Sod Cutter Basics
A sod cutter is a device designed to remove grass from a lawn in strips along with the roots underneath, while leaving the majority of the soil intact. A traditional sod cutter has a metal roller with two vertical handles and a horizontal crossbar above the roller. Below the crossbar, the manual sod cutter has a horizontal blade. In some sod cutters, the operator can adjust the blade, thereby adjusting the depth at which the cutter slices through the soil.
Using a Manual Sod Cutter
To use a manual sod cutter, the operator pushes the horizontal bar with his foot to dig the blade into the ground. He then tips the sod cutter so that the blade is level beneath the earth and pushes it forward. Generally, he will periodically kick the horizontal bar to keep pushing the sod cutter forward when it gets stuck in the ground. If the soil is rocky or uneven or the grass is extremely thick, the manual sod cutter can be quite slow going and difficult to operate. After the operator cuts up a strip of sod, he can come back and roll it up.
Gas Powered Sod Cutters
Gas powered sod cutters use a gas engine instead of brute strength.. The operator controls a clutch which turns power on to the roller, making the gas powered cutter move. The engine also powers the cutting blade, causing it to move back and forth. This provides a slicing motion which helps to cut through the turf. The operator can use a lever to adjust the depth the blade cuts at, controlling how much turf the cutter takes off as it moves.