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speedy29
02-06-2008, 03:13 PM
I have 20 mowers running 4 days a week. We sharpen 60 blades daily to ensure the best cut possible. the question is What is the best equipment for sharpening that many blades and is easy to use? Icurrently use a sharpener from lesco and have seen many similar ones but I'm looking for a faster method thinking of a belt grinder

Happy Frog
02-06-2008, 06:09 PM
Here is what I use...
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=211530
or you can buy the Magna-Matic...

topsites
02-06-2008, 08:31 PM
In racing speed is essential, but folks misunderstand speed.
Folks believe racing is about speed, but speed is merely the end result.
It is the study of what leads up to this that can improve your own time.

Generally speaking it's consistency, and repetition, not to mention standards.

The best way to get a whole lot of work done is to do the same thing every single day, preferably with the same machine.
This builds practice, which in time results in consistency.

So if you have one guy doing it today and another guy does it tomorrow, forget it that is a waste of time.
They'll never get proficient at it because this lacks repetition and thus fails to be consistent, not to mention the standard is missing. You want one guy doing this one thing every day, the other does that other thing and that is all he does, yes, for months on end.

Hire yourself a full time mechanic who takes care of all of your machines, trucks, trailers, mowers, you name it, all of them. Blade sharpening is part of this, but I would make sure you have at least 9 blades per mower, and I have to assume all your mowers are identical or at least the blades are... So if all your blades are different it's not as fast as when everything is the same. That is, some type of standard is absolutely essential and if you're nowhere near close to universality then that would be my first step to avoid confusion.

ALL the same dang machines, that is a must, and 20 more as backup would not hurt so workers simply bring the worn ones in and grab a fresh one, blam! Then your mechanic works on the pile of worn machines to replenish the lot of fresh ones.
You know the drill: Gas, air filter pre-cleaner, grease gun, blades, check the oil and look it once over good, see ya later.

If a machine presents problems in the field have your operators point this out to the mechanic, that's it.

Breezmister
02-07-2008, 12:19 AM
I have 20 mowers running 4 days a week. We sharpen 60 blades daily to ensure the best cut possible. the question is What is the best equipment for sharpening that many blades and is easy to use? Icurrently use a sharpener from lesco and have seen many similar ones but I'm looking for a faster method thinking of a belt grinder

That would take me about 1 and a half to 2 hours to do with just a plain old bench grinder with an 8 inch wheel, more time if I had to balance all of them. Do a search for "blade grinders" and "sharping blades" you will get all the opinions you want on the best way to sharpen blades.

speedy29
02-07-2008, 10:31 AM
topsites ,
I've been sharpening blades for 20 years and yes we do all the things you mentioned. and if I can have my machanic save 1/2 hr a day that equals 55 hrs a year. I was just looking for some insite of possible better ways to sharpen blades and save some labor. I think I've setteled on a 2hp belt/disc grinder the belt is 9" wide so just one push towards to belt and its done. Also I disagree with your comment that it is a waste of time to have more than 1 guy do a job. What if hes on vacation, sick or dies, then no one can sharpen blades? The key is to have processes which make it easy for anyone to complete a job successfully. Look at mcdonalds they can take anyone and have them produce the same product at the same quality anywhere in the world.

speedy29
02-07-2008, 10:34 AM
top sites after looking at your bio I understand your view things change once youve got 40 employees and dont do it all yourself in your garage.

Ironic
02-07-2008, 11:47 AM
I happen to be the type of guy that Topsites says you need.
a mechanic that handles it all.
we've got so many mowers that I've almost lost count. at least 10 Jacobsen 5111s (7 blades a piece), 8 JD 1445s, and 2 JD 1145s (3 blades a piece), 1 JD 1600 (another 7 blades), 1 Hustler Hillsider (3 blades), and about a dozen 44" Exmark Z-turns. and a couple little 21" Toro walkbehinds.
starting again this spring, each and every one of those goes out and mows 5 days a week. for the most part, they get their blades changed once a week. sometimes more if they're doing "native grass" areas.
my point is, I do lots and lots of blades. we had a blade machine from the last mechanic (3/4 hp motor with a 6" grinding wheel) and I thought it was a cumbersome P.O.crap. so all I do is chuck the blade up in a vice (blade is beneath the jaws, and sits at an angle) and then sharpen it with a 7" Dewalt grinder. It does take some practice to get consistent angles (I have a knack for it, but I gave up trying to teach any of my guys to do it) but it's fast. especially if a blade is really battered, it's the only way to go. and then I balance 'em with a magna-matic.

