriented mower, these blades are a bargain.
#12 - Strong Ditch, Brush
Made by Redtenbacher in Austria in early 80s for the French market. Definitely a strong blade.
#13 - Tough Brush
The steeper tang is more suited to taller people and/or straight snaths.
#16 - Field
A fine blade, made in Germany 40+ years ago.
#20 - Universal
Wide but light, an excellent quality, made more then 60 years ago.
#21 - Universal
These represent about as ideal a weight/length/strength relationship as any scythe blade, made from 30 to 40 years ago.
#23 - Trim, Light Brush
Made in 1979 for Spain. (Tang is stamped with Spanish inches which are longer i.e. 20" = 53cm) The 16" is a slightly heavier model. Fine example of Austrian workmanship of that era.
#24 - Trim
Excellent quality, produced in South Germany more than 60 years
#25 - Trim
55cm Schwarzwald - A trimming blade with a rather highly elevated Alpine-style point. Product of South Germany's industry of mid to late 1960s, an era of still superb workmanship. Appropriately strong neck and back but with a thinner body and thus not recommended for rough hands.
#28 - Strong Field
An example of Austrian workmanship its best in late 1950s.
#30 - Strong Field
This one is as strong in the back and neck as a 75cm ever needs to be. Whatever is explained about blade #19, in principle applies to this blade; all are the product of the same enterprise during approximately the same period. All are very strong but come with edges initially not well suited for cutting of fibrous material.
The next three listings (#31, 32, 33) are for those “tough weed”-cutting folks who can appreciate fine workmanship.
#31 - Medium Brush, Trim
Stronger than necessary for “average” scythe tasks but of the category evidently popular with Americans. What category is that? (Ditch blade note)
Made in Austria in the early ‘60s. This is older, better quality than I had listed previously.
#32 - Strong
Even though the label claims these to be a product of a Danish company, they were made during the ‘60s by the same (German) enterprise which forged the blades we list as #3, #16, #21, #28 and #30. Intended for the Danes who -- relative to most other scythe-using cultures -- preferred relatively heavy blades, this is one of the strongest blades we presently list, and among a small handful of the best as far as quality of workmanship is concerned.
#33 - Beautiful, Trim, Medium Brush
An example of the Austrian scythe industry’s best work. It is rare to find blades produced since the ‘60s which have the hammer-marks of the so-called “decorative tensioning” (which has a decided function too) placed with the precision of these ones, made in 1957. Will this workmanship alone make a better mower out of you? Certainly not. Is this now a piece of history and something to treasure? Undoubtedly so. In relation to the level of dedication to excellence of today’s scythe industry, these blades can only be priced somewhat arbitrarily...if that explanation makes any sense.
#35 - Trim, Universal
A French model made by Schroekenfux (Austria) in 1982.
#36 - Field
Turkensense, an excellent quality, made in the late 1950s by BTSU of Germany. A wide, yet relatively light blade suitable for a field work.
The blades listed from #100 and on were all made in Italy.
#103 - Field
Light, yet plenty strong, with the curved point, current Falci production.
#108 - Trim
Also current Falci production, nice light trimming blade.
#110 - Trim, Universal
Don Bosco, one of the favorite Italian saints...
#111 - Field
Neither extremely light nor unnecessarily heavy, it is, in our view, a blade with a rather universal applicability. Approximately 40 years old. An extraordinarily beautiful as well as high quality blade. The iridescent finish (once used by Austrian makers as well) is now a thing of the past.
#122 - Heavy brush, Bush
This blade is ready for some tough work.
The Sickle Descriptions
#1 -These are from Turkey (although we obtain them from their importer to Germany). They are lightweight, forged sickles, and fully serviceable -- even if not quite on par with today's Italian production, nor the old ones made in Germany. (Smooth edged, forged, off-set handle)
#2 - Excluding some of those master smiths scattered throughout the Near East and Asia (who, for the most part, are known only in their own region, and make -- by the true hand forged method -- relatively small numbers each year), the Falci company of Italy produces the best quality sickles in the world today. That is the consensus among the experts on the subject. And that is where these were made. (Smooth edged, forged, off-set handle, limited supply)
#3 - Serrated edged, with out an off-set handle, made by the Falci company of Italy
A few general hints:
Because the teeth on serrated sickles point toward the handle they are used with the "to-the-right-and-toward-the-mower" motion, while the material to be cut is usually held in the opposite hand. For people with less sharpening skill (or an inclination to develop one) a toothed sickle is probably a better choice -- especially if intended primarily for harvesting cereals.
The smooth edged models are more versatile, in that they can be used to cut grass/"weeds" in the conventional scythe-like "from-right-to-left" stroke as well as with the towards-you-and-to-the-right motion, more typical while harvesting grains.
For best results the smooth edges of forged sickles should be maintained by periodic peening, rather than fileing or grinding.