Reel Mowers: Benefits and sharpening blades
Cumming Lawn Service
Whenever someone thinks of the reel mower they think of lawn care from the 1950’s. Reel mowers died out a long time ago, right? The truth is reel mowers are used quite often and are becoming “new” and “cool” again. Not only do stadiums use giant reel mowers to trim the grass but golf courses do as well. And yes, even home owners use reel mowers, as they grow more and more popular.
How does a Reel Mower Work?
A normal gas powered mower has one blade that slices a knife. A reel mower is different, instead of chopping the grass it cuts it like a pair of scissors. A reel mower can have anywhere from 5-7 blades and an additional one located on the bottom of the reel. The way it works as it is pushed through grass the reel slices the grass depositing it out the other side. The grass looks cleaner and healthier after being thoroughly cut with a reel mower.
Benefits of a Reel Mower
- Reel mowers are lightweight. Reel mower builds have changed over the last few decades. In the 1960’s reel mowers were heavy and clunky to use. Today’s models are the same size but easier to lift around and push. The new design has brought back the love of reel mowing. The most reel mowers weigh today is typically around 20 lbs.
- There is no noise involved with reel mowers. Like most people you probably live in a suburb and can only mow at certain times. Motorized mowers are noisy, loud and wake people up if you mow too early or late. When you are using a reel mower it makes no noise and goes silently over grass.
- Reel mowers are much safer to use than motorized mowers. When using a gas powered mower there is some risk involved. People have lost fingers and toes due to not being cautious of a mower's blade. Not only adults can be injured, children have been hurt by stray rocks getting under the blades and hitting them. Even after a motorized mower is off it can still hurt people, the engine can be hot and you can burn your hand easily if you are not careful. Debris can get caught in the mowers blades and the first instinct is to put your hand in there to get it out, that is a great way to lose a hand. Reel mowers do not have any problems like this. Sure, debris can become caught in the blades but a hand is okay to use to pull it out.
- Reel mowers are better for your lawns overall health. Gas powered mowers leave lawns looking uneven and shredded, as well as susceptible to infestations and disease. Reel mowers cut the grass cleanly every time making it healthier. The grass clippings from the reel mowers can be used as fertilizer for the lawn protecting it from hardships.
- Reel mowers require little maintenance. Some push mowers that gas powered have pull cords that can be a pain to start. Not everyone out there knows about spark plugs and engines or how repair small engines. Reel mowers have no engine you just push it like you would a shopping cart. The only maintenance it does require is sharpening and lubricating the blades every now and again.
Sharpening Reel Mowers Blades
There are a few steps to sharpening the blades on a reel mower. For the method we are explaining you will need: a sharpening kit and a screwdriver. The following instructions are for a popular model of the Scotts Classic reel mower. Some reel mowers may be designed differently and the manufacturer may recommend a certain way of sharpening. You should refer to your manufacturer's recommended sharpening instructions.
- Step 1- Disassembly: Take off the handle and turn the mower on its side. Take off the side cover of the wheel. This will uncover a screw that holds the wheel in place. Use the screwdriver to take off the screw and then you will see a gear. Take off the gear, the gear can be easily removed without any tools whatsoever.
- Step 2- Kit Action: The kit should have come with a crank, plastic container, and a paint brush. Slide the crank over the side you took the wheel off of. Next, take the plastic container with the mixture and spread it across the blades equally with the paintbrush.
- Step 3- The Actual Cranking: Now it is ready to start cranking. You are going to crank it backwards until the blades are edges are smooth. This is called the “backlapping method” when you sharpen the blades with a sharpening kit. It is normally easier to use this method rather than grinding all the blades with a grinder. You can overgrind the blades and ruin the mower but there is no risk of that, with a sharpening kit.
- Step 4- Reassembly: After all the blades edges are smooth it is time to reassemble the mower. Take off the crank and replace the wheel and handle.
Tip: If you get tired of cranking you can use a electric drill instead of cranking by hand.