Garden tips: How to maintain your lawn
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Lawn mowing is crucial to keep fresh blades of grass emerging from the soil, so it can be detrimental to your garden if done incorrectly. While sharpening dull, blunt blades is not the simplest of tasks, it has to be done if you want a luscious, green lawn. Here’s how to safely sharpen your lawn mower blades in a few easy steps.
How to sharpen lawn mower blades
Dull blades will leave your lawn looking uneven and could even damage the grass, but it can be easily prevented by simply sharpening them.
Safety is paramount while sharpening mower blades, so you will need to gather a few protective tools before starting the process.
- A long sleeve top
- Thick gloves
- Eye goggles
- A block of wood to secure the blade as you remove it
- A wrench or screwdriver to remove the blades from the mower
- A clamp
- Angle grinder or drill powered sharpener
Remove and clean the blade
Removing the spark plug, battery and any safety keys is essential to avoid the risk of the mower accidentally starting up, so always do this first before taking the blade out.
To remove the blade, you should flip the mower onto its side, with the filter side facing upwards.
Marking the bottom part of your mower is worth doing before taking the blade out in order to prevent any mishaps like replacing the blade upside down when you’re done.
Use the block of wood to create a wedge between the mower deck and blade – this will stop it from spinning as you remove it.
A wrench is the best tool to loosen any tight bolts, though you may need some lubricant like WD-40 to fully release the blade.
Once it is out, you should clean the blade using soapy water to remove any dirt or debris – just be sure to let it dry completely before sharpening.
Lawnmower blades should not be sharpened without taking them off for two reasons:
- It is much more difficult to access the blade
- The chances of the blade slipping and causing injury are far higher
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Sharpen the blade
There are several ways to sharpen a lawnmower blade, though the goal is always the same.
A lawnmower blade should be sharpened until it resembles a butter-knife, and can be done by hand using a bastard file.
To sharpen using a file, start by clamping it in a vice to hold it securely.
Run the file across the blade edge in one swift motion, in the same direction as the original cutting bale angle.
You should do this with pressure, though take care not to slip off the blade as you move the file.
Repeat the filing motion in one direction until you are satisfied with the sharpness.
Check the balance
Before you reinstall the blade into the lawnmower, you should always check its balance.
To do this, simply hang the blade from a nail and check for proper balance.
It will be clear to see if the blade is lop-sided by the way it sits from the nail.
If the blade does fall to one side, you should continue grinding the heavier side until the blade is balanced and even.
At this point, the blade will be ready to reinstall in the mower.
You should repeat the sharpening process when you notice your mower delivering a consistently blunt or uneven cut.
This is generally at least twice per season.
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