How to Sharpen Blades on a Reel Mower


Reel lawn mowers use a series of blades, often five or more, mounted between two rotating reels. The blades spin, cutting the grass with a sharp cutting edge against a metal plate in much the same way that scissors cut paper or string. Although most reel mowers are human-powered push mowers, some have a gasoline engine and yet other larger mowers are designed to be pulled behind a tractor. Occasionally, their blades need sharpening, and it's a task do-it-yourselfers can handle.

Step 1

Remove the handle from your reel mower. The exact procedure will vary, depending on the design of your mower. On some mowers, you may need to remove screws or bolts. On other mowers, you may be able to press the handle inward near the base to get it to release from the base.

Step 2

Turn the mower on one side.

Step 3

Remove the cover from over the wheel-mounting bolt, if your mower has a cover.

Step 4

Unbolt the wheel from the axle. If your mower has a bolt, use a wrench to remove the bolt. Some wheels are held in place with a C-ring. If your mower has a C-ring, pop it off with a screwdriver.

Step 5

Remove the mower wheel.

Step 6

Pull off the gear that transfers power from the mower wheel to the blade assembly.

Step 7

Place the crank handle that is in your sharpening kit on the stub where the gear was mounted.

Step 8

Apply sharpening compound, using a paintbrush in your sharpening kit, evenly to all your mower's blades.

Step 9

Turn the crank to spin the blades. The sharpening compound will work as the blades pass the cutting plate. Turn the crank until you can see new metal on all the reel mower's blades.

Step 10

Remove the crank handle when you see new metal on all blades.

Step 11

Reattach the wheel to the mower and reinstall the handle.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrench set
  • Reel mower sharpening kit
  • Paintbrush


  • Reel Mowers: How to Sharpen Your Manual Lawnmower
Keywords: reel mower sharpening, reel mower maintenance, sharpening reel mowers

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.