View Full Version : w/b blade sharpening

05-16-2005, 12:22 AM
Okay, I know this topic has been talked in circles, but I am going to ask it, because I haven't asked it personally yet. I have a 52" TT, and I am sick and tired of sharpening blades!!

What do all of you do to sharpen your blades? Does most everyone here take the deck completely off, flip it over, take the blades off and sharpen them, then proceed to put them back on, put the deck back on, etc? OR do most of you prop it up, crawl underneath and take the blades off that way? I find this to be a great inconvience and it is always hard to get the mower propped up well, those blades get really tight sometimes... Then, when I am by myself (which most of the time I am) I cannot get the deck back on if I take it off the mower because I cannot hold everything up and get the pins back in.....

My next question is, without buying a blade grinder, what is the best way to sharpen them? I have a little makita grinder, but I really suck at maintaining a nice angle on the blade... The problem with my bench grinder is that it has two wheels on it, and there is no stinking way to get the blade in there and do it nicely cuz the other wheel gets in the way. I have looked for a single wheel grinder but have not had any luck finding one, does anyone know where I can get one of these? I have also looked into a blade grinder, but they look to be kind of pricey and I am only cutting 14 lawns a week, I find the need to sharpen blades about every two weeks, or every 28 lawns so it is hard to justify the cost of a blade grinder.

Another thing, what about balancing them? I have not researched this greatly, but I hear some people don't bother, and others are extremely picky about it. What kind of products and prices are out there as far as balancers are concerned? Does it really matter that much, considering the fact that there is always play between the hole in the blade and the bolt anyway? There is no way to center them up when you put them on, right?

This sounds like a rookie question, and this being my second year of mowing I stll cannot believe I am asking this, but it is combo of venting and a cry for help, what is your procedure?? Let me know, thanks guys!

Oh, btw, the dealer will sharpen and balance for 2-3 dollars a blade, but the problem is it is really hard to get down there during the week because I am always out cutting or at school, and not only that, but it is not really close trip, I would have about an hour into it round trip, I can't afford to do that!

05-16-2005, 01:26 AM
420, here is my procedure for sharpening my blades on my 48" TT. I do not have pictures but visualize this as I explain it and it should make sense. First of all my trailer has a gate with steel mesh as a surface. I placed a bolt through the mesh approximately in the center of the gate. I then took about a two foot piece of chain and connected it to the bolt with a nut. On the other end of the chain I placed a hook. Now when I let the gate down there lays the piece of chain with the hook connected on the loose end. I then back my mower up until the back wheels are just before starting down the ramp. At this point I put on the parking brake and then tilt the mower up. This places the handle bar assembly down towards the gate. I then place the hook on the chain over one of my handles and this holds the mower in the raised position. I also have four pieces of wood that I screwed together about 18" long. They were cut just so that when I put them together it allowed them to slip over my blades. Start with the blade at the discharge chute and slip on the wooden device. Once you place the socket on the blade nut the wooden piece will catch against the deck housing and leaves you with both hands free and safe for using the ratchet. Once this blade is off move to the center one and finally the last one. Now I clamp each blade to the side of my trailer and use a hand grinder to sharpen them. Place each blade back on in the opposite order that you removed them still using the piece of wood. Also remember to place a little anti sieze on the bolt threads before replacing them and they will come off much easier next time. I don't know about the others but I do not balance the blades after sharpening. The trick using the chain to hold the mower up also works great when scraping the deck. Many times the amount of grass makes the deck front heavy and it will not stay up on its own. Sorry for the long post and I hope this helps.

05-16-2005, 09:32 AM
I made this for that very reason. It slides in and out to fit different lengths. Lesco makes one, that's where I got the idea. It will hold 2 spindles from the top and the swing over to the 3rd.

05-16-2005, 09:45 AM
Sorry, maybe I can upload it this time.

05-16-2005, 10:08 AM
When i sharpen mine, on my Jacobsen 50, i take them completely off. To do this i use my atv/mower lift and put it under the front end. This will get it higher so i can use my impact wrench to get them off and they come off easy.

05-16-2005, 10:14 AM
I just put a jackstand under the front of the mower (mower is light i can pick the frotn up with one hand. Then I'll use an impact gun or a 1/2" ratchet to get them off. I use a 4" grinder to sharpen them. Takes me about 20 mins to fully change them out. I bought 2 more sets of blades to switch out so now i just unbolt and bolt new ones in, then sharpen the others whenever i get a chance.

05-16-2005, 10:25 AM
Take the DECK OFF??????????????

05-16-2005, 10:52 AM
I can't speak for a floating deck but on my fixed deck 48" Scag w/b I just lift the mower up on its side. The end of one of the handles basically just hits the ground and keep the mower positioned upright on a 90 degree angle. It allows me to scrap the deck, change the blades, grease the spindles as well as see underneath the deck very clearly.

Just make sure you do this on level ground otherwise you could tip the machine upside down. I've never had a problem with flooding the engine or leaking gas from tipping machine on its side.

05-16-2005, 12:52 PM
I just bought my own 6" grinder and i cant figure out how to sharpen the blade either. The other wheel is in the way and I cant seem to get the right angle. Any tricks?

