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Sharpening and Maintaining Your Mower Blades

Don’t let the colder weather fool you, spring is less than a week away, time to start dusting off all your lawn tools that have been hibernating for the winter. Your lawn mower will most certainly be in need of some seasonal maintenance. Spring is synonymous with cutting your grass.

For those that may have neglected to sharpen the lawn mower blade while prepping the mower to be put to rest for the fall and winter months, then most certainly it is something you will need to do when you are getting it ready for the first mow. It is vital that every part of a push lawn mower be adequately maintained. Other than cleaning the carburetor and air filter when it is needed, also ridding old gas from the lawnmower’s tank, cleaning the undercarriage, and occasionally inspecting the fuel line, it is essential to keep blades sharpened.

Manufacturers that sell lawn mowers and their parts should also have the means to sharpen a blade. If you have some experience or feel confident in your ability to safely sharpen the blades yourself, that is always an option. The most important thing is to recognize when the blades need sharpening. If the blade is too dull, it will rip the grass instead of cutting it; this opens the lawn up to disease.

Push mower blades can become dull for many reasons. They include:

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Thinner blade vs. thicker blade.
Thinner blades need to be sharpened more frequently than a thicker blade simply because the thicker blade is more able to withstand the nicks and dings for normal wear and tear.

Constant use of the blade.
As a push lawn mower goes through reasonably tall grass, blades will inevitably grab up some pebbles, dirt clumps, tree branches, and other small solid materials. This debris will cause nicks, dings, and can curl up the blades.

Not sharpening often enough.
The more frequently you sharpen your blade then, the easier it will be to do the next time. It will take less effort spent grinding to get the blades sharpened.

Cutting the grass too short.
When you lower the carriage of the push lawn mower too low, it will result in shorter grass, and also leave the blade more likely to the churned up stones and twigs.
The underside of the carriage can accumulate clippings and debris from the lawn that can also clog the discharge shoot after mowing. A dull, bent or loose blade can be the reason which would make it necessary to clean the undercarriage and discharge shoot more frequently.

Although you can sharpen the blade yourself, it might be safer to allow a professional at a shop to do it for you. They are trained at recognizing if the blade needs to be replaced or just sharpened.

It is also essential that the blade is balanced correctly. Not being balanced can create damage to the mower. Specialty shops use plastic balancers; If there is rust on the blade, then the shop employee will clean it off with steel wool or a steel brush.

Using a bench grinder the process of sharpening takes less than 15 to 20 minutes. The blade should be what experts call “butter knife” sharp, not “razor” sharp. If the blade is too sharp, it could curl as pebbles, and other hard materials hit it.

To learn more about preparing your lawn and yard for the spring. Contact Green Machine Lawn Care. We have been providing professional lawn, tree, and shrub care to Northeastern, PA for close to 40 years.

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