How to Sharpen Reel Mowers


Reel mowers have been around since the 19th century. They have multiple blades mounted on a rotating drum. The drum spins, causing the blades to spin and cut grass. Reel mowers range in size from small hand mowers for home use to large mowers towed behind tractors. Whatever type of reel mower you have, the blades will eventually need to be sharpened. Sharpening the blades is not difficult.

Step 1

Remove the handle on your mower. On some mowers, removing the handle may be as simple as pushing the lower part of the handle inward at the base. In other cases, you may need to unscrew or unbolt the handle.

Step 2

Turn your mower on its side and remove any cover over the center of the wheel. Remove the fastener holding the wheel to the mower. On some mowers, the wheel may be held on with a C ring. Other mowers may have a center screw or bolt.

Step 3

Remove the wheel and drive gear by pulling them upward.

Step 4

Apply sharpening compound to the blades. The sharpening compound is included in your reel mower sharpening kit.

Step 5

Place the crank handle on the metal that held the gear. Crank the blades backward. Stop periodically and check the blades. Your blades are sharp when you can see an even, smooth metal surface on all blades.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches
  • Reel mower sharpening kit


  • Reel Mowers: Getting Started with Sharpening a Reel Mower
  • Bob Vila: Adjusting Reel Mowers
Keywords: reel mower sharpening, lawn mower care, lawn mower maintenance

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.