The manual lawn mowers are known for their sharp, effective cutting blades. Though these blades remain sharp for a long time, they sooner or later require thorough sharpening. The good news is that sharpening manual mower blades isn’t such a difficult task.
Besides, considering the fact that the machine itself is not so demanding in terms of maintenance, fortifying its cutting edge periodically isn’t something that should discourage you at all.
The maximum amount of time you’ll probably spend carrying out this maintenance procedure is about an hour, and that’s only if you’re doing it for the first time.
What Cause Manual Mower Blades to Become Blunt?
First, blades are like knives, the more you use them, the duller they become. So even if the only thing these blades have to go through is turf, they’ll still lose their sharpness eventually. However, push mower blades often have more to contend with than grass blades. It is almost impossible for pebbles not to snag mower blades while the machine is working.
These tiny stones gradually reduce the sharpness of the cutting edge. As if this is not enough, the blades sometimes have to go tackle hard surfaces such as tough branches, rocks and curbs. These too dull the blades over time.
One way to tell whether your hand push mower blades are still sharp or not is by observing the ease with which you push the machine. If you notice that driving the mower has become a little bit tougher than it used to be, then that’s a sure indication that your blades are blunt. Dull blades cut grass with so much effort thus making it harder to push the machine.
You can sharpen your mower blades in different ways. This notwithstanding, one common step in all the sharpening methods is ensuring safety. To do this you must put some precautions in place.
For example, you are to secure your mowing machine in place, keep your fingers away from the cutting gear, and wear befitting work clothes. To sharpen your blades, you can use the traditional sharpening kit, a good back lapping kit, any power drill that has sharpening attachment, metallic sandpaper used for finishing or a simple file
How Can You Sharpen Your Manual Mower Using a File?
Instead of spending a lot of money purchasing a sharpening kit, one way you can save money and still get your sharpening done is by using a file. Apart from saving money, files are easy to use and offer enough precision to get your blades razor-sharp.
Kick start the sharpening process by cleaning your reel and blades using rough sandpaper or a firm wire brush. When you’re done clearing away dried grass clippings and other debris from the mower and its blades, place your lawn trimmer on top a workbench. Any tabletop will also work. Then, use a stick of wood to block the wheels from moving.
Next, you will want to secure your blades. Do this by putting one broom handle at a vertical position through the blades of your reel mower. By doing this, you’ll be stopping the blades from turning while you work on them. Now, proceed to stamp the toothed tip of a rough metal file onto the bevel end of the foremost blade located on one side of the mower.
Position your file such that it falls on the same level as the bevelled tip of your blade. At this point, drag your file upwards and downwards along the bevel end of your blade. Do this between 3 and 6 times.
Ensure you draw the file downwards toward the end of the blade’s bevelled edge. Continue filing down the blade till you get to the middle. When the blade starts to twist, pull out the object stopping the blades from moving and reposition your reel such that you can access the remaining part of your blade.
When you finish the processes on one blade, adjust the position of the reel again so that you can do the same on other blades. When you’re done with all the blades, apply a coat of lubricants on each one of them to prevent rust. You can use a rag to apply the lubricant or spray it directly onto the blade.
Sharpening Blades with Back Lapping Kit
If you’d prefer not to use the filing method, perhaps you can try out the back-lapping sharpening outfit. The main components of this kit are a sharpening compound and a handle. The compound is some sort of grainy substance which when rubbed against the blade surface sharpens the cutting edge as it rubs against the metal. To use this kit, connect your reel mower driving gear to the handle. Then, apply the compound on the blades using a painting brush.
Next, bend your mower to the back to allow the blades to rub each other. This will make the blades become sharp again. It doesn’t take much to crank your machine backward using your hand, though you’ll need a little elbow grease. However, you can use a power drill that has the right attachment to perform this task quickly.
How to Adjust Reel Mower Blade Alignment?
Sometimes, when your mower starts giving you a hard time while mowing it may not be that the blades are dull. At times, the problem can be with the arrangement of the blades. Incorrect blade alignment easily hinders the effectiveness of the machine. You do need to ascertain that your blades are indeed misaligned. Once you’re certain, follow this simple correction steps.
Start by lifting your mower onto a bench or tabletop. Then, block the wheels so they don’t spin. At this point, turn the reel with your hand to find out how to go about the adjustment. If you hear any scraping sound, that’s a sign that the blades are too close to the bed knife and that you need to create more space between the cutting blades and the knife. A loose spin, however, indicates that the cutting edge should get closer to the bed knife.
Now that you know what the problem is, insert a flathead screwdriver inside the screw slots which is situated on one side of your reel. If the blades are too far, make the screws tighter. If they’re too near, release the screws. Don’t overdo it. A slight turn will make all the difference. The next thing to do is locate the cutting bar screws and go the opposite direction of how you screwed on the reel. This too should be done slightly.
Turn the reel every now and then to see if blades are well adjusted. If not, continue trying until you get the desired result.
Last Updated on January 1, 2022