Reel mowers, also known as push mowers, have came a long way since their clunkier predecessors. The newest reel mower models are much lighter making them easier to push and with improved blade technology require very little maintenance. With just a few simple steps taken each time after mowing, you'll greatly reduce overall maintenance even more.
Adjust the blade height when mowing taller or shorter grasses. Most reel mowers have a height adjustment lever located on the mower's side. Move the lever to the desired height, taking into account grass height. Start on a higher height if grass is very tall and mow the grass a second time at a lower height to prevent damage to the reel mower.
Wipe the blades clean after mowing with a clean cloth. If mower blades do not clean easily with the cloth, spray the blades with water from a hose until the blades come clean. Completely wipe any water from the blades with the cloth.
Spray a lubricant on the blades after cleaning. Apply to all cutting parts including the reel axle and wheels.
Test the sharpness of the blade once a year by placing a piece of paper between the blades. Push the mower to turn the blades. The paper should show clean cuts with no jagged edges, similar to what you would see if you cut it with a sharp paper cutter.
Sharpen the blades every three to five years, depending on how much you use the mower and if you clean and lubricate the blades regularly. A sharpening kit is usually provided with the mower or can be purchased online or from home improvement stores. Sharpening involves removing the wheel and gear on the mower, sliding a backlapping tool or crank into the gear piece, applying a sharpening compound to the blades and turning the backlapping tool until the blades appear sharp.