How To: Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades. Sharpening reel mower blades

Sharp blades all season long will provide the cutting edge needed to guarantee a healthy, green lawn this year.

By Bob Vila | Updated Nov 30, 2020 11:46 AM

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At the start of growing season, part of the necessary prep every homeowner with hopes of a greener yard tacks (or should tack) onto his to-do list involves the cleaning and sharpening of the lawn mower blades. If the blades are left dull, each afternoon spent mowing only rips and chews the grass. Coarse-cut grass doesn’t just look bad; it’s also more vulnerable to pests, disease, and drought.

While old-fashioned cylinder or reel mowers—those with a cutting bar and multiple-blade assembly that cuts forward as the operator pushes it—likely need professional servicing, the more typical gas- or electric-powered rotary mower can be taken care of in a do-it-yourself fashion. These utilize a single blade that spins horizontally around a vertical spindle—easy to remove and maintain at home. If yours is a riding lawn mower, you’re in luck, too: These machines typically have two rotary blades, which can be removed and sharpened just the same. Read on for how to care for your largest landscaping tool, and you’ll reap the benefits of a clean-cut all season long.

  • Work gloves
  • Socket wrench
  • Scraper
  • Vise
  • Safety glasses
  • Bastard-cut mill file
  • See full list «
  • Power drill
  • Sharpening stone drill attachment
  • Blade balancer

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Step 1

Even a dull blade can mangle your hands, so first disconnect the spark-plug wire and put on a pair of work gloves. Then, flip the mower over, spark-plug side up. Holding one side of the blade to keep it from moving, loosen the blade’s mounting nut using your socket wrench.

Step 2

Clean the blade with a scraper and assess its condition. If rocks, branches, and other debris have inflicted deep nicks, you’ll want to replace it. Otherwise, gather the tools you need to sharpen it manually or mechanically.

Step 3

At this point, you have a few options for how to proceed.

  • To sharpen the blade manually, clamp it horizontally in a vise and run a bastard-cut mill file along the cutting edge, using a one-way down stroke. Follow the existing angle (usually 45 degrees, but you can refer to your owner’s manual for the ideal angle) until the blade has the sharpness of a butter knife. Aim to remove an equal amount of metal from the cutting edge of both ends of the blade. Tip: Counting strokes may help you keep track.
  • A faster technique involves a power drill with a sharpening stone attachment. Clamp the blade—cutting side up—in a vise. Secure the sharpening stone in the drill; the stone’s plastic guide should rest against the rear of the blade to ensure the proper cutting angle. Put on safety glasses, turn on the drill, and move the stone from the center of the blade to the tip.
  • The fastest way to sharpen the blade is with a bench grinder. With this method, you’ll need to be careful not to oversharpen the blade or remove too much metal. Oversharpening creates a thin edge, which is easy to damage, and removing too much metal shortens the life of the blade. Hold the blade perpendicular to the rotating wheel as you move it along the cutting edge at the angle of the existing bevel. This throws sparks, so be sure to wear safety glasses. If the blade gets too hot, dip it in a bucket of water to cool it.

Step 4

Check the blade’s balance before remounting it, because a lopsided blade will wobble and overtax the mower’s engine. Set a blade balancer on a flat surface and rest the blade on the balancer using the center hole. If the blade dips, use the file, sharpening stone, or grinder to remove metal from the back edge—not the cutting edge—of the heavier side toward the end of the blade.

You can also check the balance by hanging the blade on a wall from a nail through its center hole. If the blade tilts to one side, remove material from that side.

Step 5

Reinstall the blade, reconnect the spark-plug wire, and get to work!

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Once your lawn mower blades are sharp, reinstalled, and ready to use, you’re ready to mow—almost. If you’re new to the art of mowing (and even if you’re not) there are a few common lawn care mistakes you need to avoid. Take a look at the video to learn more.

How to Sharpen McLane Reel Mower- Best 3 Ways for You

Many people asked how to sharpen McLane reel mower? That’s why we are here today. We try to remove all doubts on this topic.

