high lift-gator-mulch-double-sharpening

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by dockelly, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. dockelly

    dockelly LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    I have seen several tips regarding keeping blades sharp and quality results, but as a newbie I am interested in hearing more on blade philosophy. Ie: high lift vs gators, blade thickness and ease of sharpening, modified sharpening, double blade configuation etc. Eric ELM has some great pics of these blades on his site but no real pro's and con's, do's and don'ts on the various set ups. I think it would play a big roll in acheving quality result and the effect it may have on the mower (wear, safty etc.). Any thoughts?
     
  2. Captains Landscape

    Captains Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 333

    1. Gator blades are great if you mulch the clippings. They will help make a mower a more dedicated mulcher.
    2. Hi-lift blades are strictly for bagging. The design is to keep the clippings flowing faster through the deck and deposit into the bag. For example if you look at some gator blade configurations you will notice a smaller blade on the spindle. These do the opposite of Hi-lift. They keep the clippings in the deck longer in order to chop them up finer, the smaller blade will actually send the clippings back out to the larger blades again for a second reduction.
    3. TIP: If you use a Toro push mower for bagging only, you can remove three black baffles under the deck, and it will bag better. These baffles are only there to improve mulching.
    4. Wait until your blades really need to be sharpened to do so. Despite what you think a more balanced blade will cut better than a razor sharp blade. When you buy you blades new they don’t have a razor edge on them. The more balanced, the faster and more proficient of a cut.
     
  3. kalyeah

    kalyeah LawnSite Member
    Posts: 146

    When you buy you blades new they're not usually balanced either.
     
  4. dockelly

    dockelly LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    I purchased a Bobcat Ramson Hydro second hand in real nice shape to mow a 2 acer property I purchased. I have decided to enter the business part time this year then full time next year. I will upgrade my mower as soon as possible, but in the mean time I would like to have my lawns look as nice as I can with the mower I now have. It came from the previous owner w/ high-lift blades and was set up to side discharge. It seemed to give a nice cut, and dispersed the clipping pretty well, but then again I'm sure I can do better. I feel like I have a good dealer to work with, but he dosen't seem to be into the nity grity stuff like the guys on this forum. Any suggestion please feel free.

    P.S. This site has given me a great confidence and saved me a great deal of time and no doubt money. Keep up the good work. Thanks
     
  5. Captains Landscape

    Captains Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 333

    Don't by them at Walmart
     
  6. dockelly

    dockelly LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    If anybody has tips on sharpening and balancing for a new guy, I would greatly appreciate it.
     
  7. mosmgras

    mosmgras LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Posts: 270

    I use a dedicated blade sharpener and an ultra hi-tech blade balancer (nail in the wall). Just remember to take off as little material as possible and keep the heat down by taking material off slowly.
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    The economical way is to get a handheld Chicago Electric 4.5" angle grinder at Harbor Freight for like $10, and a blade balancer at Lowe's / Home Depot for around $5, then just sharpen them by holding the blade in one hand and the grinder in the other and wear goggles and earplugs and watch your fingers and the heat. Takes anywhere from 20-30 seconds but up to a minute or two per blade, it varies depending on a lot of things, used to take me about 20 minutes to do a full 3-blade set swap w/ sharpening.

    To make it more effective, and when you get tired of sharpening, buy more blades in sets of 3. Then you build a pile of dull vs. a pile of sharp and when the dull pile get too big you sit down and sharpen 10 or 20 of them at a time and that gets a lot more done then you just swap dull for sharp each day on the mower.

    After 5 years of doing it like that, I finally bought a RBG 1.5hp 12" wheel grinder, it really is a lot nicer because everything is all pre-set and all I do is slide the blade in by hand and pull it back out kinda slow, but if it takes 15-20 seconds per blade and I'm done and the angle is correct and perfectly even every time, really nice but still gotta wear lenses and ears and watch fingers and heat lol.
    $300 for the one I found used, closer to $700 for a new Oregon one...

    So, you decide but the hand held version works real good for a looong time, I tell you.
    btw, I sharpen blades daily, or after every 4 yards, whichever comes last.
    An impact wrench is of great assistance, but I took off blades for about a year by hand also, it's not so bad so long you got a equalizer or persuader extension bar for the wrench.

    What did help is a jackstand, to set the front deck of the WB up on, I still use that method, lift the deck with both hands and slide the stand up under, voila, a big nasty cement brick works too. For the Z I use a hydraulic floorjack, definitely recommended, works great for working on truck and cars also.
     
  9. dockelly

    dockelly LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Thanks guys. That has been very helpful. I like efficiency, as well as frugality. There is a fine line in doing it the cheep was and doing it the wrong was. Thanks for the thoughts.
     

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