If your lawn mower owner is like mine, they sometimes neglect the blade for too long. So, what? If it still cuts, I tend to forget about it. But using a lawnmower will dull the blade. And performance will deteriorate. Learn how to safely remove and sharpen a lawn mower blade for a faster, cleaner cut that uses less energy and gas (or electric power). Let’s get going; that lawn won’t mow itself!
Not The Sharpest Tool In The Shed
I’ve been guilty of cutting the lawn with a dull mower blade for the past nearly two years now. It is not necessary to have a razor-sharp edge to “cut” grass; if you whack something hard enough, it will rip apart (think “string trimmer”). However, with a dull blade, you must walk more slowly and make a second pass over taller, thicker grass, which requires more time and effort. It also increases the amount of wear and tear on the engine.
Generally speaking, it is recommended that you sharpen your blades every 20-25 hours of mowing time. The average homeowner, on the other hand, can probably get away with only sharpening their mower blades once a year unless they mow a lot. They should, however, sharpen their tools twice a year if they run over a lot of sticks, as I do (and almost always on purpose) in their daily work.
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You’re performing the exact same action as the starter when you manually rotate a lawn mower blade by hand. It’s understandable that you’d be apprehensive about having the engine start – or even attempt to start – while you’re mucking around in the undercarriage.
Mowers and blades are available in a variety of designs. My mower is a basic 20-inch walk-behind gas push mower with a pull starter and a side-ejection chute, which I purchased used. Yours may differ, but the same concepts can be applied to virtually any type of mower or cutting blade. There is one thing that will always be true: before attempting to remove or install a blade, you should disconnect the spark plug cable.
Tip The Mower On Its Side – The Correct Side
The gas caps on lawn mowers don’t always seal properly. So I prefer to wait until the tank is completely dry before sharpening the blade. Gas will leak onto the ground if this is not addressed.
The blade can be accessed by laying the mower on its back. Make sure the carburetor side of the engine is facing up on gas-powered mowers. Look to see if the grass is blowing out of the mower’s right side (as you stand behind the mower). Oil can seep into the air filter if the carburetor is laying on its side (and cause other problems).
While repairing a lawn mower carburetor isn’t difficult, I’m concerned that it will divert my attention away from more pleasurable forms of carbohydrate consumption, such as junk food and beer.
Removing The Blade
While you loosen (or tighten) the mounting bolt, a block of wood clamped to the housing will keep the blade from moving around.
How To Sharpen A Lawn Mower Blade
Sharpening lawn mower blades with a file or bench grinder takes longer and is more difficult. Grind the bevel, not the blade’s flat bottom. Preserve the bevel angle (usually 45°) and avoid overheating the cutting edge.
Whether you use a file or a grinder, start each pass or stroke near the blade’s center and work outward. This reduces corner catching (or rounding them over). Mulching blades have a hump in the middle of the cutting edge, but there are more contours to navigate.
Sharpening With A File Or Angle Grinder
Work on one of the two cutting edges first, clamping your blade to a sturdy bench. You want to keep the blade in equilibrium. Avoid sharpening one side at a time. In place of one, rotate the blade and make a small amount of progress on the other one. Keep going back and forth until the cutting edges are razor-sharp on both sides of the blade. If necessary, reapply marker.
Using the right side of the grinding disc (the side that faces me) on an angle grinder reduces the risk of the blade catching on it. However, my left-handedness may make me biased. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Keep an eye on things and make sure the blade is securely clamped.
Burr – Cold, Hard, Sharp Steel
If a ding is particularly bad, it’s often best to deviate from the cutting edge a little to fix it. A wavy, sharp edge consistently outperforms a straight, blunt one. Keep as much of the original shape as possible, but don’t spend half the blade trying to achieve the perfect edge. Keep in mind that any amount of material you remove from the blade’s cutting edge must be mirrored on its opposite end.
You may also end up with a burr on the back of the blade from your sharpening efforts. The angle grinder or a flat file angled nearly flat against the back of the blade can be used to quickly remove it. There’s a lot of value in a quick deburring.
Keeping Your Lawn Mower Blade In Balance
Before reinstalling you
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