McLane company started producing reel mower since 1946. Edwin Beard Budding invented the first reel mower in 1830 in England.

Budding’s mower was designed primarily to cut the grass on the sports ground and extensive gardens, which was an excellent alternative to the scythe and got a British patent on August 31, 1830. Reel mower produced by Mclane is very popular and very handy.

In the next portion of this passage, we try to give a step-by-step maintenance procedure so that one can quickly fix his Mclane reel mower. And we tell you how to sharpen McLane reel mower.

How To Sharpen Mclane Reel Mower

A reel mower is a mower in which the blades spin vertically and use a scissoring action to cut the beds of grass.

Big fields like golf courses cut with reel mowers, which usually pulled by a tractor.

But a reel mower pushed by people does not cut very high grass easily. However, once the lawn is under control, the scissor-like cut of a reel mower is good for the garden. Usually, a real mower snips the grass, cutting each blade like a pair of scissors.

It is a precise, clean cut that makes for a healthier and more attractive lawn. Now you can learn how to sharpen Mclane reel mower.

How Many Times Reel Mower Blades Need To Sharp

Reel mower blades need to sharp very rarely. In most cases, inferior blades contact misdiagnosed as a queue to sharpen McLane mower. 90 % of the time McLane reel mower can fix by adjusting the edges so that the modules correctly place.

After several years of use, McLane blades can wear down and get dull. You can sharpen the blade with small stone pieces that snag on the McLane mowing blades. But some other causes responsible for taking the edge off are driving the McLane reel mower over the curbs or just running over rocks.

Gradually as the blades get dull. Then, it gets progressively more challenging to use. The sharp McLane reel mower blades cut more smoothly than flat blades, which are very hard to push.

Way To Sharp The Reel Mower Blades

We must have to take proper safety procedures when we want to sharp Mclane reel mower blades. The maintenance procedure should be run carefully.

There are many comfortable ways, which we may use to sharpen the reel mower blades. One of the most straightforward ways is the back lapping method. To perform this, we have to manage the back-lapping kit. This type of equipment includes a sharpening compound and a handle.

At the first step, it is attaching the handle to a driving gear on the reel mower.

Then it requires to apply a sharpening compound to all of the blades of the mower using a paintbrush.

The next step is cranking the mower backward so that the blades scrape each other down to a smooth edge.

The reverse direction is significant because it minimizes the wear of the blades. Turning the reel mower by hand can take a while and requires massive arm strength. So, for faster results, we should use an electric drill with the proper attachment.

Mclane reel mower can sharp with conventional blades sharpening kits. Still, this traditional sharpening of knife kit is not as effective as a back-lapping sharpening kit, and there is a possibility of over grinding the blades and ruining the mower.

If someone prefers to use a knife sharpening kit, it’s an excellent idea to com disable the machine before sharpening the blades. If the edges are not detachable, then we must have to make sure to pin place blades in place so that it cannot rotate.

In some Mclane, reel mowers have arresting gear that will lock the wheels in place. If our real mower does not have this feature, then putting wooden chock blocks between the blades to prevent them from spinning freely.

While sharpening the blades, we have to be careful about our finger knuckles. It is easy to cut ourselves while applying force on a tiny area. So, it will be rational thinking that to choose a blades howosharpener with finger guards.

There are also more precise sharpening tools that give excellent control over the blade’s angle and deliver a uniform edge.

This type of module sharpener also can use on loopers, secateurs, tree pruners, and other edged tools.

If someone has a power drill, a sharpening attachment may be the most convenient way to sharpen Mclane reel mower blades. Rotary sharpeners fit onto power drills just like drill bits, and they work like polishing brushes. So, let the drill do the work.

Another way to sharp the reel mower blades is to use metal finishing sandpaper. But using this sandpaper to sharpen the reel blades is quite severe. But there are sandpaper appliqués which do an excellent job.

These sharpeners attach to the back blade and brush against the cutting edges as they rotate past.

