How to Sharpen a Manual Reel Mower
Getting started with sharpening a reel mower
Before you take the time and effort to sharpen, are you sure that it really needs to be sharpened at all?
95 percent of all issues can be solved by making sure the blades are properly adjusted. You can learn how to adjust the blades on a Scotts Classic / American Lawnmower / Great States reel mower on this page. (Look for the section about Adjusting The Blades.)
I am using a Scotts Classic as an example, but all of the mowers manufactured by American Lawnmower / Great States are sharpened more or less exactly the same way. If you don’t know if your mower was made by American Lawnmower or not, check http://www.reelin.com.
The first step is to take off the handle to get it out of your way, and then turn the mower on its side and pop off the side cover with a screwdriver. This will uncover the ring that holds the wheel onto the mower.
Step 2 to sharpen a push mower.
Step 3 to sharpen a manual mower.
Step 4 to sharpening a reel lawn mower.
Step 5 to sharpening a reel lawnmower.
Next, take the crank that came with the sharpening kit, and slide it over the piece of metal where the gear was attached. This is going to allow you to turn the blades backwards, which is key to sharpening. You are sharpening it using the “backlapping method” when you use a sharpening kit. This is much safer than grinding the blades with a grinder, because you won’t accidentally overgrind and ruin the mower.
At the left is another photo that shows what it looks like when the crank is fully attached. It just slides on and doesn’t attach with a tool or anything like that.
Step 6 to sharpen.
Now you’ll take out the paint brush and plastic container of sharpening compound that also came with the sharpening kit. Open up the plastic container, and put some sharpening compound on the paint brush.
Step 7 to sharpen.
Step 8 to sharpen.
Step 9 to sharpen.
Step 10 to sharpening a reel mower.
Step 11 to sharpen.
Sharpening a reel mower without turning the crank.
Don’t feel like cranking the blades backward yourself? Here’s an idea that a reader sent in:
“Just though I’d let you that if you have an electric drill, you can use a 16 or 17mm socket (don’t remember which, but it’s one of those and it has to be a deep socket) to back crank the reel. It saves a whole lot of sweat and time!”
Thanks, to Brandon B