How to Sharpen Blades on a Push Lawn Mower


A push mower, often called a reel mower, converts the energy of the person pushing the mower into a spinning motion of a drum, or reel, with multiple blades. Those blades spin quickly against a fixed metal plate. The grass is cut via a scissors-like action of the moving blades against the fixed metal plate. In older reel mowers, the blades actually touch the plate. In more modern mowers, the blades spin a fraction of a millimeter above the plate to reduce dulling of the blade. Older mowers may need to be sharpened every one to three years. Some modern mowers can go five to eight years between sharpenings.

Step 1

Remove the lawn mower handle. The process varies depending on the type of mower. Some mowers will require you to remove screws, bolts, or nuts to remove the handle. On others, however, you can simply press the two sides of the handle in toward the center to release the handle from the mower.

Step 2

Turn the mower on its side.

Step 3

Remove any plates that cover the bolt that holds the wheel on the mower. Some mowers do not have this cover. On other mowers, especially older mowers, the plate may be missing.

Step 4

Remove the hardware holding the wheel on the mower. On some mowers, there is a C ring. If your mower has a C ring, use a screwdriver to work the ring off the axle. If your mower has a bolt or nut holding the wheel on, remove it with a wrench.

Step 5

Slip the wheel and drive gear off the base.

Step 6

Paint the sharpening compound from the mower sharpening kit equally on the cutting edge of all of the blades, using a paintbrush.

Step 7

Affix the crank from the mower sharpening kit to the place where the drive gear was mounted.

Step 8

Turn the crank in the direction that causes the blades to spin backward.

Step 9

Turn the crank until all of the blades have a shiny edge of newly exposed metal.

Step 10

Remove the crank and reassemble the mower.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench set
  • Screwdriver set
  • Paintbrush
  • Mower sharpening kit


  • City University of New York: Sharpening Lawnmowers
  • Reel Mowers Sharpening: How to Sharpen a Manual Reel Mower
Keywords: reel mower sharpening, push mower sharpening, human powered 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.