So, to sharpen the McLane reel mower, all you have to do is to attach the sandpaper and give it to push. To prevent rust and other corrosion of the lawnmower blades, it is necessary to put a light coat of oil on it.

Usually, low acidity vegetable oil is the right choice as it won’t leave any harmful residue on your lawn. And it will protect the edge of the damage.


We learn from the passage that, like any other machine, you can quickly and effectively fix Mclane reel mower by following various procedures. But safety measures must be taken seriously to all methods.

Is this article helpful? Do you have any idea about this topic? Or know any way to sharpen Mclane reel mower? Then comment on the Комментарии и мнения владельцев section and let us know.

We try to inform you how to sharpen McLane reel mower.

Stay sharp

It’s so easy to err when grinding and sharpening mower reels and blades. Here six common mistakes and some well-honed tips to avoid them.

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Properly maintaining mowing equipment is essential to successfully maintaining turf. While the principles behind responsible equipment management are dogmatic, the methods of blade and reel sharpening are more widely debated. GCI reached out to equipment industry leaders to find out what works, what doesn’t, and how superintendents get the most out of their reels and blades year.

When turf managers and technicians run into with quality-of-cut issues they often overlook the most basic question: Is the mower operating with a sharp reel and bedknife? “Going out to mow with dull reels and bedknives is like running a stock car race with improperly inflated tires,” says Lynn Westbrook, principal engineer at Jacobsen. “You’ll never get the performance you need and the results will be less than perfect. It’s amazing how many guys either forget or neglect reel and bedknife sharpness.”

Here are six common mistakes superintendents and technicians make when grinding.

No relief

Unfortunately, technicians often leave relief grinding out of their normal routines. “The key to relief grinding is to stay on top of it and not wait until quality-of-cut issues present themselves in the grass,” says Klasie Baard, Jacobsen sales training manager. “Technicians should supplement their spin grinding with relief grinding at appropriate intervals. When you lose the relief grind on the blade edge, it creates additional contact and friction between the bedknife and reel blades, which demands additional horsepower. In fact, studies have shown that five reels running without relief use significantly more horsepower than five reels with relief.” Maintaining a relief on the blade edge does more than save on wear-and-tear and horsepower. “A good relief angle will also throw grass into the baskets more effectively,” says Baard. “A flat grind will actually fan the grass rather than cut it effectively.”

Not using OEM parts

“If there are any two parts you should buy directly from the manufacturer it’s the reel and bedknife,” says Westbrook. “They are designed to work together and have very precise metallurgy to ensure the highest performance. When you add in a ‘may-fit’ reel or bedknife into the mix, the performance of the machine will be sacrificed and the results will show up in the grass. Another benefit is having the backing and support of a manufacturer if you run into any issues.”

Not checking the condition of rotating components

While technician’s typically FOCUS on grinding the reel and bedknife, it’s important to not to overlook the rollers, roller bearings, and reel bearings to ensure a stable grind. Any wear in the rotating components can cause the reel or bedknife to move during grinding.

“A brand-new 60,000 grinder will give you a bad grind if your 5 bearing is shot, so make sure everything is working properly,” says Baard. “While you have the machine off the floor, it’s also a good time to check other things like hardware, seals, etc.”

Not truing the bedknife

It’s another simple step that technicians often skip. After you’ve married the bedknife to the backing, the top and front faces of the bedknife need to be ground to make sure they are straight and true.

Exceeding reel diameter limits

OEM reels are designed to work within certain parameters. Going beyond the manufacturer’s reel diameter tolerance limit alters the original geometry of the reel and bedknife setup, says Westbrook. “For example, on a 5-inch reel, you don’t want to get below a 4.5-inch diameter. When you see the reels worn past that diameter, the reel is simply unable to provide a good quality-of-cut.”

Prep work

One of the biggest mistakes is not fully understanding that the reel and bedknife are not properly prepared for the task they are being asked to do, says Jim Letourneau, Foley United’s president and COO.