Breezmister
02-07-2008, 06:27 PM
if I can have my machanic save 1/2 hr a day that equals 55 hrs a year. I was just looking for some insite of possible better ways to sharpen blades and save some labor..

I can understand that you would like to save a few bucks on labor. And I don't know what kind of guys you have or how they treat your equipment, but let me assume that they are good guys and take care of the equipment.
Now, in the shop I work in we have a sharping service, so I get to see alot of blades every day. I have one guy that comes in that changes his blades everyday, 8 walk behinds, 24 blades every day. He could very easily go two days with out sharping. So have you thought about rotating to a every other day sharping or doing half one day and the rest the next ?
honestly, do you think your customers would notice ?

topsites
02-07-2008, 07:39 PM
Yeah and we can argue about the knowledge aspect but then I have 30 blades and I sharpen them when I feel like it and almost never does the actual time factor bug me... The doing it, yes that gets tedious, but never the labor hours.

So 60 blades take you 1/2 an hour, if that bothers maybe your prices are too low.
There's no magical mystery machine dump your blades in and it is done...
Actually that's not true, there is, but I think it costs 40 thousand dollars.

Because job switchy-swatchy also develops Jacks of all Trades (Masters of none), which is why McDonald's is a minimum wage job, and so long you pay your folks 6.50 or less an hour you should be fine but if you pay them more then you don't do things the way a minimum wage employer handles his. Because I used to work on an assembly line, and the most machines always got produced when everyone stuck to what they did best, and that's how you do it with folks who get paid better.

As for the fastest, go twice over each blade on the front by going back-and-forth one time, then a quick zing over the back and it is done, takes about 15-20 seconds per blade and that is how each one gets sharpened end of story.

But you didn't want this, you want some kind of magic trick fixes this woe is me situation, and that's not happening.

smokediver
02-07-2008, 10:25 PM
Man, can you feel the love in this thread....?
I don't have nearly that many blades to sharpen, or near that often, but I would think 30 seconds per blade is great!! I personally use a 4" hand held grinder, lighter and faster, but it doesn't give the fine cutting edge a belt sander type sharpener would.

Happy Frog
02-07-2008, 10:44 PM
15-20 seconds per blade :confused:
How sharp are your blades after that?
It takes me much longer to get my Fusion blades the way I want :rolleyes:

speedy29
02-08-2008, 09:15 AM
no way you can sharpen 60 blades razor sharp in 1/2 hour. and yes I can tell the speed and quality of cut in the first 4 hrs of use with razor sharp blades. My prices are not to low, this is just one more aspect of my business that I am going to be the most efficient at. every minute of labor I save is money in my pocket. I have no woe is me attitude. I am successful because I look for the best systems and equipment to complete a task. I also take into account employee moral and sharpening blades for 2 hrs a day sucks. My employees respect that I give them the most efficient tools available and that creates loyalty which increases productivity. lastly there are magic fixes to every problem, that's called innovation and is the reason America is the most prosperous nation in the world. If it wasn't't for innovation we would still be using sheep to groom our lawns. I quess ther is no need in asking you guys to come up with any new ideas, All I asked was if anyone knew a better way and what i got was there is no need for a better way.

Ironic
02-08-2008, 09:37 AM
no way you can sharpen 60 blades razor sharp in 1/2 hour. and yes I can tell the speed and quality of cut in the first 4 hrs of use with razor sharp blades. My prices are not to low, this is just one more aspect of my business that I am going to be the most efficient at. every minute of labor I save is money in my pocket. I have no woe is me attitude. I am successful because I look for the best systems and equipment to complete a task. I also take into account employee moral and sharpening blades for 2 hrs a day sucks. My employees respect that I give them the most efficient tools available and that creates loyalty which increases productivity. lastly there are magic fixes to every problem, that's called innovation and is the reason America is the most prosperous nation in the world. If it wasn't't for innovation we would still be using sheep to groom our lawns. I quess ther is no need in asking you guys to come up with any new ideas, All I asked was if anyone knew a better way and what i got was there is no need for a better way.

If the blades aren't real bad, and just need to be touched up, I could do 60 blades in a 1/2 hour. and sharp enough to send guys to the doc for stitches if they aren't careful. but lucky for me, my guys beat them up pretty bad, so I get to spend longer doin it. :rolleyes:

but just so ya know...my way IS the better way. :laugh:

smokediver
02-08-2008, 11:17 AM
I can see where 30 sec per blade would be sufficient if the blades are sharpened everyday. They probably aren't that bad out of shape, just need the fine edge restored.
Speedy, you might as someone suggested, sharpen half each day if the're not too bad off. But I understand that means you cut the second day with a less than perfect cut...
But I'd still say you're doing pretty well at the job now. I mean, I couldn't clamp one in the vise, run up and down one side, turn it around and do the other end, and clamp up another one in 30 seconds...

