What can I use to sharpen reel mower blades? I know that you can use a sharpening compound or chemical product but what is it and where can I find it?
There are numerous product available that you can purchase. Here are 4 examples that you can choose from:
Reel Mowers, Etc
I have to be honest with you, whenever I need to sharpen the blades on my mower, I prefer to take it to my local hardware store and have them do it for me. I feel it is worth the price, and they can do a far better job then I could ever do.
I currently own and operate two specific grinders that do a superb job on reel mowers. I've sharpened hundreds of homeowner and dozens of commercial units. When I first started learning about grinding these old fashioned mowers, I took some valve grinding (or lapping) compound, which is available at many hardware or automotive supply stores, lightly spreading it onto the reel mower's blades and turning the bed knife adjustment screws so they contact and slightly wear into the knife edges. I would then push the unit up and down a sidewalk to obtain this wear in pattern, adding compound or tightening the knife engagements as needed. In this respect, most reel mowers are "self-sharpening" and eventually get to a point where they really should have a relief grind put back on the reel knife edges. That is what I grind now in my shop. Until that time, keep in mind the bed knife must lightly contact the reel, like a pair of scissors. After using the compound, wash the mower off and apply some medium to light oil on the blades, then adjust the bedknife contacting the reel as lightly and evenly as possible.
Some golf courses have a machine that spins the blades backwards (called back-lapping) and they pretty much do the same thing, and eventually they will need a relief grind sometime, too. I've also noted some older reels are of superior quality steel, much better than the current hardware store versions available today. Many of the Scotts mowers have thinner blades but have good steel in them. Watch for loose bearings, wheels and bushings if looking at rummage sales to purchase a good unit.
I've enjoyed seeing really old mowers from the past, incuding several from around the turn of the century. Each machine is similar, but the styling and design of the frames, wheels and mechanisms are varied and interesting.
As another point of interest, I typically charge just under $30 to properly sharpen and grease/lube and adjust a homeowner's reel mower.
You can use a bench grinder or a 1" wide bench sander. Don't forget to balance the blade.
Edgemaster mobile sharpening sharpening professionals sharpen reel type mowers according to the information found online. Google reel type mowers and get the directions which are downloadable. That is preferrable as you will need to get some tools and make adjustments to the cutter bar. We could put the information in this answer but it would be too lengthy. If you have a problem, try Edgemaster Mobile Sharpening and we will be able to direct you. Jon
Oops, krakkerjakkp356, good instructions for a one blade rotary sharpener but don't try this with a reel type. Edgemaster Proffessional sharpeners use our Model 400 for rotary machines but not reels. Important to know. Contact an Edgemaster Mobile Sharpener for info on a reel type or look at directions below. Jon
You can use The American Lawn Mower Company reel mower sharpening kit. This do-it-yourself kit allows users to sharpen their own mowers at home. The kit contains everything you need for safe and effective sharpening, including a detailed instruction manual, grinding compound, application brush, and a special back-lapping crank. It is an easy way to keep reel blades in top cutting form.
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