Are these lawn mower blades sharp enough?

Most new lawn care business owners can’t tell what a properly sharpened mowing blade looks like. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we learn that if you can’t tell what a blade is supposed to look like sharpened, you will never be able to properly sharpen your blades. Here we see some examples of how not to sharpen blades and how you can’t blindly rely on your local mower dealer to sharpen blades properly for you.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I did not sharpen these lawn mower blades. I PAID my mower dealer to sharpen them. They look like hell to me, but honestly, I don’t know what a good, sharp blade should look like. I’ve only been doing this since last year essentially, and all I’ve done is use a file on them. That said, I never put 6 different angles on one blade. Sheesh! To me, these look like something I would have done the first time I tried using a grinder.

The dealer used a grinder of some sort. I did see him balance between grinds, but I dunno… these just look like a bad job to me.

Am I wrong?

  • #1 is the original blade from the start of last season.
  • #2 was purchased midway through last season.
  • #3 was purchased at the beginning of this season.

I’m still learning, but from everything I’ve read, you’re supposed to keep the angle consistent across the lengths as you go. I did not put an angle on the flat, bottom side - just lightly rubbed the file across it to remove any tiny burs from sharpening the top side.

I don’t see how the hell I’m supposed to resharpen the blades now that they are in the shape they are in.”

Lawn mower blade BEFORE sharpening.

Lawn mower blade BEFORE sharpening.

A second lawn care business owner responded “the blade should be sharpened full width, not just the tips… SAME ANGLE/PITCH, not some half assed hack job. I have an 8″ grinder that I use and lightly clean up with a file. I sharpen/ change out lawn mower blades every 20 or so hours of use on my 54″ zero turn and switch out my walk behind every 2 weeks I would guess 10 hours or so. Some times I will change them if I have an odd clean up job or feel they have taken more abuse then normal.”

A third lawn care business owner responded “it looks like someone used an angle grinder on those, not a blade grinder, the angles seem a little off and they should have taken them back farther but I have seen much worse. As for the tempering, they are push mower blades and will blue easily. If you expect a dealer never to do that, you should not have them sharpen a lightweight blade.

I can’t really see the leading edge profile from the pictures and to me that’s the most important part. I don’t leave my blades looking like those though, my final cuts are the full width of the bevel in a straight line, then I run them on my synthetic wire wheel to remove the burrs. I am not sure if it makes any difference [my method probably shortens the life of the blade if anything], it’s just the way I have always done them.

A fourth said “mower blades will cut fine for a while by only sharpening the cutting edge, until you have lost the angle completely. Then they will cut like crap and no shop will take the time required to sharpen them correctly. They will tell you it’s time for a new blade and you would only have gotten a 1/4 of the life the blade should have gotten.”

Lawn mower blade AFTER sharpening.

Lawn mower blade AFTER sharpening.

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