A ragged appearance to a freshly mowed yard often results from dull lawn mower blades. Dull blades break and tear the grass, instead of smoothly cutting it. According to Uncle Bob's Tips, a dull blades leaves the lawn susceptible to sun and disease damage. Make sharpening the mower blades a part of your routine lawn mower maintenance. Proper sharpening tools help sharpen mower blades efficiently and safely.
Items for Safety
Whenever sharpening lawn mower blades, first consider safety. Leather gloves protect your hands while removing the blade from the mower. Many people attempting to sharpen blades try to hold them in their hands. Mother Earth News recommends using a vise to securely clamp the blade in place while sharpening.
The majority of blades are sharpened with a simple coarse-tooth file. Costing less than $10 as of July 2010, the traditional file requires no electricity or experience with power tools. Use the file in steady strokes toward the sharp edge of the blade, following the angle of the blade.
Specialty files are designed to reduce work and improve upon the sharpening of the traditional file. Files made from diamonds offer a longer file life and a sharper edge with few strokes. Specific garden tool files may be curved to reduce fatigue while sharpening mower blades.
Electric grinders are available at most hardware and home improvement stores. They work efficiently, removing a large amount of blade very quickly. However, according to Mother Earth News, electric grinders make a concave edge that dulls faster. Mother Earth recommends dipping the blade in water during the sharpening process to reduce the amount of heat applied to the blade.
The mower blade must be balanced to reduce mower vibration. The blade must be sharpened on both ends in equal amounts to balance the blade. The blade balancer is a small, cone-shaped tool that helps determine if the blade is balanced. The blade sits on top of the balancer. The side of the blade that dips toward the ground needs additional filing or grinding.