“Using dull reels and expecting a perfect cut will not result in the reels meeting the expectations of the user,” he says. “Doing a partial overhaul and sharpening job and expecting the reels to stay on cut for the entire season will also lead to disappointment.”

When it comes to reel grinding, Tracy Lanier, John Deere Golf product manager, says everyone has their own method that works best for them. But that doesn’t mean a program should be inflexible. “The most common problems that we see are on courses that use a grind-only program,” says Lanier. “These courses tend to grind too much, which can lead to increased cost due to reduced life of reels or bedknives. It can also lead to cut issues during times of stress.”

Lanier recommends a more balanced approach, using backlapping and reel grinding to maintain a good quality cut. Using this approach ensures the bedknife and reel stay sharper for longer.

Consider all of the variables

There are a large number of parameters and variables to evaluate to find the best course of action on any given day, says Foley United’s Jim Letourneau. Making the decision to completely refurbish reels in the winter is an easy decision. What needs to be done to correct a poor quality of cut situation for a short period of time requires more complete evaluation.

“In most cases the manufacturers have tested and developed cutting units that will stay sharp, use the least amount of horsepower, and stay on cut the longest amount of time if they are returned to the manufacturer’s specifications,” Letourneau says. “However, there are many methods that work and produce a high quality of cut and the best program may use a combination of all practices.”

  • Understand the entire process and what labor and equipment are needed to execute the plan.
  • Establish a realistic reel maintenance program that meets both the expectations and budgets is essential to quality turf management.
  • Have the right tools in place to perform the tasks is essential to the program and lack of them may limit the options that are available.
  • Start with a quality assessment and an establishment of goals, then looking at the methods needed to achieve those goals, and then ensuring the budgets are capable of supporting the program should be done carefully.

Letourneau recommends a program established by the team, not an individual, unless that individual is truly capable of understanding every facet of the reel maintenance program as it relates to the overall course maintenance program.

What Is a Reel Mower and How to Use It

David Beaulieu is a landscaping expert and plant photographer, with 20 years of experience.

Mary has been a Master Gardener for 30 years and a commercial and residential gardener for 50 years. She is a former Clemson University Extension Agent.

Jillian is a freelance journalist with 10 years of editorial experience in the lifestyle genre. She is a writer and fact checker for TripSavvy, as well as a fact-checker for The Spruce.

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Reel mowers appeal to environmentalists, money-savers, exercise-fanatics, noise-haters, and safety-lovers. Simple to operate, a reel mower works well for small areas.

However, with this type of lawn mower, there are some downsides. You must be committed to mowing when the grass is ready, not whenever you get around to it. Sharpening the blades is a hassle. And unless you don’t mind the extra work of raking up twigs beforehand, reel mowers are not practical for large areas with lots of trees, since you can’t ride roughshod over twigs as you can with standard mowers.

What Is a Reel Mower?

A reel mower is a push mower that does not use fuel, electricity, or oil and is powered by the person pushing it. Most have two primary wheels and several sharp blades in a cylinder that spin around to cut the grass.

Reel vs. Rotary Mowers

As with most things, reel mowers are excellent for some situations and users and troublesome for others. Reel mowers lack many of the common annoyances that come with other types of mowers—the smell and noise, the potential risks, and the price—but they also have drawbacks. Reel mowers don’t work as well on tall grass or grass sprinkled with twigs and leaves.

The blades of a rotary lawn mower spin on a plane parallel to the ground. Reel mower blades spin at an angle perpendicular to the ground. While you may be able to get by for years without sharpening the blades on a regular mower, it’s critical to keep the blades of a reel mower razor-sharp.

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Lightweight and safer to use
  • Noise-free
  • efficient at mowing grass
  • Easier to mow larger areas
  • Mulches up debris
  • Handles cutting grass better on uneven ground

Parts of a Reel Mower

Manual or push reel mowers don’t have engines, so they don’t use gas and emit no pollutants. The lack of an engine also means reel mowers are virtually noiseless. No engine also means no tune-ups, and less maintenance: no oil to check, no filter to clean, no spark plugs, saving time and money.

