Keep your lawn mower blades sharp.

Are you keeping your lawn mower blades sharp? This is something you can do very simply that will keep your lawns looking great after they are mowed. But how do you go about sharpening your lawn mower blades and how often should they be sharpened? That is a question which was asked on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. A member asked “I have been sharpening my lawn mower blades for years with a 4 1/2″ angle grinder, but I’ve never been happy with the results. The blades never seem to cut as well, or stay sharp as long, as they did when new.

Sharpening your lawn mower blades

Sharpening your lawn mower blades

Can anyone give me some pointers on the ‘Proper’ way to sharpen blades, or if there is another piece of equipment that would be better to use to do this?”

One member suggested “Are you keeping the original angle consistent? This is one of the biggest problems with blade sharpening. The proper angle helps with grass lift/discharge. It also helps with the proper lift to help the blade cut (less downward draft to push the grass down).

Another common problem is once the blade is sharpened with the correct angle on the top, run the grinder lightly along the back at only a slight angle (almost parallel with the bottom of the blade. This helps with removing burrs that have built up from normal sharpening. Also be very careful about not grinding too long and hard because if the blade gets too hot you can cause it to lose its temper which causes the sharpened edge to dull much quicker.

Which direction are you sharpening? Anything with a sharp edge that you are trying to “sharpen” needs to be generally sharpened the correct direction. For example, if you were using a bench grinder, hold the blade with the sharp edge toward the stone. The stone should hit the sharp edge of the blade and grind from that point toward the back of the blade, at the correct angle of course. Last, but not least, make sure the blade is installed with the correct side up. Many, many, many people install a blade incorrectly. Heck, I have done it myself.”

Another member suggested “mulch blades throw the grass up & cut it again & again, essentially until the pieces are small enough to escape the vacuum of the mulching deck. So because it cuts the grass several times they do wear faster. Also… The next time your mower starts cutting poorly in the middle of a job, stop & clean the underside of the deck. Mulching tends to cause a lot more grass to “cake” under the deck screwing up the air flow, vacuum & dynamics of the deck. This can be as detrimental to a nice cut (if not more so) than having super sharp blades. Since I live near the shore, I keep a couple of big sea shells on my trailer for scraping out the deck, works great & they aren’t sharp enough to mar the painted surface of the deck, though the paint wears off eventually anyway.”

A third member said “Everyone has a portable drill. I keep mine in the truck with a sharpener. It works perfect for an on the job sharpening or when your blades just need touched up.”

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