How to Maintain a Reel Lawn Mower


Reel mowers cut grass as well today as when they were first invented. Since they have no engine, they are considered a "green" alternative to grass cutting. They use no fossil fuels to make them run and are powered solely by human energy. All they need is a little routine maintenance before the grass cutting season begins, and they will be good to go for the rest of the year.

Step 1

Put on your leather gloves and place the mower up on a table or a work bench.

Step 2

Examine the cutting bar and the blades on the mower. Remove any burrs by gently taking a file and filing off and smoothing out each component.

Step 3

Locate the adjustment nuts for the cutting bar. They will be on the ends of where the bar attaches to the mower proper. Loosen these bolts with your adjustable wrench in a counterclockwise rotation and move the cutting bar so it barely touches the blades as they go past. This action is what activates the scissors cutting feature that is an inherent aspect of every reel mower. Tighten down the bolts after the adjustment.

Step 4

Apply grinding paste the the edges of all the blades. Once that is done, begin rotating the blades backwards. This will cause the abrasive paste to smooth and sharpen the cutting edges as they pass, literally making them razor sharp scissors for nearly effortless cutting. Turn the blades backwards for a good 10 minutes worth of time for the ultimate sharpening effect.

Step 5

Remove the outside wheel covers with your screwdriver by taking the screws out that hold the sides on. Inside will be the gears and the bearings that turns the wheels and the blades. Dip your putty knife into the grease so that the top end of the blade is well coated, then literally push this grease into the bearings and the gearing. Turn the wheels slightly so the grease begins to lubricate the mechanical parts, then pack some more grease on top of that for good measure. Replace the side covers.

Step 6

Spray down all the metal parts with any commercial kind of spray lube. This will keep rust away while lubricating the rollers and the other moving parts on the reel mower.

Things You'll Need

  • File or sharpening stone
  • Grinding paste
  • Automotive grease
  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Leather gloves
  • Thin putty knife
  • Spray lube


  • Motherearth How to Maintain Push Reel Mowers
  • Bob Adjusting Reel Mowers
Keywords: reel mower, cutting bar, a green alternative, grass cutting, smooth and sharpen

About this Author

Dale Y the Maintenance Guy, has been involved with do-it-yourself projects, household and auto maintenance, property management and worked as a consultant with home and industries, while running a successful home repair business for more than 25 years. His written work has appeared in the "Lacrosse Tribune," "Women's Day," "New Home Journal," and on many DIY websites across the Internet.