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May 2, 2007

How to sharpen lawn mower blades

Of all the questions I get asked about servicing a lawn mower, this one is probably the most common. And it makes sense that it is because when it comes down to the most important factors concerning mowing your lawn, your mower blades are paramount.

Sure, the engine's important and without it your mower won't work. But, try mowing your lawn with blunt blades and you will instantly recognise that sharpening is a key skill in your mowing arsenal.

Most brands carry their own replacement blades and these can be quite expensive if you replace them often. Some cheaper brands won't even offer sharpening as the blades are not tensile enough to warrant re-sharpening. But, for most brands they can be honed or at least replaced by non-genuine parts.

Obviously sharpening your own mower blades is a worthwhile skill so I thought I would offer a set of details for both rotary and reel mower blades.

How to sharpen rotary mower blades

1. Be sure to disconnect all the power sources before you begin with the process. In case that your lawn mower is a battery powered one, remove the battery or batteries, depending on the model. Check twice that all the power controls are off to avoid an accidental engine start.

2. Remove the blades totally from the mower. You might need external help to achieve it, using a couple of spanners may help however be sure that it doesn’t slip. Take care while doing this, because it’s easy to cut yourself if the spanner slips.

3. Once the blades are out of the mower, you need to number them in order to re-fit them later.

4. Fix the blade in a stable holding or a vice to work easily.

5. To begin the sharpening process you will need a grinder or file. Make sure to follow the blade’s contour and sharpen it to your convenience. Sharpen all blades the same and don't try to hone the edge at a tighter angle than what has already been set. This will weaken the blades and may cause a break if they come in contact with any hard objects such as stones or branches.

6. Time to refit the blades. Make sure to do it along with balancing, if it exists.

7. There is an option to sharpen blades without removing them from the mower, however it’s uncomfortable and more difficult. It will also require a flexible shaft angle grinder to reach a perfect sharp blade.

8. The last step is to check the blade balance. One clue in finding whether or not the blades are correctly refitted, is checking if the mower vibrates. If so, then blades have not been fitted well and will need more adjustment.

Sourced from Lawn Mowers & Garden Tractors.

How to sharpen reel mower blades

1. The first step is to take off the handle to get it out of your way, and then turn the mower on its side and pop off the side cover with a screwdriver. This will uncover the ring that holds the wheel onto the mower.

2. Pop off the C ring that holds the wheel in place. It's pretty easy to slide it off with a big flathead screwdriver.

3. Once you slide off the C ring, the wheel will come right off the mower. Take it off and set it aside.

4. Next, take off the gear that sits inside the wheel and allows the wheels to turn the blades. It just comes right off without any tools.

5. Next, take the crank that came with the sharpening kit, and slide it over the piece of metal where the gear was attached. This is going to allow you to turn the blades backwards, which is key to sharpening. You are sharpening it using the "backlapping method" when you use a sharpening kit. This is much safer than grinding the blades with a grinder, because you won't accidentally overgrind and ruin the mower.

6. Now you'll take out the paint brush and plastic container of sharpening compound that also came with the sharpening kit. Open up the plastic container, and put some sharpening compound on the paint brush.

7. Apply the sharpening compound evenly onto all five blades on the reel. After you do this, you'll be ready to start cranking the blade backwards and get going with the actual sharpening part.

8. Crank it! Turn those blades backwards and get to sharpening. If you get tired, take a break and get going again. You'll want to sharpen until you can see a smooth metal edge on all of the blades.

9. Are you sure you are finished? If so, take off the crank, put back on the gear, put the wheel back on, and pop the C ring back in place to hold the wheel on the mower again.

10. You've finished.

Sourced from Reel Mowers Info.

  • Stuart Robinson
  • Busselton, Australia
  • Email Me

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