Two Seasons
02-08-2008, 11:36 AM
We've been in business for 1.5 years. Efficientcy, especially with a limited staff, is important to me.

I don't want to take more time than nessessary to maintain blades. Time away from the field, whether cutting or marketing, is costing us money.

After just 1.5 years in business, we will be buying the Magna-Matic setup---8000, balancer, and the stand. After much research, this setup appears to be the best and will save us over an hour per week. Ammortize that over 10 years and it's a no brainer.

Years ago, I used to watch my dad cheap out and spend enough to get the job done. Then, a couple of years later, he'd be buying another to replace the existing tool. I'd rather spend the money once and have the convenience over the life of the tool.

PowerEquipmentWarehouse
02-08-2008, 01:08 PM
Dear Two Seasons, We sell RBG grinders, and have had a lot of luck with them. We use the RBG1012-C in our shops too. You can see them on our web site at www.power41.com, or click our link above. They do make larger units if you're interested. Give us a call if you want more information
800-769-3741. Hope we can help you out...Lisa

Stillwater
02-08-2008, 01:12 PM
no way you can sharpen 60 blades razor sharp in 1/2 hour. and yes I can tell the speed and quality of cut in the first 4 hrs of use with razor sharp blades. My prices are not to low, this is just one more aspect of my business that I am going to be the most efficient at. every minute of labor I save is money in my pocket. I have no woe is me attitude. I am successful because I look for the best systems and equipment to complete a task. I also take into account employee moral and sharpening blades for 2 hrs a day sucks. My employees respect that I give them the most efficient tools available and that creates loyalty which increases productivity. lastly there are magic fixes to every problem, that's called innovation and is the reason America is the most prosperous nation in the world. If it wasn't't for innovation we would still be using sheep to groom our lawns. I quess ther is no need in asking you guys to come up with any new ideas, All I asked was if anyone knew a better way and what i got was there is no need for a better way.

razor sharp? do you know how to sharpen blades?

heritage
02-08-2008, 10:15 PM
In racing speed is essential, but folks misunderstand speed.
Folks believe racing is about speed, but speed is merely the end result.
It is the study of what leads up to this that can improve your own time.

Generally speaking it's consistency, and repetition, not to mention standards.

The best way to get a whole lot of work done is to do the same thing every single day, preferably with the same machine.
This builds practice, which in time results in consistency.

So if you have one guy doing it today and another guy does it tomorrow, forget it that is a waste of time.
They'll never get proficient at it because this lacks repetition and thus fails to be consistent, not to mention the standard is missing. You want one guy doing this one thing every day, the other does that other thing and that is all he does, yes, for months on end.

Hire yourself a full time mechanic who takes care of all of your machines, trucks, trailers, mowers, you name it, all of them. Blade sharpening is part of this, but I would make sure you have at least 9 blades per mower, and I have to assume all your mowers are identical or at least the blades are... So if all your blades are different it's not as fast as when everything is the same. That is, some type of standard is absolutely essential and if you're nowhere near close to universality then that would be my first step to avoid confusion.

ALL the same dang machines, that is a must, and 20 more as backup would not hurt so workers simply bring the worn ones in and grab a fresh one, blam! Then your mechanic works on the pile of worn machines to replenish the lot of fresh ones.
You know the drill: Gas, air filter pre-cleaner, grease gun, blades, check the oil and look it once over good, see ya later.

If a machine presents problems in the field have your operators point this out to the mechanic, that's it.

Very well said sir.

It's all about good systems in place. This make for a smoother running company, that can grow large and still have quality and happy employees and clients.

More should think like you.

Pete D.

topsites
02-09-2008, 06:10 PM
I did want to apologize, it looks like I was having a bad day earlier and I'm sorry.

But I did accidentally assume you had an RBG, why I was like what...?
Anyhow...

After just 1.5 years in business, we will be buying the Magna-Matic setup---8000, balancer, and the stand. After much research, this setup appears to be the best and will save us over an hour per week. Ammortize that over 10 years and it's a no brainer.

