There are many reasons that the Austrian style scythe has risen to prominence in the British scythe revolution. It’s lightness and ease of use make it attractive, as does the fact that high quality equipment is still being made and can be bought, allowing you to get out and get mowing quickly and easily.
It is not so easy to get started with the English scythe. As far as I know it is not possible to buy new, high quality English scythes.
There are a few folk out there though who are determined to pursue the traditional English scythe and are putting in the work to do so. They are sourcing and restoring old blades, searching for or making snaths that fit their bodies, working out good mowing techniques. With promising results too, judging by the improvement of the performance of the English scythe at the West Country Scythe festival.
Here is an interesting blog post by Mark Allery about his work restoring the English scythe.
If the idea of second hand or restoration appeals, you don’t have to buy new to get going with an Austrian scythe either. Our first scythe consisted of a German blade, probably originally imported in the ’50s, picked up for a few pounds at a car boot sale plus a simple home made snath (more about this in a future post perhaps).
We are still using this blade now, as a short ditch blade for rough work eg coarse weeds, stoney areas. Here it is set up on a trimming snath.