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How to Sharpen a Lawnmower Blade

A sharp lawnmower blade will contribute to a lush, green and healthy lawn, as it cuts the grass evenly and cleanly

Sharpening a lawn mower blade is easy and is crucial for the health of the lawn. A dull lawnmower blade is less than useless, because it doesn’t cut the grass but crushes and bruises it. This makes the grass vulnerable to disease and sun damage. The intervals between sharpening a lawn mower blade depends on the size of the lawn, but every month or month and a half should be adequate. However, if the blade is badly damaged, the best thing to do might be to simply replace it.

Drain the Gas and Disconnect the Spark Plug

These steps are important. If the spark plug isn’t disconnected the motor may switch on while the blades are being worked on. The risk is even greater if there’s gas in the tank.

Preparing the Mower

The mower should be tilted on its side and a block wedged between the blade and the mower deck to keep the blade from turning. A Blade Buster can also be bought to keep the blade locked in place while it’s worked on.

A scraper or a putty knife should be used to clean away any detritus from the bottom of the mower deck. The bolt from the center of the blade should be removed with a wrench.

The blade should be taken off and put in a bench vise. The blade should be checked, and if there are any small nicks they should be filed away with a flat medium file.

The blade is sharpened by moving the file toward its cutting edge in smooth, even strokes, closely following the bevel of the blade. It’s important that each edge be sharpened with the same number of strokes, as an unbalanced blade makes uneven cuts. It can also cause the mower to vibrate and rock, which could damage the engine.

The balance of the blade should be tested on the handle of the screwdriver. If one end points up, the blade should be sharpened till it lies flat. Blade balancers, found in garden supply and hardware stores, can also be used for this.

Sharpening A Push Mower

A push mower should be propped up so the wheels can be turned, and the blades inspected. They should be covered with an even coat of valve grinding compound that can be found in auto parts stores, and then the wheels rotated backwards so the blades and cutting bar sharpen each other. When the blades look sharp, the compound should be washed out with soapy water and rinsed. The blades should be tested for sharpness by using a piece of paper. They should cut as easily as scissors.

Push mower blades should only be sharpened manually. Each time a push mower is used it should be hosed clean, dried, and then a film of WD-40 should be applied to the metal parts.

Photo credit:grass lawn by bluescan sv.wiki

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Comments (6)

Good advice, but I'm afraid I'm not big on maintenance schedules. I was using an ancient push mower (that's with no engine) from the 1940s or '50s in conjunction with a gas engine push mower, but the roller blade splintered. Trying to fix it now.

bt

Drain the gas and pull the spark plug? Have you ever even used a lawnmower, much less worked on one?

This reeks of over-lawyered, over-disclaimered, "you are incompetent so consult a Licensed Expert(TM)" nonsense. I've never know anyone to pull spark plugs and drain gas to sharpen a blade.

Should I do the same when I change my car's oil?

bt

Drain the gas and pull the spark plug? Have you ever even used a lawnmower, much less worked on one?

This reeks of over-lawyered, over-disclaimered, "you are incompetent so consult a Licensed Expert(TM)" nonsense. I've never know anyone to pull spark plugs and drain gas to sharpen a blade.

Should I do the same when I change my car's oil?

bt

Drain the gas and pull the spark plug? Have you ever even used a lawnmower, much less worked on one?

This reeks of over-lawyered, over-disclaimered, "you are incompetent so consult a Licensed Expert(TM)" nonsense. I've never know anyone to pull spark plugs and drain gas to sharpen a blade.

Should I do the same when I change my car's oil?

bt

Drain the gas and pull the spark plug? Have you ever even used a lawnmower, much less worked on one?

This reeks of over-lawyered, over-disclaimered, "you are incompetent so consult a Licensed Expert(TM)" nonsense. I've never know anyone to pull spark plugs and drain gas to sharpen a blade.

Should I do the same when I change my car's oil?

Howler

@bt: This is useful, because if you turn the lawnmower blade as you are trying to take it off, the engine can start. Just like pulling on the pull-string. This is especially bad while your hands are on/near said blade.

The same thing is very unlikely to happen in your car if you are simply changing the oil, but if you are able to turn the engine over, the car will indeed start (I've push started many manual transmission cars).

Bottom line: If you value your hands, please at least take 20 seconds to take out the spark plug on a lawn mower before working on the blades.

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