I think this is a wise choice, some tips I can give you:
- Get the BIGGEST wheel one, I think 12"
> They all cost ridiculous, but the larger the wheel the longer it can go, and it works in your favor, bigger really IS better.
- It does take some practice, you will likely run the wheel out of round the first time or two (not once or twice sharpening, but once or twice total).
> Get a grinding wheel truing tool, Harbor Freight sells them like 1-2 bucks or so.

What does it is the sharpening method, something about the amount of pressure the blade exerts on the wheel, best I can say is easy does it best... Seems the more I PUSH that thing the harder and faster it puts that wheel out of round, very annoying the whole thing starts to vibrating badly, is how you know.

Practice helps, once a wheel runs out of round once or twice the person doing it should have it down, that was my experience.

As was said, spend like 20 seconds a blade, like so:
Start at one end and push it through at a steady kinda slow pace take about 10-15 seconds to run the length, then once you reach the very end bring her on back but go a little faster this time, say 6-8 seconds to come on back out. Then, flip it and just one zing over the back, BLAM!

As for nicks and gouges, just sharpen them the same way as always and let those work themselves out over time, it ain't worth shaving off that much steel and wearing the wheel out over it.

Frequent adjustment of the wheel is unfortunately required but it doesn't take long and few tools are needed. I keep the tools handy, I think every 30-60 blades the wheel has to come down a bit to keep the verticalness of the edge... Letting this go too far results in too horizontal an edge, you'll see just know it requires adjustment.

I did it, too, used a handheld...

My RBG saves me 1/2 to 1 hour a week solo, I'd say your investment pays off in 3-4 maybe 5 years, hope I'm right.
btw a new wheel COSTS!!!
If you ever find some as good cheaper I'm all ears but you can wear the 12" down to 8" or more, not sure but this is one reason I said bigger is better.

Stillwater
02-10-2008, 02:16 AM
the 8000 is nice, but the balancer is kick azz, even if your blades are spanking new and never installed run them through the balancer you will find even factory blades are not right on or way off.

In my opinion because I have a extreme shop and work area the stand is a total waist of cash, but if you have crap for a work area and or a shoe box for a shop then you might want to dump the laughable 4 hundred they want for it. Even if you need the stand the price they want for it cannot be taken seriously becouse of the many alternatives to it.

topsites
02-10-2008, 10:52 PM
Not to rant but I did want to expand...

Very well said sir.

It's all about good systems in place. This make for a smoother running company, that can grow large and still have quality and happy employees and clients.

More should think like you.

Pete D.

Thank you, you see what I am talking about is the system, that's what that was all about. I didn't mention hiring a mechanic because that is what you need to do, I mentioned it because that is what I would do, but ultimately it boils down to this having a system.

A system is what ultimately results in speed, that's what I have and it's what makes these newer Lco's just stare in disbelief...
HOW did this solo guy just come in after us and finish his lawn before my two helpers and I got out of here, how does he do it?

I tell you how I do it, when I go cut grass that is ALL I do the entire day!
It makes sense because I get a lot of practice that way, and it is consistent, one lawn, two lawn, three lawn ladeeda.

I don't play that one grass cut and now a hedge trim and switch up to mulch in one day, it's too much to deal with, too many things get in the way of themselves heck I can't hardly get anything done between running around like a chicken...

So, all same same same, then another day I might do all mulch, yes, all day long.

Even with my blades, I have 30-odd of them three fresh ones on and see you later!
Once I get a PILE of worn ones going then I will sit down in front of the grinder and knock them out, but forget this crap of sharpening 3 lousy blades every single day. Now if you're new you do what you have to, but around your 2nd year I think a few upgrades would help.

Here's what kills it: I have to sit down, start the grinder, turn on the light, put ear plugs in, get goggles on: NOW I'm finally ready to start sharpening, heck 3 blades takes 2 minutes why bother now I gotta go through that whole rigmarole of turn off / get up / etc again for what 3 blades?

No sir, when I sit down in front of the machine I got a PILE of those things.
And again it's not the blades, it's the fact I got this down to a system.

But it does take time, I bought the blades a few here and there, I think I bought about 9-12 a year every year for 3-4 years or so.
On that note it's not like most newer guys can jump from 3 blades to 30 overnight, don't do it.
Buy a few here and there, add some but start thinking about this system approach, and let it take time or you'll burn yourself.

...................................
Other notes: I would be willing to BET Nascar stock car racers win races because they have a system!

