Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is a Turkish Made Folding Harvesting and Pruning Knife, honestly I do not know what they are really called, but that is what it is. The description on Amazon is officially a “Folding Scythe Weed Garden – Scythe Grass Saw 12” and I think some things were lost in translation from Turkish to English. Anyway this is not a scythe, a scythe is for mowing and it has a non serrated blade. This tool has a serrated blade, it is for cutting, not chopping and not mowing. I have added a video to this review to further explain why I just love this tool.
I found out about it one of my favorite ways to find out about things, from the audience. I recently did a post on Rice Knives and a commenter named Joel said this in response to that post…
“I have tried a variety of these rice knives as well as a number of alternatives when I inevitably lost them. I finally settled on an alternative that I like better: a folding Turkish grape harvesting knife also on Amazon. It is of similar light duty build and I use it exactly like a rice knife. Its trump card is that it folds and can safely be placed in a hip pocket so I don’t lose it. I’ve used it daily for months and have no complaints. I’m thinking of buying one for backup because I only know of this one source.”
Well I asked him for a link and he provided it, I ordered one and I love the damn thing. It does everything a rice knife does and it is a little beefier in build though this is not a over built tool. Gonna bet in Turkey these are really common and likely sell for about 5-10 bucks vs. the 20 they cost on Amazon. You know what though, I think they are totally worth 20 bucks. Just like Joel said the weakness of a rice knife is you do not want to put it in your pocket, you will ruin your pocket and or cut yourself. Hence you end up setting them down and misplacing them.
This guy folds up like a big pocket knife and fits pretty damn comfortably into a cargo shorts pocket and even into jean pockets. That equals not put down, not lost, not rusted, etc.
Okay but how does it work? In a word perfectly. It does all the light duty stuff a rice knife does it also handled wild sunflower stalks the size of my thumb and simply stalks on a huge lambsquarter plant, no issues. Like a rice knife you must use a sawing motion.
There are some real advantages here though. The first is you are a lot less likely to cut yourself then with a chopping sickle. You hold the material, lay your blade on it and saw though. I do hope if you feel it on your skin you won’t pull it across it. Also if you do get yourself as soon as you start moving it you should feel pain and unless you are a moron stop doing that. When you chop something you are holding and miss you either cut yourself or cut yourself bad, like say hitting a joint or a tendon and fucking your hand up for good.
This is great for precision like trimming grasses out from in between vegetables. A missed chop and there goes that eggplant or swiss chard when all you wanted was to get rid of some stubborn grass that can’t be pulled up because it will bring your veggies with it. Oh and it is the best tool for cutting comfrey you will ever and I mean ever find. Harvesting mint and other herbs in mass for drying, amazing for that too.
While much like a rice knife this is best on material about thumb size and down that is still mostly green it will cut though some tougher stuff. I did some research on these things and they are used mostly for harvesting grapes and berries and for pruning said same like Joel mentioned. They seem to have been around in this form a very long time. In trying to get more info which is very limited I ran into some that claimed to be antiques over 200 years old, they look exactly like this one other than being very aged and not having the same markings on them.
When something is used by a society for over 100 years or more you know one thing, it works as designed. I plan to stain and seal the handle. The blade is carbon steel so I will likely patina it with vinegar, if you are not familiar with that process tune in today (episod 2709) and I will explain how and why to do it with tools like this.
In any event like Joel said there is only one source of this thing I can find so I am going to order a few more. I plan to gussy them up a bit and give them as gifts this year. Heck I may even give one to a couple instructors and raffle one off to a student this year at TSP20. You don’t have to wait for that though. Pick up one of these Turkish Made Folding Harvesting and Pruning Knives today and I don’t think you will ever regret it. I have to say as much as I like rice knives I don’t think I will ever buy one again. I mean summing it up, I now consider this tool on of my essential gardening and homestead tools.
Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com
PS – The Stock Images from the maker do give dimensions but it doesn’t really convey scale well so here are a few pics of mine in hand and next to a rice knife to convey how well scaled this tool really is. Like I said when a culture uses a tool for centries there is usually a very good reason for it.