A dull mower blade leads to a sloppy lawn, and more time mowing. Save time, and keep your yard looking sharp by properly maintaining your lawn mower blade and replacing it when it gets worn down. Everglades Equipment Group has made this handy guide to removing and sharpening the blade on mower so you can keep everything crisp and clean. If you need help, advice, service, or maintenance remember to come in and see us at Everglades Equipment Group, serving the areas of south and central Florida!
Removing the Blade
The first step to getting your mower running more efficiently is to get the blade out. Before you begin this process, it's a good idea to pull the spark plug to prevent an accidental jump while you're under the deck of the mower. Use some paint and mark the bottom of the blade, this will keep you from installing your mower blade upside down after sharpening. Next, you'll be tilting your mower up to sharpen the blade. Tilt your mower so the carburetor is up, Use a 2x4 to wedge the blade in place, with one end inside the skirt of the mower deck so that when you remove the bolt the blade will resist against the block. Use a breaker bar or a long handle wrench to get enough leverage to loosen the bolt.
Replace or Repair?
With your lawn mower blade removed, you can get an idea of the condition to determine if you're going to need a replacement, or if a sharpening will be enough. It's a good idea to have a replacement blade on hand for comparison, and in case you need a repair. The cutting edge of the blade should be straight, while the trailing edge (back side) of the blade should be nice and thick. If the cutting edge has dents or gouges that won't file out, that's another sign that you'll need to put on your replacement.
With a long file (10 inches or more), sharpen the cutting edges of your blade. The steel of the blade should be fairly soft, so a few dozen strokes should give you a nice cutting edge. Sharpen from the top side of the cutting edge, using smooth, strong push stroke. This isn't a buck knife, so don't worry about getting a razor edge on your blade, simply get the shape of the blade back to where it started. If you're proficient with a grinder you could speed up the job. However, if you allow the tool to get away from you, your blade may wind up off balance and essentially useless. Mulching blades are a little trickier than a standard mower blade because of the shape of the cutting edge. This may require several types of files to sharpen properly and significantly more patience.
Balance the Blade
Before you get your blade back under the mower, make sure it's balanced. Use a nail secured in a stud and set the blade on using the bolt hole. If the blade tips or tilts, you'll need to file down the dropping side of the blade a bit more. Repeat this until your blade sits even on the nail. The reason balance is important is the blade will begin to cause vibration and put extra strain on the blade shaft, potentially leading to more expensive repairs down the road.