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  #41  
Old 05-21-2013, 05:50 PM
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Florida Gardener Florida Gardener is online now
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Originally Posted by TCW View Post
We actually started in 2004 and our first large client was a gated community with 35 patio homes, all Tif419. We got the job because the HOA president had driven by my Dad's lawn a few blocks over and wanted to know how he got it looking so good. This was right when 419 was becoming more widely available, and our house was one of the few to use a reel mower. We moved away from that contract 2 years later when I went off to college, and focused on large commercial. We didnt use a reel mower on a client's lawn until 2011. Once I graduated and joined back up full time in 2010 we sat down and looked at where we could grow, and high end residential was at the top of the list.

I'll take reel mowing 35 lawns a day in 100 degree heat as opposed to mowing 2 WalMarts that don't have irrigation and are mostly weeds and dirt!
I totally agree. Id rather do a couple nice homes per day vs 30 mow and go lawns where nobody cares how their place looks...i don't knock the mow and go model, just not what i like doing.
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  #42  
Old 05-21-2013, 07:59 PM
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gulfjoe gulfjoe is offline
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Originally Posted by greendoctor View Post
That is how reel should be maintained. Cutting off all the relief angle via a spin grind only sharpening creates a maintenance problem. When dealing with lawn height grass rather than green height grass you need relief in the reel blades beyond the concaving created by a round grind stone traveling across the face of the reel. Do not buy what the super high tech automated spin grind machines want to sell. Even a less than perfect Tru Cut works well if relief ground and then the blades backlapped in. I know most mowers will not line up perfectly. The entire frame would have to be CNC machined out of one block of steel and and the mower would then cost over $100,000 instead of $1,000. Everyone I know that does a spin grind only at a mower shop has problems with cut quality.
Doc,

What do you recommend for me... I purchased a 20" McClane off craigs list. Its in good running shape but it cut the grass uneven (left side higher than right). I was going to take it the only mower shop in town that sharpens reels and let them get it tip top shape and sharpen the reel. I am very mechanically inclined but I have zero experience in back lapping or adjusting reels. I have attempted adjusting the reel height on this mower and now it will not spin the reel when it is in grass, It actually starts smoking the belt. I have attempted to tighten the tension on the belt and raise the reel all the way up, but then it cuts so high it almost defeats the purpose of the reel. I am hoping to level my lawn in the next 3-4 weeks if I can get my funds up and a little help from friends.
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  #43  
Old 05-21-2013, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by macgyver_GA View Post
Right now I'm at about 1/2" (2nd notch from the bottom on my tru-cut) mowing twice a week. This is my first year reeling it. In early April, I took it down as low as my 21" Snapper rotary would go and bagged it. Then Reeled it as low as the tru-cut would go. Then raked it with a leaf rake to lift up the stems (due to higher cutting heights last year) then mowed again with the rotary to bag the remaining stems. My lawn is still kinda bumpy, I plan on top dressing with river sand in a few weeks. I've slowly top dressed low spots over the years since I've been here (since '07) but it needs a total top dress to really get it "pool table flat".

On my personal lawn I'm experimenting with doing N apps every 30 days as opposed to the every 6 week apps I do on customer lawns to see how it does. We're still kinda cool here and haven't broken into the 80's much other than a few days and night time temps still aren't ideal yet for the Bermuda to do its best. We're suppose to see night time temps in the upper 60's early next week so that'll help. Tonight was kinda warm and I could feel more humidity in the air.

I agree on the appearance piece, I love the look so far and we're not even near peak growing season yet. I've already gotten a few "wow it looks like a golf course fairway" from neighbors.



Do you provide any written brochures/pamphlets for your customers that don't have you mow? I put together a "Bermuda fact sheet" for my customers that covers the basics of mowing, irrigation, Bermuda facts, and links to web resources (uga's site and Walter reeves' site). Whether or not they actually read it, lol who knows but at least they have something in writing.

I also do the mowing on 90% of my customers so I can keep that piece done properly. I won't accept a customer who wants bi-weekly mowing.