05-16-2005, 01:00 PM
A single wheel grinder is about the best, the double wheels do get in the way. a while back Lesco Sold an inexpensive single wheel grinder I think it was in the 2-300 range. I used it and had great luck with it....Nice thing about the "blade" grinders is that some have forms and settings so that you get the same angle each time and you are only taking off a little bit each time.

05-16-2005, 02:21 PM
here is how i do it. i simply raise the front end of the w/b and use a jack stand to hold it there. then one block of wood on the left blade to hold. loosen all three bolts then remove blades. once the blades are removed this is a good time to scrap off the grass from the deck. i have a second set of sharped blades ready to put on. just put them on and in 10-15 mins i'm done. start sharpening the ones i just took off. i sharpen with a large file. filing only takes a couple minutes. done.

05-16-2005, 03:58 PM
The key is to have a few sets of blades so that way you always have a sharp set ready to go. and if you get a rain day you have something else to to do...Sharpen blades...Or like LCME said...spend a couple minutes here and there to sharpen them up....

Get a 12v inverter so you can run a die grinder off your cars Cig lighter and while you are stopped in traffic you can sharpen your blades.......Ive seen just about everything else done in cars while driving....Just kidding...

05-16-2005, 05:46 PM
Taking your deck off?!! NO NO NO! this is the surest way to getting your deck out of alignment that I can think of! You definetely want to lift the deck and undo the blades for changeout and deck cleaning. Safety is number one, jackstands with a jack or this tool ( http://www.junglejimsap.com/jack.html ) for doing it by yourself, getting it in the proper position and holding it safely. Practice can make pretty much any grinding device work for you, just try and stay with the original bevel degree.

05-16-2005, 05:53 PM
oops..hit enter before done...BALANCING- this can be as high tech or low tech as you want to go. Many box stores or places like Harbor Freight have little plastic step cones on a pivot that you just place your blade on and see if it tips one direction or the other for ten bucks or less. On the other end of the spectrum, there are magnetic spinners that work in the same way a tire balancer works for a whole lot more dough. The important part is to keep them balanced to reduce vibration and wear on your spindles and get a more even cut. AS far as frequency goes, it depends on what you are cutting and for how long. With the mower off, reach under and feel the blades. If they are feeling rounded, they need to be sharpened, if there is and edge to them that feels like it could cut your finger if you press and drag it along the lenght, then you are good.

05-16-2005, 06:50 PM
Take the DECK OFF??????????????

LOL! That was as far as I read on that post! LOL!

05-16-2005, 06:50 PM
A single wheel grinder is about the best, the double wheels do get in the way. a while back Lesco Sold an inexpensive single wheel grinder I think it was in the 2-300 range.

Inexpensive = $2-$300??

Holy heck i paid $39 for mine at Home Depot... that cant be right

05-17-2005, 07:03 AM
I agree with the guys keeping extra blades. I use a homemade cantilever jack to hold up the front of the mower and an impact wrench to remove/replace the blades. Total time per mower, about 10 minutes. Save the dull blades for a rainy day.

05-17-2005, 07:24 AM
If you are too cheap to purchase a grinder then get a 10 or 12" MB file and a good file handle. When you hand file your blades they will always have the angle you want and you will never let them get very dull. Hand filing a really dull blade is quite a chore but I think it is an excellent learning experience. Drive a nail into the wall and you have a poor man's blade balancer. A lot of shops have used a nail in the wall balancer for years.

I can't understand why someone who is making their living with equipment won't spend the money for good tools. A vise and a 4" side grinder will cost less than $100.00 and when you forget to tighten a blade and it work tightens the side grinder will take the blade bolt head off in a couple of minutes.

We sell a lot of Jungle Jacks to LCOs but there are other similar deck lifts out there. Check out Ballard Equipment. They have a permanent mount jack for midsize mowers.

05-17-2005, 04:02 PM
go ahead laugh at me for taking the deck off, when I am by myself and I am not out mowing I still think this isnt that much harder than crawling underneath it to get the job done.

The nail in the wall trick doesn't seem to be too effective, you can easily screw that up, because there is no way to center the blade on the nail.. You can make it lean either way depending on how you position the blade on the nail, right?

As far as grinders go, will someone please point out to me somewhere on the net or home depot, lowes, menards, whatever where I can get a single wheel grinder? I have never really noticed that they sell these, I always see double wheels for sale though.....

Thanks for your input thus far!

05-17-2005, 05:31 PM
Take one wheel off!

05-17-2005, 05:55 PM
Before I bought blade grinder, I used a belt sander with 50 - 80 grit paper. Was quick, did an excellent job. Presently I prop up the front of the mower with a 2x12 "T" and use impact wrench to loosen and tighten.

05-17-2005, 07:20 PM
Take one wheel off!
You hit the nail on the head with that oldtimer:-)

05-17-2005, 08:20 PM
its not the wheel that gets in the way, it is the electric motor and the casing that surrounds it.

05-18-2005, 01:28 AM
Tie the handle bars to your gate and take the blades off. Take the deck off??? :eek:

05-18-2005, 07:24 AM

ther is no pic of it, but I used it adn It worked fine....not the cheapest, but it still works. be fore i baughtthe blade grinder I used a hand held Die grinder and a vice to hold the blade. but you could just as easly use a C clamp. Might set you back 50-60 bucks for a good die grinder.....but you'll wear the grinding disc out faster than the wheel on a good grinder....but at only 5-6 bucks a disc its still cheap enough...