7 tips for sharpening mower blades | Living the Country Life
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7 tips for sharpening mower blades

Get a better cut and save money by properly honing your own mower blades.
  • Do it yourself

    No matter what you spend on a mower, it won't cut well with dull blades. Fortunately, it's a chore you can effectively do yourself by knowing a few simple tricks. Troy Behrens, service manager with Van Wall Equipment, a John Deere dealer with locations in Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, gives these seven pointers.

    Date Published: March 7, 2013
    Date Updated: March 7, 2013
    Tags: mower blades
  • 1. Sharpen regularly

    Sharpen your blades every 20 to 25 hours of service. That's about twice per season for most users. If your mower regularly chops up debris such as twigs or nuts, sharpen more often. When you let blades go dull, two bad things happen:

    • Your mower tears the grass instead of chopping it, giving a poorer cut and putting additional strain on your mower.
    • The duller a blade becomes, the more steel you have to remove at the next sharpening, reducing its longevity.

    Regularly and properly sharpened blades should last about 10 years.

    Date Published: March 7, 2013
    Date Updated: March 7, 2013
    Tags: mower blades
  • 2. Keep it clean

    Scrape accumulated grass clippings off the blade and the inside of the mower deck. Grass buildup dulls the lift side of the blade, leading to decreased airflow. With less air movement, the grass doesn't stand up for the cutting edge, giving a poorer cut.

    Date Published: March 7, 2013
    Date Updated: March 7, 2013
    Tags: mower blades
  • 3. Gather your tools

    Don't assume you need fancy tools. A vise or other clamping device to hold the blade steady, a handheld grinder, and a sharpening wheel work well. Behrens recommends a Norton 40-grit flap disc. For your own protection, wear eye goggles and ear plugs; avoid any loose clothing that could get caught in the spinning disc.

    Date Published: March 7, 2013
    Date Updated: March 7, 2013
    Tags: mower blades
  • 4. Make the grind

    Mount the blade horizontally in a vice. With the flap disc spinning, move the grinder in quick back-and-forth movements along the cutting edge, working from the inside to the outside of the blade (see photo). Do your best to maintain the angle of the factory bevel on the edge. After multiple resharpenings, that angle can get off. When that happens, take the blade to a dealer, who will grind it back to factory specifications.

    Date Published: March 7, 2013
    Date Updated: March 7, 2013
    Tags: mower blades
  • 5. Don't oversharpen

    The biggest mistake when sharpening a mower blade is oversharpening it. Don't aim for a razor-sharp edge. Instead, shoot for butter-knife sharpness. Extra fine edges will roll back, quickly dull, and be readily damaged by struck twigs and other debris.

    Date Published: March 7, 2013
    Date Updated: March 7, 2013
    Tags: mower blades
  • 6. Make a final pass

    Grind along the bottom of the blade's cutting edge to clean up any nicks and burrs (see photo).

    Date Published: March 7, 2013
    Date Updated: March 7, 2013
    Tags: mower blades
  • 7. Balance the blade

    Place the blade's center hole over a nail secured horizontally in a vise or pounded into a wall. Rotate the blade horizontally (see photo). If one end rotates downward, grind away more steel from that end to rebalance the blade. 

    Date Published: March 7, 2013
    Date Updated: March 7, 2013
    Tags: mower blades

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