What is everyone's opinion on the 30 day apps? I am thinking of going to every 30days also.
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  #44  
Old 05-21-2013, 09:36 PM
macgyver_GA macgyver_GA is offline
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Originally Posted by Florida Gardener View Post
I totally agree. Id rather do a couple nice homes per day vs 30 mow and go lawns where nobody cares how their place looks...i don't knock the mow and go model, just not what i like doing.
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Agreed. That's the direction I'd like to take my business. Obviously you'll get some more high maintenance customers.
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  #45  
Old 05-21-2013, 09:40 PM
macgyver_GA macgyver_GA is offline
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Originally Posted by gulfjoe View Post
Doc,

What do you recommend for me... I purchased a 20" McClane off craigs list. Its in good running shape but it cut the grass uneven (left side higher than right). I was going to take it the only mower shop in town that sharpens reels and let them get it tip top shape and sharpen the reel. I am very mechanically inclined but I have zero experience in back lapping or adjusting reels. I have attempted adjusting the reel height on this mower and now it will not spin the reel when it is in grass, It actually starts smoking the belt. I have attempted to tighten the tension on the belt and raise the reel all the way up, but then it cuts so high it almost defeats the purpose of the reel. I am hoping to level my lawn in the next 3-4 weeks if I can get my funds up and a little help from friends.
Does the reel spin when it's not under load (grass)?
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  #46  
Old 05-21-2013, 09:43 PM
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gulfjoe gulfjoe is offline
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Yes
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  #47  
Old 05-21-2013, 10:02 PM
TCW TCW is offline
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When you adjusted the height...did you use the quick adjust hook/pin on the right side of the mower? It almost sounds like the reel is too tight against the bedknife. However, if it spins freely when not cutting, that probably isn't the case. How high are you cutting the grass, and how much are you taking off? Too much cut at once will clog the reel quickly.

Something is holding the reel in place when under a load, if I understand correctly that the belt smoking is from the engine pulley spinning in place.
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  #48  
Old 05-22-2013, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by macgyver_GA View Post
Agreed. That's the direction I'd like to take my business. Obviously you'll get some more high maintenance customers.
The companies here that are doing millions are doing high end homes. That means reel mowers, annuals all year, new installs and renovations. Sure, you get some picky people, but when your spending that much, they have a right to be
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  #49  
Old 05-22-2013, 03:02 AM
greendoctor greendoctor is online now
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Originally Posted by TCW View Post
When you adjusted the height...did you use the quick adjust hook/pin on the right side of the mower? It almost sounds like the reel is too tight against the bedknife. However, if it spins freely when not cutting, that probably isn't the case. How high are you cutting the grass, and how much are you taking off? Too much cut at once will clog the reel quickly.

Something is holding the reel in place when under a load, if I understand correctly that the belt smoking is from the engine pulley spinning in place.
He probably needs to run a rotary mower over the lawn set as low as it will go. Then start mowing with the McLane set to cut at 13/16". That is done by putting the axles bearing the two rubber casters in the middle position on the front frame, then using the single fine adjustment positioned so the casters are pivoted down, raising the mower to the 13/16" position. The manual detailing the set up and adjustments are available here. http://www.mclanemower.com/owners_manuals.htm If the reel blades turn freely and are ground square rather than with a significant relief, that is a problem that a knowledgeable shop needs to fix. An ignorant shop will simply spin grind it and give it back to him. I repeat, the zero relief, no contact setting only works on bent grass greens cut daily and with a shop available to spin grind as soon as the reel is dull. Reels with no relief will jam and smoke the belt when asked to mow grass at lawn heights.
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  #50  
Old 05-22-2013, 03:24 AM
greendoctor greendoctor is online now
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Originally Posted by gulfjoe View Post
Doc,

What do you recommend for me... I purchased a 20" McClane off craigs list. Its in good running shape but it cut the grass uneven (left side higher than right). I was going to take it the only mower shop in town that sharpens reels and let them get it tip top shape and sharpen the reel. I am very mechanically inclined but I have zero experience in back lapping or adjusting reels. I have attempted adjusting the reel height on this mower and now it will not spin the reel when it is in grass, It actually starts smoking the belt. I have attempted to tighten the tension on the belt and raise the reel all the way up, but then it cuts so high it almost defeats the purpose of the reel. I am hoping to level my lawn in the next 3-4 weeks if I can get my funds up and a little help from friends.
Give the shop a chance to do the adjustment/sharpening, but ask if they relief grind and backlap. Grinding a McLane reel down to nothing by spin grinding is a very expensive f up. I am talking as in $300 in parts, not including the labor to fit the new reel and bed knife back in. I hope that reel is a 7 blade reel. 7 blade reels work better on bermuda kept at home lawn heights. 10 blade reels are only if you are keeping the grass at 1/2" or less and mowing every day. A lawn is lucky if it is mowed every 7 days in Hawaii. The usual is more like every 14 days or twice in a month. A properly adjusted McLane 7 blade has no problems mowing a lawn under those conditions. Maybe some scalping if the lawn is fertilized a lot of slow release, but the mower is fine.
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