Aftermarket Blades? Worth A Shizit?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by KUL FIR CHICK N, Sep 17, 2005.

  1. KUL FIR CHICK N

    KUL FIR CHICK N LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    I bought a couple of sets of aftermarket blades for my new Ferris ztr on Ebay to try out and last night I bent one and laid a nice stripe all around my lawn. Luckily I wasn't at a customer's place. I am in the Texas hill country and it is common to hit rocks and sometimes large sticks from the oak trees hidden in tall grass. The blades I used looked exactly identical to the original Ferris blades but I have a feeling they're not heat treated as well. I didn't have enough experience with the Ferris blades to know how durable they were, but the factory blades on my Deere rider are indestructable. I got a limb lodged between the blade and the deck which bent it down a good inch. Once I got the limb free, the blade sprung right back into place.

    Are all aftermarket blades junk, or should I just keep trying different sources? I am also going to try some snapper "ninja" blades. They are thin, but my experience on my 21" is they are tough, and mulch like no other.
     
  2. TURFLORD

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 834

    Yes all aftermarket blades are cr@p. They look the same, but use cheaper steel and don't temper it as much.
     
  3. Elite Lawn Care

    Elite Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 110

    I wouldn't say all are junk, I have tried a few and some are junk. I am now using Gator Blades and they work very well. I have not bent any, even hitting a piece of re-bar sticking up with one mower and nailing a rock garden at full go with three inch rocks with another, it only knocked a chip off the blade with the re-bar and stalled the mower with the rocks on the WB (it dulled the edges on all three blades nothing serious). I sharpen and balance once a week always and as long as it is not sandy they hold an edge very well and they mulch really good. I use them on my 48 inch Encore WB and 22 inch toro. the Toro is used for those scary places and eats much trash, rocks and wood and I have not bent a blade yet.
     
  4. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    I bought (generic) gator type blades from J-Thomas and when the paint wore thru it had Oregon stamped on the blade. So they were true gators sold under a generic name. I have found no differece between the hardness and temper that J-Thomas blades have compared to the company brand. I could be wrong but if there is any difference it was small. Same good luck with the high lifts. But on small orders you are better off going to you local dealer because the shipping will make the generics more expensive.
     
  5. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,458

    There are just a few blade manufacturers and none of the mower manufacturers make their own blades. Each mower manufacturer designs their blades to work with each of their decks and the same factory that stamps the OEM blades could also be stamping an after market blade for the same deck. The after market blades cannot be the same as the OEM therefore they probably won't cut the same.

    I sell several thousand blades annually and each year a higher percentage of the blades are OEM. The quantity pricing is just about the same for OEM as after market and the quality of cut is definitely more consistent.

    Gator blades are a personal preference for a lot of LCOs but they work best when cutting no more than 1.5" of grass.

    Most mower blades are heat treated to a Rockwell C-scale hardness of 40 to 45. A blade must be able to bend beyond a usable shape without breaking.

    Oldtimer
     
  6. burns60

    burns60 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 291

    I have noticed some notches in some of the after market blades. These have come from very light use where I was mowing good grass only yards. They sharpen out ok so I don't think too much about it. After the initial "chip" out of it they seem to be ok. I guess it chips on the fresh edge, but does not after the next sharpening. Low quality heat treating most likely. However, the very best blade I have found is for a Husqvarna 48 inch. This blade fits an Exmark Lazer 48. Same 16 1/4 inch length and 5/8 hole. This blade is .240 in thicknesss and is well worth the $45. Would like to try the Gator blades, but have not seen them anywhere around here. Are they "catalog" only?
     
  7. robby

    robby LawnSite Member
    Posts: 89

    When you say they cost $45, i'm hoping thats for a set of 3, and not for each blade? I've seen the site mower-parts.net mentioned here and wondered if anyone buys blades there and is it worth it after paying the shipping and handling? I'm new to buying Exmark blades and not sure how cheap/expensive that they run in price.
     
  8. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 997

    If you guys are buying factory blades from your dealers, they have to be in love with you.

    I have never ever bought a factory blade for my Dixies or Wrights. I buy all my blades from Russo and have been very satisfied not only with their low, low prices, but also with the quality. I receive mainly Stens or Rotary brands, along with Oregon's Gator blades from Russo. You just can't beat their prices. I buy them in boxes of 10.

    This year I bought mainly 3" blades and have decided to switch back to the 2.5" blades from now on.

    And if you think the after-market blades are not hardened steel, just take a drill and see if you can punch a hole in one of them.
     
  9. KUL FIR CHICK N

    KUL FIR CHICK N LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    The blade I bent was a Stens. The factory Ferris blades are made by Fisher-Barton, and I believe they are the "marbain" alloy. I shred a lot of rocks around here, and both blades chipped up quite a bit on the edge, but the Stens blade was bent right at the spindle. I wonder if they are only hardened at the tips.
     
  10. burns60

    burns60 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 291


    Yes, I should have made it clear that $45 was for three blades.

    Some after market prices are from $7.50 to $9 per blade. I guess depending of thickness, width, and low or high lift. The dealer prices range from $11 to $15 per blade. The only time I buy dealer blades is in an emergency.

    The next blade I plan to try is a blade made for Ferris mowers which we know nothing about around here, but the blade is .240 thickness and has the same measurements as the Lazer 48. Listed in the Mow-More after market catalog for around $8.50 if I remember correctly. I hope that will be nearly the same blade as the 48 Husqvarna I had mentioned in the original post. If it doesn't "chip" I think I will have found my blade for the future.
     

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