One of the most influential components of the lawn mower is the blade. It is common sense to have a good sharp blade that is properly balanced and positioned in the lawn mower to cut grass efficiently; preferably without mowing the area again and again. A cleaner and more even cut is expected of a good blade. This is precisely the reason for taking care of the mower blade by mower owners.
A well taken care of mower blade is not only functional at all times but lasts longer. There are more savings if the mower blade is properly maintained. Mower blades manufacturers and professional mower experts would strongly recommend a sharpening of the blade once every 2 months to keep the metal piece in tiptop condition.
The best time to sharpen the blade is before it is put away for storage after use which could be once in a few weeks, according to the mowing schedule by users or owners of the mower.
Process in Sharpening the Blade
Very few tools and little skills are required to sharpen the blade of any lawn mower. Users may find a bench grinder useful for this task; if not, a power tool grinding component would be equally effective.
The market offers many brands of quality sharpening blade tools and grinding attachments which could be purchased off the shelf for a quick execution. Branded names like Dremel offer affordable grinding stone attachments which are extremely useful for sharpening the blade as part of its rotary tools set.
Step 1 – Safety
A very important first step in sharpening the mower blade is to switch off the mower completely. This is to ensure total safety to the user and machine before any part is dismantled. The same principle applies to all types of mowers which could be a push mower or a riding mower.
Step 2 – Disconnections
Another safety feature to appreciate when preparing to sharpen the mower blade is to ensure that the blade is stationary. A moving blade is dangerous where the fingers or hands could be hurt.
When all the mower parts are totally still, users could disconnect the spark plug safely which is another safety component of consideration. Once the spark plug is disconnected from its wire, it should be grounded quickly to avoid any electrical shocks.
The next item to disconnect is the blade. This piece of mower component must be carefully handled to prevent injury of any kind as no one knows the exact condition of the blade as yet. Even though the user may assume that the blade is blunt and it is time for sharpening, the blade could still cut and injure careless users.
The best way to disconnect the blade is to tilt the mower to have the carburetor positioned on its high side. Next, a 2 by 4 block could be used for assistance in this task where the user may stand on the block for the needed weight on the wrench to break loose the tight lock on the blade. This would help ease the removal of the blade.
Step 3 – Blade check
When the blade is removed, place it carefully in a perpendicular position to the spinning grinder. Let the blade run back and forth for a while to check out its conditions as well as to smooth out chips and nicks. This would have the blade made straight although it could still be blunt for a good performance.
Step 4 – Sharpening task
This is the crux of the matter where the blade is to be sharpened. It is the cutting edge of the blades that is the center of focus. Extra care must be exercised with due diligence in handling this task particularly amateur mowers or first-time cleaning users.
The blade must be held at a certain angle or slope position for better execution in sharpening the cutting edges. With a firm grip, the grinder is run across the blade length. This would ensure restoration of the sharpness of the blade’s cutting edge.
However, if the blade has been badly damaged, it may not be worth running the grinder through the blade. The damage done on the blade could be from mowing over hard objects such as branches or rocks even unintentionally. A damaged blade must be replaced as it would not be restored to its satisfactory functional condition. Users would only become frustrated if they persist in mowing with a damaged blade. Other components of the mower could feel the extra toll with a damaged blade to cause the whole machine a faster deterioration over time.
Balancing the Blade
Once the blade is sharpened, the next crucial step for the lawn mower is to balance it back into its proper position for optimal functioning. This balancing should be executed after sharpening the blade for a total restoration of the blade performance. Doing one without the other could prove futile as the two processes intertwine.
When the blade is sharpened, it could cause the mower blade to gain more mass on one side compared to the other side. Hence, the lawn mower may not function properly as desired. This could cause further damage to both the blade and the mower motor unless the user or mower owner is aware of such consequences. Hence, it is crucial to balance the mower blade at such circumstances.
Step 1 – Get a Blade balancer
For a mower blade to be balanced, a special balancing tool is required. This would be the balancer component for mower blades. It is a worthwhile investment for lawn mower owners who mow frequently using their own lawn mowers regardless of type and size.
A typical mower balancer is shaped like a cone that would balance the mower blade on its tip or apex.
Step 2 – Checking the Balance
The mower blade must first be checked on its balance before it could be balanced as the right balancing must be executed properly. This would ensure that the blade would function properly when put to mow the yard.
The balance of the blade is checked by placing the blade on the top of the balancing device. Once it is positioned at the balancing apex, the user could note the side which dips downwards. This is a strong indication that this end of the blade is heavier than the other end with more mass.
Many mower users just hang their mower blade across a nail in a horizontal position through the center hole of the blade to observe the direction of drop on the heavier end. Some material must be removed from the relevant side until the blade can hang in balance.
A cheap $5 blade balancer comprising a vertical nail with a cone could be purchased for this purpose. Others would insist on the best ball bearing balancer with a horizontal nail costing several hundreds of dollars.
Step 3 – Grinding to Balance
Now that the blade mass is determined, mower users could proceed with the grinding of the blade on its heavier end. Extra caution must be exercised due to the sharpness of the tools and task. Amateur DIY enthusiasts must be careful in the grinding process which could cause injury.
The user must learn to grind the heavier side of the blade in light motions for a good balance. This grinding process may be slow but effective while safe. It may be necessary to grind the blade several times and check the balance again to ensure a correct balance achieved.
If one side of the blade is still drooping heavily than the other side, light grindings must continue. A balanced blade would be seen on the balancer as the blade is put on its apex for checking and confirmation again.
Mower users may have certain considerations with the balancing and grinding of their mower blades. Hence, these issues should be confronted and resolved for a proper functioning of the mower with every component inside out.
Different mower users may have different mowers in terms of brand, size and power. They would need to know how to balance their particular mower brand blades as some mowers may vibrate violently to numb the hands during an operation.
If the mower blade has not been balanced before, it could be quite tight to be removed. The right impact wrench must be selected for the job. Users may want to check if the blade is straight before removal with a simple rotation.