Reel mowers have blades that turn as the mower is pushed. Today’s models have a protective guard to prevent the grass from being blown back on the person pushing the mower. And some models come with a grass-collecting bag. Most models allow you to adjust the blades to cut the grass at a certain height.

Modern models of reel mowers are lightweight and easy to push. Reel mowers are ideal for small lawns with no trees, although pushing one across any sized lawn will still be a strenuous chore, lightweight or not.

Why Should You Use a Reel Mower?

When you think of mowing your lawn, the mental image that comes to mind for most of us is that of a rotary machine, because this type of grass-cutting device has become the standard. Unlike the rotary models that you’re used to, reel mowers don’t have an engine.

Instead, this 19th-century device, invented by Edwin Budding, cuts the grass using sharp blades that move as you push the device along. This isn’t merely a question of the machine being self-propelled vs not self-propelled, it is entirely human-powered. Still, despite the decidedly unmodern functionality, there are good reasons you might want to consider buying a reel mower.

Environmentalists tout reel mowers as a clean alternative to polluting gas-powered rotary models. Reel mowers also reduce noise pollution. A reel mower is safer to use because the blades stop when you stop pushing, They are less expensive to purchase and maintain than gas or electric mowers. Modern versions are easier to use than older models because lightweight plastics and alloys incorporated into their framework have made them more maneuverable.

But reel mowers come with some disadvantages, too. They can’t chop up twigs and the twigs get lodged in the blades, requiring manual removal. Raking up twigs before mowing is advisable, adding time and effort to the task. Reel mowers cannot be used in fall as makeshift leaf-shredders. Rotary models are also better at mowing grass that’s grown too high, an important consideration for those who don’t mow the grass religiously.

Reel lawn mowers are well-suited only to those who tend to small urban lots and enjoy exercise. But if you do have just a small lawn to mow, the reel mower can be ideal. Dealing with all the gas, oil, and noise associated with regular mowers seems like overkill for such a small space.

Another choice other than reel mowers for those who have a small lawn is a rechargeable battery-powered mower. This type keeps mower maintenance to a bare minimum.

Buying vs. Renting

Reel mowers are inexpensive, costing around 100 on average to purchase. Since mowing the lawn is a weekly chore, especially in the spring and summer months, it only makes sense to buy one rather than go through the constant expense and hassle of renting one.

Although reel mowers are relatively cheap, you shouldn’t necessarily buy the very cheapest option. You want to make sure your mower is well-made, and that blade sharpening kits for the brand you select are easy to find because you’ll need to sharpen the blade regularly.

How to Maintain Reel Mowers

There is one regular mower-maintenance chore necessary with reel mowers: sharpening the blades. This needs to be done once or twice every year. You can buy sharpening kits, or you can grab these three basic items: grinding stone, grinding paste, and newspaper. The blades can remain on the mower, and with a little bit of manual effort, you can complete the sharpening process.

  • Grinding stone: Use the stone first to smooth out any nicks or burrs you feel on the blades.
  • Grinding paste: Apply the paste to the blades and cutter bar. Then turn the reel backward. The grinding paste and running it backward will sharpen the blades and cutter bar’s edges. Do this for a few minutes, and you will see the paste going away and shiny edges appearing. If there’s any excess paste, simply wipe it off.
  • Newspaper: Test the sharpness of the blades on the newspaper. If it’s not sharp enough, repeat the sharpening process.


After each use, make sure to wipe/wash off any grass clippings that have built up on the mower. Store the reel mower in a dry place to help keep it from rusting.

When to Replace Your Reel Mower

Reel mowers will last for many years if you keep them clean and sharpen the blades periodically. If you find yourself not having the time to mow often with a reel mower, or you’ve gotten a larger yard, then you should consider replacing it with a powered mower. If your yard is considerably bigger, then a riding lawn mower will save you time and effort.

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