Reel mowers are useful tools to clip the grass of your lawn. However, mowing the lawn with blunt blades is of no use as the reel mower won't be able to cut the grass. Sharpening the blades is an integral part of reel mower maintenance that must be carried out periodically. Although most reel mowers have replacement blades, using them quite often can be expensive.
Sharpening kits are commonly used to sharpen a reel mower. These kits contain all the necessary items such as sharpening compound and a paintbrush required for refining the blades of a reel mower. This is the most inexpensive reel mower sharpener and can be effectively used by anyone.
How to Sharpen a Reel mower
In order to sharpen a reel mower, you will have to dismantle the reel mower. Firstly, you need to take off the handle as it can prove a hindrance. You can do this by removing the bolts that are attached on either side of the reel mower. This can be a tough job, especially if the reel mower has not been dismantled for a long time. Separating the bolt and the nut becomes quite difficult even in old reel mowers.
Turn the reel mower on its side and take out the side cover of the wheel using a screwdriver. You will see a ring that attaches the wheel to the mower. To remove the ring, just slide it off using a big flathead screwdriver. Once the ring is removed, you can separate the wheel from the reel mower. The next step is to take out the gear that is placed inside the wheel. You don't have to use any tools to remove it. The gear can be easily taken off by hand.
The sharpening kit comes with a hand crank. Slide this tool over the small metal piece where the gear was attached. Now rotate the crank clockwise so as to turn the blades backwards. This is known as the 'backlapping method' of sharpening the reel mower. To sharpen the blades, you need to apply a sharpening solution that comes along with the sharpening kit. Use the paint brush to paint the blades with this solution. The reel mower has 5 blades for cutting the grass. So make sure you apply the solution evenly on all blades.
Now again follow the backlapping method by turning the crank handle counterclockwise for around 10 minutes. In case you feel tired, take a break and continue again. You will have to continue until you are able to see shiny sections (smooth metal edges) on each blade. Once you observe those shiny sections, your job is complete and it's time to reassemble the mower again. To know whether you have been successful in sharpening the reel mower, just try the reel mower over a section of your lawn.
A basic grinder can also be used to sharpen a reel mower. However, this method is difficult and requires professional help. It is complicated and can consume a large amount of time. On the other hand, sharpening the reel mower is less time-consuming and much safer than grinding the blades using a grinder.