Your push mower may not be cutting as smoothly as it once was. Don’t fret over taking it to a professional for lawn mower repair or replacing your blades or even the entire mower. Sharpening your mower blades is a quick do it yourself project.
Check for Nicks
Examine your blades closely to see if you have any nicks in the cutting edge. If there are any, simply take a flat file, lay it down against the flat side of the blade and push away from the blade’s edge to smooth them out.
Check the Cutting Bar
The cutting bar should rest so that it just barely touches the cutting edge of all your mower blades. If set properly, this will actually sharpen your mower blades as you mow, and often this is the only repair that needs to be done to solve your dullness problem.
If the cutting bar isn’t set properly, it's usually a quick fix. This will vary depending on your specific model, and you should always take a look at your owner’s manual. However, most push mowers are standard in construction, to make for easy adjustments to your cutting bar. Usually, all that needs be done is to loosen a screw or two, re-adjust the cutting bar to where it needs to be and tighten the screws back up.
Sharpening the Blades Yourself
There are two ways to go about sharpening the blades on your push mower. The first method is to check your owner's manual and follow the instructions.
However, there is an easy solution that works with most push mowers. Purchase an automotive valve-grinding compound. Make sure that the cutting bar is properly positioned, and cover your blades with a thin, even coat of the compound. You can use your fingers or a soft brush for this.
Turn one of the wheels backwards slowly, making sure that each blade contacts the cutting bar. This will “squeeze” the valve-grinding compound between the cutting bar and the blade, sharpening both of your cutting edges. You’ll need to make about a dozen full, slow turns and be sure to apply more of the valve-grinding compound as necessary. Once your blades look sharp, wash them off with soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
If you want to test the sharpness of your blades, insert a newspaper page between your blades and the cutting bar, and turn the reel forward. Positioned right, the newspaper should be cut as smoothly as if by a smooth pair of scissors. Follow these simple steps, and you’re mower is ready to roll!