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How to Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades without Removing Them: Main Steps to Take

This article will show how to sharpen lawn mower blades without removing them, as well as safety tips and help with choosing the right tools
Last updatedLast updated: August 05, 2022
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Lawn mower blades are more prone to dulling than other blades because they are often used but mostly because of the silicate particles in grass. Dull blades shred grass roughly and make it harder for your lawn to grow due to the torn tips. This also increases the likelihood of pests and diseases on your lawn. It is important to sharpen the blades at least twice annually to maintain peak performance and to keep neatly trimmed and healthy lawns. We will explain how to sharpen lawn mower blades without removing them in this comprehensive article. The process is quite simple with the step-by-step instructions we have provided. We have included all the tools you will need to sharpen the blades.

Preparations to Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades

Start by assembling all the necessary tools and equipment before you sharpen the lawn mower blades.

Tools you’ll need

The following are the crucial tools you will need to sharpen push lawn mower blades without removing them for proper mowing Trusted Source Turf: Lawn Mowing | Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment at UMass Amherst Mowing is the most basic and frequently practiced of all lawn care operations. Proper mowing is essential in the maintenance of quality turf. Cutting Height Turfgrasses, like all other green plants, must carry on the process of photosynthesis in order to survive and grow. Close mowing reduces the amount of leaf area available for photosynthesis and in turn may reduce plant. ag.umass.edu .

  • Flat file, grinder or rotary sharpening tool
  • Safety goggles
  • Cut-resistant gloves
  • A bucket of water
  • Steel wire brush or other scraper
  • Cleaner or lubricant
  • Two 2×4 wood blocks that are 16 to 20 inches long
  • Shop rag

Safety tips

How to Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades without Removing Them: Main Steps to Take

The following are the basic safety tips you should observe when you want to sharpen push lawn mower blades without removing them.

  • Wear protective gear such as DEX FIT Level 5 Cut Resistant Gloves Cru553 for your own safety when sharpening the blades.
  • Disconnect the lawn mower from its power source before you start working on it.
  • The device should be placed on a flat surface and secured for additional stability. You should also secure the brakes.

We have included more safety measures you should be aware of in the rest of the guide, where you will find the detailed instructions for sharpening your mower blades.

How to Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades without Removing Them

Sharpening your lawn mower blades without removing them uses a different approach to the usual method of taking off the blades to sharpen them. We have detailed the steps to take and why they are important.

Step 1. Place the tools

Place the lawn mower on a workbench or a flat surface where you can turn the device on its side to access the blade. You could place a sheet or tarp underneath to capture any grass clippings and make cleanup easier.

Also, set the tools in a place that will be easily accessible to save time.

Step 2. Turn off the device

How to Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades without Removing Them: Main Steps to Take

The next step of how to sharpen riding mower blades without removing them is to disconnect the lawn mower from power supply to prevent accidental starts during the process. This means removing the battery or unplugging the power cord for electric lawn mowers and disconnecting the spark plug hood for gas mowers.

Step 3. Seal gas tank

If you own the best lawn mower for small yard and it is gas powered, you must ensure that there is no spillage or leakage of fumes when you tilt the device. To do this, you remove the lid of the tank and put a plastic bag over the top and then replace the lid. We recommend that you drain the tank completely before you sharpen push lawn mower blades without removing them.

To access the blade, you must tilt the lawn mower on its side with the carburetor and the gas tank facing upwards to prevent leaking oil and gas. Place the 2×4 wooden block below the motor or engine to add extra support and make the lawn mower more stable as you work on it.

Step 4. Secure blades

After securing the lawn mower, the next step is to secure the blade to prevent it from moving as you sharpen it. This is done by placing the other 2×4 wooden block below the blade or between the blade and the cutting deck. Instead of a block of wood, some people use a set of locking pliers or a clamp for lawn mowers that support a clamp. Securing the blade is important, especially if you are using an angle grinder or drill. Apart from preventing the blade from moving, holding it in place enables you to sharpen the blade at the correct angle.

Step 5. Clean blades

How to Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades without Removing Them: Main Steps to Take

To sharpen riding mower blades without removing them, you should clean the blade after you have fastened it to remove dirt, grass and other debris. This promotes proper lawn maintenance Trusted Source Lawn Maintenance and Climate Change — PSCI How does your caring for your lawn affect climate change? Learn more! psci.princeton.edu by improving your mower’s speed, performance as well as a longer lifespan. Use the steel wire brush to scrape off the caked dirt, debris and rust from the blade and any mulched leaves and grass clippings on the underside of the deck of the lawn mower. Next, use water, cleaner and a shop rag to remove stubborn gunk. Make sure the area beneath the deck has dried completely after cleaning since wet metal will make the lawn mower prone to rust and corrosion.

You are now ready to sharpen your push lawn mower blades without removing them.

Step 6. Sharpen blades

Lawn mowers come in various types and designs for different scenarios. You can choose the best mower for hills, or lawns, or even one that is optimized for a specific kind of soil condition. Regardless of the type you own, removing the blades to sharpen them is much easier because they are more accessible than they are when you sharpen riding mower blades without removing them. However, you can make the task less challenging by using the right tool and appropriate angle and by sharpening in the right direction.

