A job that a lot of people neglect in winter is keeping the blades on the mower nice and sharp.
Dull blades rip and pull at the grass – you’ll notice little strings attached to the ends of grass blades, where its edges are frayed and damaged, that’s how you know you’re overdue for sharpening your blades! By keeping the mower blades sharp it makes for a cleaner cut, and causes less stress to the grass so it can recover quickly.
It’s a relatively simple task, but it might take a few attempts to fully master the technique.
Tip: Before you begin, remove the spark plug because any motor rotation during the operation could start the engine.
Below is a basic 5-step guide for sharpening your mower blades:
1. Remove the blade
Undo the bolt holding the blade secure – they can be a bit stiff if they’re rusted, so apply some lubricant to the problem area, wait for a few minutes and the bolt should be loose enough to be removed with relative ease.
Tip: Before you remove the blade, mark it with spray paint so you can reinstall it correctly. If you don’t put it in the right way the blade won’t cut!
2. Examine blade
Check the blade for any rust or excessive wears to determine whether to sharpen or replace it. If there is minor rust on the blade, simply remove using steel wool.
Tip: It’s always a good idea to keep a second blade on hand at all times, that way you can rotate between the two and you always have one ready to go!
3. Sharpen the blade
We recommend sharpening with a hand file for maximum control of your handiwork. Angle grinders work well and are much faster, but if you’re not experienced you risk overheating the metal and damaging the blade. If the blade is badly damaged, you will have to use a grinder or have it professionally sharpened.
4. Check blade balance
Simply balance the blade from its centre point using a nail tacked to the wall. If one side dips, file more off that side (not from the cutting edge) until it sits horizontally.
5. Reinstall blade
Reinstall the blade the same way it was mounted before and tighten. A loose blade will throw off the engine timing and make your mower more difficult to start, so make sure it’s tight enough!
Blades should be checked approximately every 6 months.