Imagine mowing your lawn with a blunt lawn mower blade. It will probably look jagged and uneven. Just because the blade is spinning, it doesn’t mean the blade is still cutting correctly.
You wouldn’t want your hair messed up when you go to the salon or the barber, so why do the same to your lawn?
Getting to the bottom of your lawn mower
Regardless of whether you have a push mower, a self-propelled lawn mower or a robot lawnmower, they all have one thing in common: a blade underneath. Without it, they wouldn’t be able to cut the grass.
The first step to sharpening your lawn mower blade is to get access to the underside of your mower. To do this, unplug the spark plugs and power source of your mower before turning it on its side. The idea is to prevent the motor from accidentally turning on and causing a severe injury. Safety first!
Dislodge the blade
Once you can safely access the blade, make a visual reminder of which side is the underside. This is important because putting the blade back the wrong way could cause damage to your mower.
Once you have the underside marked, grab a wrench and a socket. The blade is secured with some nuts or bolts, so loosen those. Feel free to wedge a block between the blade and its housing to prevent it from rotating. And as always, make sure you’re wearing a pair of cut-resistant gloves.
If for some reason you’re having difficulty removing the bolts, check to see if mud or dirt have caked around them. If so, remove them by scraping them off the surface. If this doesn’t work because the bolts are rusted, use oil to loosen them.
Top Tip: You can also try using some WD40, and that’s because you are bound to have a can or two lying around in your home or garage.
Clean the blade
Before you start sharpening, clean the blade from mud and debris first. Doing so helps ensure even sharpening when it’s time to run the blade under the grindstone. And while you’re at it, go ahead and clean the underside of your mower. A sharp edge can only do so much if the blade housing is full of dirt.
Sharpen the blade
You can do this process in any way you want: by hand using a file or grindstone, or by using a bench grinder. Regardless of which method you prefer, make sure you have proper protection: long sleeves, cut-resistant gloves and goggles.
Before sharpening the blade, take note of its cutting edge. It’s typically around 3-4 inches tall and doesn’t take the entire height of the blade. This is the only spot on both sides that you’ll be sharpening.
Balance the blade
Done sharpening the cutting edge on both sides? You’re not quite done yet. Before we mount the blade back to the mower, we need to make sure it’s balanced. Not doing so will stress your mower’s engine and cause damage to the chassis.
While there are tools specifically made for checking the balance, you don’t have to use one. Rest the center of the blade on something narrow; a balanced blade should rest itself evenly on the surface. If not, the lower side tells you which side needs more grinding. Keep repeating the process until the blade is even.
It’s time to return the blade
Once the cutting edge is sharpened and the blade is balanced, it’s time to put it back to its home. Put the blade back the correct way and fasten it with the same nuts and bolts you took out earlier. This is your last chance to remove any remaining mud on the underside of your mower. Afterwards, turn your mower right side up and reinstall the spark plugs.
Testing and maintaining your blade
The perfect time to sharpen your mower’s blade is before a mowing session. Depending on how many times you mow the lawn and how large your own is, you may have to do this process several times during the year.
To test whether the blade has been perfectly sharpened, start mowing a small patch. Examine the newly cut grass and make sure they’re even. If they are, then your blade is good to go.
Sharpening your lawn mower blade may sound daunting at first, but don’t let it scare you. With the right tools and plenty of caution, you can extend the life of your lawn mower by just sharpening its blade.
Keep doing this during the mowing season and your machine, along with your bank balance, will thank you!