Lawn mower blades feature two halves from the center attachment, with each half having a cutting edge which refers to the small area on each side of the blade.

Since you are sharpening push lawn mower blades without removing them, you will only be honing the sides that are closer to the cutting edge. Some people only sharpen one side of the blade’s cutting edge because it is a bit harder to access the side of the cutting edge that faces the cutting deck of the lawn mower because it is placed at an awkward angle. However, we recommend sharpening the two sides of the blade to make your lawn mower more effective.

You can use a flat file, grinder or rotary sharpening tool to perform this task. A flat file will take a bit longer than DEWALT Angle Grinder Tool which is equipped with a high-efficiency 12,000 RPM motor.

How to Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades without Removing Them: Main Steps to Take

Place the flat file over the cutting edge of the lawn mower blade and then move it smoothly along the blade numerous times, ensuring that you apply pressure only in one direction. Once you have sharpened one side properly, repeat the same process on the other side. It takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes to sharpen each side if you are using a flat file.

If you are using a grinder or rotary sharpening tool, you must set the tip at an angle of 45 degrees while sharpening riding mower blades without removing them. After you have already set the rotary sharpening tool to the appropriate angle, place its tip against the blade to make sure the tip is flush with the lawn mower blade.

You should only sharpen the top side of the blade. This is the side facing the lawn mower engine, not the ground.

Move the grinder or rotary sharpening tool down the blade a couple of times until you see that the blade is sharper. Although these two tools might not be as precise as a flat file, they require less effort and are much faster than a flat file. So, you only need to run them along the blade about 2 to 3 times and it will take you only few minutes to sharpen each side of the blade.

Remember to move the sharpening tool only in one direction instead of using a back and forth motion, and to use the entire length of the grinder in every stroke to grind smoothly, with uniform strokes as you grind from the center of the blade. This will sharpen both sides evenly. Another tip you will often see when researching how to sharpen push lawn mower blades without removing them is to finish sharpening one edge before you switch to sharpening the other edge. Since it might be tricky to estimate how much you have sharpened each side, a good idea is to estimate the number of passes you made with your sharpening tool when grinding one edge and then try to replicate the number when you switch to sharpening the other edge. After sharpening the blades, the next procedure is to remove metal shavings, if any, on the blade and the undercarriage of the lawn mower.

Step 7. Test run

After that, lower your lawn mower slowly and place it an upright position.

Refill the gas tank if you had emptied it beforehand to sharpen the best riding lawn mower blades without removing them.

It is advisable to test run your lawn mower to confirm that the blades are sharper with a clean cut. Plug the lawn mower back to the power source or replace the battery for electric models. If you are using a gas mower, reopen the lid of the gas tank and replace the lid again after removing the plastic bag you used to seal the tank to prevent spillage.

FAQ

For more information on how to sharpen push lawn mower blades without removing them, check the following section where we briefly answer some of the most common questions.

How often should you sharpen lawn mower blades?

Your sharpening schedule will be influenced by usage, the kind of grass, the blade design and material, and the type of motor your lawn mower has. All these factors can affect the rate at which your mower’s blade will dull. A good guideline that is often recommended is to sharpen lawn mower blades after 20 to 25 hours of use or twice per season. Checking your lawn for any rough cuts will also alert you when your blades are due for sharpening.

What are notched blades?

Notched blades have serrated edges that make them the best blades to cut weeds and crops in hard soil and difficult soil conditions with sticks, rocks and other stubborn debris. They are superior to smooth blades when you need seamless cutting of overgrown vegetation and deeper penetration in tough soil.

Is there difference for sharpening push and riding lawn mower blades?

Yes, of course. In addition to keeping your lawn tidy and healthy by ensuring a clean cut, sharpening push and riding lawn mower blades will reduce the time and effort you spend mowing your lawn. It will also extend the lawn mower’s lifespan by keeping the components clean and well-maintained.

Final Thoughts

Mowing is essential in maintaining a high-quality lawn. One of the key components of the lawn mower that plays a major role in keeping a tidy lawn is the blade. That is why the state and quality of the blade matters. The blade should be as sharp as possible to avoid tearing, instead of cutting, the grass blades. A dull blade will result in a lawn with a brownish tint and unhealthy plants that are more likely to harbor pests and diseases. Sometimes the circumstances might not allow you to remove the blades to sharpen them. Fortunately, you can still keep your blades sharp by following this guide on how to sharpen lawn mower blades without removing them.

References

1.
Turf: Lawn Mowing | Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment at UMass Amherst
Mowing is the most basic and frequently practiced of all lawn care operations. Proper mowing is essential in the maintenance of quality turf. Cutting Height Turfgrasses, like all other green plants, must carry on the process of photosynthesis in order to survive and grow. Close mowing reduces the amount of leaf area available for photosynthesis and in turn may reduce plant.
2.
Lawn Maintenance and Climate Change — PSCI
How does your caring for your lawn affect climate change? Learn more!
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