Why Sharp Blades Matter
The difference between a sharp razor and the razors that you try to get one last shave out of is quite apparent when you irritate and cut your face when using the old one. A brand new blade gives a nice, clean shave. The same thing happens when cutting grass. If the blades are nicked or dull, the lawn will end up with a ragged trim, causing it to suffer damage and become more susceptible to pests and diseases. But if the blades are nice and sharp you will end up with a clean cut, with greatly reduced damage or stress. At that start of the landscaping season (essentially any time of year here in Florida) and after roughly 10 hours of service, do a thorough inspection of your mower’s blades. Signs of a dull blade include bends, nicks, and/or dents. You’ll want to ensure the blades are properly sharpened and balanced. In addition to the physical inspection of the blades, do a quick inspection of the lawn before you begin your landscaping - clear away any sticks, rocks, or other debris in the area. While mowing, keep an eye out for sprinkler heads and other obstacles that you may want to flag to avoid running them over and damaging the item and your blades.
Tips For Properly Sharpening Your Blades:
- Wear protective gear, such as safety glasses
- Disconnect spark plugs
- Remove the blade
- Use a metal file, sharpening stone, or grinder
- If using a file, run it in the direction of the blade’s angle - never file back and forth
- Work in one direction only; blades usually have an angle of 45 degrees
- Depending on the usage, replace your lawn mower’s blade every 1-3 years. Always use OEM blades designed for your specific mower. Universal blades may save you a few dollars here and there, but can cause potential safety issues from improper mounting and/or the type of metal used to construct the blade.
Properly Balancing Your Blades
Having properly balanced blades is every bit as important as blade sharpness. An unbalanced blade causes stress on the engine and cutting deck due to vibration. After you sharpen the blade, test its balance with a blade-balancing tool. If you don’t have access to this specialized tool, you can hammer a nail partway into a wall in your garage and hang the blade from it (using the center hole). If the blade hangs horizontally, it is in balance. If one side drops, remove excess material from the side it leans to, using a file or sharpening stone.
If you follow these recommendations and have the proper tools and safety gear on-hand, sharpening your blades is a relatively easy task. However, if you don’t have the proper gear, or don’t feel comfortable doing this type of maintenance yourself, your local dealer can quickly sharpen and balance blades for you.
Bottom line: using sharp blades will help you have a perfectly mowed lawn, every time.
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