Lawn mowers can really take a beating during the growing season, so keeping them in excellent running condition is important.
The good thing is that many simple maintenance chores you can do yourself; such as keeping fresh gas in the tank, checking the oil and air filter, scrubbing off accumulated dirt, grease or clippings, and of course, keeping the mower blade clean and sharp.
We want a sharp blade to make a nice clean cut, and to cut well, most rotary mower blades should be sharpened about once a month.
A good way to tell if your blade is no longer sharp is to take a look at the grass after you have mowed it. If the tops of the grass blades are ragged and torn looking, then your blade is dull. If the grass has a nice clean cut, you are fine and don’t need to sharpen anything yet.
Sharpening the blade isn’t hard to do, plus it also saves time. Leaving your mower at the mower repair shop during the busy season can sometimes mean leaving your mower for a week or more.
So in the essence of time, here’s how to sharpen lawn mower blades yourself:
1. Make sure the mower is turned off, and you should disconnect the spark plug.
2. Take a wrench and remove the blade by removing the nut that secures the blade to the mower deck.
3. Remove any rust with a steel brush or steel wool.
4. Sharpen the blade down to the point where the metal has a nice smooth edge. Even out the rough spots until isn’t pitted anymore. Just follow the angle for the edge that is already there.
5. You can use a grinding wheel or file. Some mowers, like reel mowers, come with a sharpening kit, so you’ll need to use that.
6. If you don’t have a grinder or file, you can take just the blade to a mower shop and they can run it over a grinder for you. That way you don’t have to leave your mower there.
7. Now the last step is really important. For a lawn mower to run properly, the blade has to be balanced. So check the balance of the blade by supporting the blade at its center. If it is out of balance, remove a bit more of the blade by sharpening one side until you achieve balance.
8. Lastly, clean your mower. Wipe it down and remove old grass clippings or dirt.
Once you have gone through this whole process once, you will see it is fast, easy, and your lawn will thank you by looking really good after you mow it.
The writer is a professional landscaper who has written for gardening publications such as “Seed Trade News” and “Houseplant Magazine”. She also has been a professional public speaker and educator in the gardening industry for over 20 years sharing to as many people as she can.