Would you try to cut your fingernails with blunt clippers? Would you bother with a blunt knife for a tomato? Would you use the wrong key to try to open a lock? If you answered no to all of the above, then you would surely want to know how to sharpen lawn mower blades.
Blunt blades are a curse to a proud gardener. They don’t produce a nice, clean cut to the grass and instead, chop or rip it. This makes the grass vulnerable to a variety of diseases, not to mention sun damage.
Learning how to sharpen lawn mower blades is a good idea for any would-be gardener who wants to produce a yard boasting a healthy, thriving lawn. It’s a fundamental skill, not too complicated and not requiring a great deal of time. The investment you’ve made in your lawnmower is a significant one and just like with your car, a certain amount of maintenance is required to ensure its longevity and peak performance.
Get to know your mower
When you do learn how to sharpen lawn mower blades, you will also get an idea of the frequency that will determine what needs to be done and when. Looking “under the hood”, as it were will tell you lots about your mower’s requirements. You’ll see what kind of blades it has, their size, how they are attached to the mower itself, how to remove them, what they are made of and where their vulnerabilities are.
Study the undercarriage with enthusiasm because your mower can be your best friend or the bane of your life! It seems such a simple task: fill with gas, check the oil, rev the throttle, pull the cord and let her rip! Then you just push it around the yard, soak up a few rays, empty the catcher now and then and voila! You have a beautiful lawn again.
A basic skill
How to sharpen lawn mower blades should be a class taught in high school. After all, mowing lawns is a great way for students to earn a couple of bucks. It doesn’t hurt a bit to be educated in more than reading, writing and arithmetic and outdoor maintenance is a practical skill that will come in handy for the future.
If you are a total newbie at machinery maintenance, ask your local mower retailer -particularly if you bought your mower from them – to show you how to sharpen lawn mower blades. The method varies from model to model and yours may or may not require the disconnection of the spark plugs and drainage of remaining gas.
Understand what’s beyond your skills
Knowing how to sharpen lawn mower blades also involves knowing how to recognize damage done during work. Check for small nicks that will need to be filed down so as not to be so damaging to the grass. If you notice nicks that are significant, don’t bother trying to fix them. Either replace that blade or have a professional try to repair it for you.
How to sharpen lawn mower blades
Take an adjustable wrench and undo the bolt from the blades’ center. Remove the blade and secure it in a bench vice.
Identify any small nicks, removing them carefully using a flat medium file. Now you can sharpen the blade.
Push the file towards the cutting edge of the blade with smooth, level strokes and try to follow as well as possible, the original contour of the blade.
You must file each edge an equal number of times in order to keep the blade in balance.
Off-balance blades do not cut evenly and the cause the mower itself to vibrate which will reduce the life of your mower considerably. By resting the blade on a screwdriver handle, you can gauge the balance. If you find that one side tilts upwards, you’ll need to file the other until the blade will lie flat.
When you’re happy with the job, put the mower back together, reconnect the spark plugs, refill the tank and you’re back in business.