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How easy does a lawnmower blade become dull?


unclejack's Avatar
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06-29-11, 08:16 AM   #1  
How easy does a lawnmower blade become dull?

Hello, I know this is kind of a dumb question but bare with me! I have a Craftsmen 17hp 42inch riding lawnmower. It seems as though my blades become dull very easily. I just had them sharpened before the last time I mowed the yard. I mowed this time and it seems like it's not mowing very well. Although, my yard consists of mud (at times) tree roots, rocks, etc. My yard is a tough one to mow as I also try to mow around my pond which tends to be muddy at times. Any help is always appreciated! Thanks! Jack

 
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06-29-11, 09:18 AM   #2  
My opinion...wet grass, rocks, sticks, etc are very tough on blades.

Also...make sure you are running at high enough engine speed. My old neighbor would put around at maybe 1/4 throttle in a higher gear and wondered why his cut was bad.

Check the tips of the cut grass...if they are clean cuts, not shredded...then I wouldn't worry much.


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06-29-11, 09:32 AM   #3  
Around my area, sand is the main culprit for dulling blades. The dryer it is and the lower people cut the grass, the faster the blades get sand blasted and dull. We have creeping grasses here like St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Centipede. A lot of folks think cutting their grass low will postpone their next mowing a little longer, so they do it, but it keeps the grass from making a thatch and allows dirt patches to develop. Those are the same people who need blades sharpened all the time and get holes sand blasted through their decks.


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07-01-11, 03:01 PM   #4  
Your blades will dull no matter what. I invested in a belt sander a while back, because I was sharpening them after every mow! Using the belt sander, you can sharpen them as often as you need in about 5 minutes.

Something to think about.

Jason

 
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07-09-11, 08:47 AM   #5  
with july and aug ahead of us skip a week or two of mowing and set to one higher setting...so when the dog days kick in that higher setting will shade the roots you'll get your cut and be happy...mowing low to extend cutting it kills the root system in the yards...to shut off and turn brown....do you mulch it???

 
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07-11-11, 06:30 AM   #6  
The shorter you mow, the more likely you are to hit the ground and that dulls blades in a hurry. Rocks ans sticks take a quick toll as well.

 
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05-27-14, 12:07 PM   #7  
I thought I was the only one

Hi all,

I joined this message board just to respond to this (old) thread. I thought I was the only person in the world who had blades wear out after just one mowing. Everything else I found on the 'net seemed like blades should last all mowing season long.

I'm using a Craftsman lawn tractor with a 48" cut on 2 acres. I have sand, a few sticks and pine cones (I try to pick them up, but don't get them all), and wet grass. When I'm done mowing maybe twice, the blades are so dull as to be useless. And we aren't even in the rainy season here yet, where the grass is tall and thick after a week.

OK, I've gone on long enough. I will raise the mower deck up a notch as suggested here. That seems like a good idea.

Thanks,

natchmo

 
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05-27-14, 02:31 PM   #8  
Natchmo, welcome to the forums! The advice in the old thread is still useful. I would add, too, that raising the mower height to a much higher setting (mine is at 3 1/2"), not only will you miss the occasional rock, stick, etc. but your lawn will be greener because the blades of grass will shade the roots from the harsh summer sun.

Don't feel bad at all. I was at the very end of a cutting day (4 acres) on my Kubota ZD21 with a 60" cut mower when I ran over an old tomato cage wifey left laying near her garden. It was one of those collapsible square ones, so I didn't see it. Well all three blades saw it I had to pull all three blades to get it untangled, and changed blades at the same time. That's why I keep 3 sets of spares around.

 
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05-27-14, 05:02 PM   #9  
Using a file to sharpen the blades is the preferred method. And you don't need them razor sharp. Sharp enough to shear the grass tips without tearing them. Regular dressing with a file will make the blade last longer. Power sharpening only wears them out quickly. Also balance is important.

 
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05-28-14, 09:26 AM   #10  
FWIW, I cut to 3 1/2" like Larry as well.

 
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05-28-14, 10:03 AM   #11  
Most of the blades I have to sharpen are way to rounded to sharpen with a file. Even with a really aggressive file, it would take hours to sharpen these blades. I guess if you had some that really weren't dull, they just needed touching up, a file would be okay. Otherwise, proper use of a grinder works quite well and doesn't affect how long they last. When using a grinder for most any purpose, not just sharpening blades, you should keep the stone from sitting on the same spot for long enough to take the temper out of the steel.


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05-28-14, 01:22 PM   #12  
While we are on the subject of blades, what is the opinion of "gator" blades? I bought a set on a whim while stocking up, and that is what I replaced my damaged ones with. Likewise, I will post an opinion after this weekend when I cut again.

 
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05-28-14, 01:30 PM   #13  
A few decades ago, I tried to sharpen blades using those electric drill bit stones with a 30 angle that was sold by Arnold.

You'd really have to have nothing else in your life to occupy yourself in order to make that worthwhile effort. Now I use a grinder and accomplish in 2 minutes what would take half a day with that Arnold stone !

Today, my blades have to be retired because they keep getting "shorter" in length; not just because they're dull.

PS: Ever notice that blades get naturally sharp as the dickens on the top, along the air foil edge, just by being continuously buffered by the cut blades of grass going by ? They get so sharp that many people I know have suffered severe cuts from handling that top edge, and not the cutting edge.

 
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05-28-14, 01:35 PM   #14  
I've been using Gator Blades on a few riders; Gator Blades from Oregon.

They're made of 3/16" thick steel, and hard to sharpen; but those top teeth seem to knock the daylights out of my clippings and leave them pulverized . . . . plus I don't see them developing a razor sharp edge like I just referenced. They sure do look intimidating; and maybe that alone would keep people from being careless in their handling of them ?

 
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05-28-14, 11:25 PM   #15  
Gator blades are ok in my opinion, but for mulching blades they usually don't do quite as well as the oem style mulchers.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

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05-29-14, 06:21 AM   #16  
I bought a Gator blade for my Craftsman self propelled (back in VA where I needed a mower) and other than it making the cord a little harder to pull (those are heavy blades!) it worked fantastic.

I had a lot of nuts from the beech trees and it would just suck them right up, pulverize them and fill the bag in no time. Stock blade didn't come close. Also worked well on leaves.

I imagine I only bought it because it was clearance at HD. Prob never would have paid normal price w/o knowing how well they worked.


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