I recently posted this new instructional scythe video on YouTube. The first part of the video shows the cutting action of the blade, and basic mowing form. The second part explains the advanced field mowing form that incorporates an exaggerated side-to-side weight-shift, that turns mowing with a scythe, into quest for perpetual motion. Mowing with a side-shift requires a more closed hafting angle on your scythe blade, than is commonly available.
I learned this advanced technique at the 2006 International Scythe Symposium in Canada. The technique was developed by Peter Vido and it is a MAJOR INNOVATION in the use of the scythe. The Austrians have tradionally mowed in-circle, powering their cutting stroke by moving their arms & shoulders, and twisting their torsos. Some regions even had the tradition of incorporating a squat into the motion! At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Basques traditionally mow by pulling their scythes from right to left in a nearly straight line. Peter Vido studied both these techniques, and combining the two, into an innovative new style of mowing, which he likens to the Cloud Hands Form in Tai Chi. Combining the full half circle mowing technique of the Austrians, with the lateral, side-to-side movement of the Basques, results in a full, half-oval of a scythe stroke, that cuts a swath that's more than 1 1/2 x the height of the mower, ...with ease!
Competition mowers may have cut swaths this wide before, (with super-long blades and heroic bursts of effort!), but this is really the first mowing technique to quest after a much greater efficiency, for farming purposes. Peter called his new style "Mowing with Ease", and began to develop a new style of snath that would facilitate this new technique. Although scythe blade design had been greatly improved over the centuries, snath design had remained comparatively pretty basic. This had been further impeded and degraded by the modern need to supply scythes by mail-order. Low cost and shipability had become the priority. Some of the results of Peter Vido's ongoing research and development, is now available from Scythe Network retailers, and also myself. The Swiss snaths that I sell were designed with Peter Vido's input.