Mowing your lawn is an essential component to keeping your yard looking neat and healthy. In addition to the cosmetic benefits of keeping your lawn short and even, consistent mowing also ensures your lawn’s health as it eliminates weeds as well as pests. In order to accomplish all of these goals, you need one piece of equipment - a lawn mower.
A well-functioning lawn mower is crucial when it comes to taking care of your yard. But your mower can’t do the job well if your blades are dull. This is why sharpening your lawn mower blades regularly is a must. Sharp blades cut the grass cleanly as they make lawn mowing fast and efficient. Not sure how to go about maintaining your mower? Here are some tips on how to sharpen your lawn mower’s blades.
Remove the spark plug
Before you begin the task of sharpening your mower’s blades, your first step is to remove the spark plug. The last thing you want is for your motor to start accidentally. Pull the ignition wire from the spark plug. If your mower is cordless, you can also opt to remove the battery pack.
Turn the mower onto its side
When turning the mower onto its side, be sure to have the carburetor and air filter side up. This will prevent gas and oil from dripping onto the air filter. This will also prevent smoke from forming the next time you start the machine if there’s an oil leak. Identifying the carburetor shouldn’t be hard because you’ll be able to spot throttling cables running. Be sure to keep a rag handy to catch any gas that may spill onto the floor in case you have any leaks.
Remove the blade
Before you actually remove the blade, it’s important to make sure it’s reinstalled properly and not facing downward after it’s sharpened. Mark the correct side with spray paint to avoid installing it upside-down. Otherwise, you might end up wondering why it isn’t cutting the grass next time you go to mow your lawn.
Next, use a short woodblock and wedge it between the end of the blade and the deck. Loosen the bolt or nut using a large ratcheting wrench, and turn counterclockwise to remove the bolt and blade. Now that the blade is removed, take time to clean the deck’s underside and get rid of any mud, caked-on grass, and other debris. Then clean both sides of the blade by scrubbing it with a brush with stiff bristles.
Sharpen the blade
Sharpening your blade will now require the use of a file. When performing this step, be sure to have your blade clamped in a vise and position it in such a way that it is angled with one of its cutting edges facing up. Sharpen the cutting edge using a mill bastard file. Do this until your blade is sharp enough. Otherwise, you may need to repeat the process until your desired sharpness is achieved, or if the blade is already “butter-knife” sharp.
When filing the blade, be sure to follow the direction of the cutting edge. You should feel the cutting action of the file as it cuts in one direction only. Otherwise, the file may be dull, or you may need to push harder.
You may also opt to use a drill-powered blade sharpener, which consists of a stone with a beveled surface, capable of grinding the cutting angle on the blade. While this may be quicker in getting the task done, it might be more difficult to control and could even ruin the blade when it overheats.
Balance the blade
Take time to check if the blade is balanced before reinstalling it. Sharpening can sometimes result in an unbalanced blade due to removing more metal from one end of the blade than the other. Hang the blade with its center hole slipped through a nail on a wall and position it horizontally. The blade should remain horizontal with neither end dipping on its side.
Maintaining a lovely and beautiful lawn requires regular mowing. This can’t be achieved if your lawn mower blades are dull. Follow these tips for how you can sharpen your lawn mower blades and achieve a healthy and neatly trimmed lawn.
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