EVM
04-04-2008, 12:54 PM
LOL, I guess I am dumb or something. I change blades once a week, cuts look fine all week long. If you needed to double pass something chances are its not because your blades are dull. Either grass was too high, mowing speed too fast, bad spindles, pulleys, & belts. Oh yeah, and my guys are real good when it comes to not running over wood piles, branches, tree limbs, ect.

peak2p2000
04-25-2008, 04:58 AM
i took and drilled a hole through one of my work benches and ran a long bolt up through it and locked it down,then i place 2 or 4 blade at a time on the bolt and snug a nut down on them,after i stagger the blades.this lets me have up to 8 blade edges i can sharpen with my regular hand grinder.if you just snug the top nut this allows you to rotatethe stach easilly by hand.we have 12 toro 72 inch zmasters and21 52inch prolines and4 62 inch zmasters so we use lots of blades.we mow 6 days a week andwith this system i can sharpen a set of blades or all ourmowers in less than 2 hours,and i can better controll how much material i remove when sharpeningso the blades last longer.another tip is to take your new blades and run several passes of 308 stainless rod along each cutting edge and then resharpen the blade as the 308 rod is more wear resistant than the blade material.blades stay shape longer and last longer.

Breezmister
04-25-2008, 07:40 PM
another tip is to take your new blades and run several passes of 308 stainless rod along each cutting edge and then resharpen the blade as the 308 rod is more wear resistant than the blade material.blades stay shape longer and last longer.

hey Peak, welcome to lawnsite :) Just so I understand you about this, could you go into alittle more detail. A pic would be a great too :drinkup:

EVM
04-25-2008, 07:58 PM
I just recieved my RBG 3410C, I sharpend my first blade in about 30 seconds with a perfect bevel, great machine. My local shop was charging $5.50 to sharpen a blade, so purchasing the sharpener just made sense. I have over 100 blades so the machine almost paid for itself.

GravelyNut
04-25-2008, 10:52 PM
hey Peak, welcome to lawnsite :) Just so I understand you about this, could you go into alittle more detail. A pic would be a great too :drinkup:
Sounds like what I've done. Grind the cutting edge flat to about 1/8" thick. Weld that edge with 304L Stainless. Grind to a sharp edge. Ends up being like a carbide insert.

Breezmister
04-25-2008, 11:42 PM
Sounds like what I've done. Grind the cutting edge flat to about 1/8" thick. Weld that edge with 304L Stainless. Grind to a sharp edge. Ends up being like a carbide insert.

Interesting..I didn't think that you could do that, mix stainless with regular steel. Any way, the stainless would be harder then the original blade. But could you just temper ( heat treat ) the edge of the blade ?

peak2p2000
04-26-2008, 01:11 AM
yes i guess you could temper the edge of the blade ,but being a welder and i do love to stick weld it is just easier for me to take a new blade and run my first stringer bead along the edge of the blade ,and then tie into that bead with the next one and so ontill ive got stringers about an inch wide across the cutting edge.and i have had no problem using the 308 stainless on blade material.we just got in some new blades for our 72 inch zmaster so i will be welding some up first of the week and will post a picture for you.

peak2p2000
04-26-2008, 01:13 AM
also being in north florida we have lots of sand to deal with and it eats regular blade material up fast.

Happy Frog
04-26-2008, 01:47 AM
You should see my blades after just two hours of mowing :cry:
There is so much sand where I have to mow that a new set of blades needs sharpening big time after just two hours and are good for the recycling bin after twelve.
I think I will have to charge $20.00 extra per cut just to cover the cost of the blades.
Stainless steel is usualy much softer than high carbon hardened steel so I am surprised your edge last longer after welding stainless on them... :confused:

peak2p2000
04-26-2008, 02:31 AM
try cutting a piece of 308 stainless as thick as a mower blade not easy without adjusting the oxygen and gas regulator to more pressure.but i can cut through a blade with lower settings.harder doesnt mean tougher.

Two Seasons
04-26-2008, 07:06 AM
I'm a stick welder too. It would seem to me that the heat required to weld 308 SS to a high carbon blade would distort the blade and you'd end up with a blade that isn't flat anymore.

For us, we have a Magna-Matic setup that makes this chore pleasureable!

Happy Frog
04-26-2008, 01:22 PM
try cutting a piece of 308 stainless as thick as a mower blade not easy without adjusting the oxygen and gas regulator to more pressure.but i can cut through a blade with lower settings.harder doesnt mean tougher.

Not sure I follow you here.
For a blade, what makes an edge last longer is its capacity to resist to abrasion and deformation.
This is why Fusion blades have particles of carbide "fused" in hardened steel.
Not trying to be hard on you. I just don't understand how stainless steel can last longer for this use.