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Mulching blade users please respond!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by KB, Feb 18, 2002.

  1. KB

    KB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 60

    I run a Exmark Lazer Z HP 52"/23 kaw and have to mulch due to the fact that I cut all residentials and discharging around beds is unacceptable to my clients. I have a hard time sharpening blades and am looking into a dedicated blade sharpener to replace my angle grinder. My current blades are the Exmark mulching blades and they are difficult to sharpen due to their "curved" blade. Do you think that it is worth changing to gator blades for the sake of the easier to sharpen flat blade? What do you use? I have heard people say that the gators do not cut as well as the Exmark blades but is their enough difference to offset the fact that they are easier to maintain? I know about the Magna Matic 8000 but I am not paying a rediculous $950. Let me know what you think!
  2. Administrator

    Administrator Administrator
    Posts: 865

  3. stslawncare

    stslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    from DE
    Posts: 1,484

    ditto what chuck said
  4. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 773


    I use the gators for mulching with my 36" Exmark and one of the reasons I use my 21" more is the gator mulchers just don't do as good a job cutting it up. The wavy blades did a much better job (nearly as good as the Toro 21" mulchers!) but simply proved too difficult to keep sharpened.

    I have an RBG with a 'mulch plate' to make sharpening of mulch blades easier, but it never did.

    Obviously, if you're running a 52" Exmark then a 21" is out of the question so my reply would be to go with the gators and an RBG. You'll get more of a mess than you did with your wavy blades, but sharpening the gators will take you less than a minute per blade in most instances, and that should help offset the annoyance.

    If anyone knows of a great way to sharpen the wavy blades, I'm all ears!

    After posting I went to check out the Magna-matic link and see that they have a mower blade sharpener for around $1000 that claims to sharpen virtually any blade made (including mention of the curved blades by name). I'm not in the market for another blade sharpener for at least another year, so I'll stick to 21s and gators when I have to use my 36. ;)
  5. Magna-Matic

    Magna-Matic Sponsor
    Posts: 827

    Hello All,

    I would just like to add that if you are looking at only doing the straight (flat) edge blades instead of the curved mulching blades, to take a peek at our MAG-9000


    The MAG-9000 is much less expensive than the MAG-8000, and is also a very high-performance machine. It is also able to sharpen a blade in 60 seconds, but only flat edged blades.

    OR, another thing we suggest if the MAG-8000 is not within your budget is to use a MAG-9000 and sharpen the first few inches of the blade that are flat (of the curved blade). This first few inches and the tip are the most critical in getting a good cut. Then take a hand-held die grinder and clean up the curved parts of the blade.

    Also please remember that Magna-Matic is the only blade sharpener manufacturer that will refund the price of the product if you do not like it in 30 days. That goes for any of our products.

    I hope i could be of some help,
  6. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 773

    This is excellent advice, my man. It's a question I'd been meaning to ask, but hadn't gotten around to it yet (since I haven't put my larger machine back into use this year yet).

    I've often looked at those wavy blades and thought that if I only sharpened the very tip with my blade grinder...

    At any rate, you've answered that question now. I can 'clean up' the curved parts of the blade easily enough, though they won't be as perfect as the tip.

  7. Magna-Matic

    Magna-Matic Sponsor
    Posts: 827

    Yup, you are correct. A mower blade cuts by "free-cutting" much like a lathe. Free-Cutting refers that there is nothing that the blade is cutting against. For example a scissors is not "free-cutting" becuase it shears against another blade. Where a mower blade just spins and hits the grass at a high speed.

    Now, just like the lathe the TIP of them mower blade does the majority of the work and is the most important to maintain.

    Please remember, sharpening of the curved edges is very preference based. I have met many people that would not give you 5 cents for a curved blade, but i have also met people that swear by it, and i have met some people that claim that the proper curved blade on the right mower cannot be beat.

    This is one of the many reasons we created the MAG-8000 Universal Sharpener, many people want the curved blade sharpened back to a PERFECT edge with the same angle along the whole edge. There are also many customers of sharpeners that demand this.

    BUT, there are also the lawn care pros who care more about "function" than how pretty the blade looks, the way the grass looks when you get done with it is PARAMOUT. This is why we give good advice and try to accomodate everyone's needs.

    I understand that our products may seem expensive to some people, but we manufacture all of our products to last an very long time, they are capital investmets like your mowers. We like many other people hate to see products become more expensive, and made from cheaper lighter materials. So we try to provide the best.

    If you have any more questions i would be glad to help.
  8. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    I use Gators on my big Toro Groundsmasters and my 52" and 61" Ferris WBs as well. I think they work fine, plus I can get a pretty good edge with them on just a big bench grinder.
  9. Southern Lawns

    Southern Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 259

    Running Exmark mulching on my 60" Z and have found nothing that performs better. It's worth the time it takes to sharpen. For me!
  10. Magna-Matic

    Magna-Matic Sponsor
    Posts: 827

    Just a quick note ...when lawn care pros recommend bench grinders to other lawn care pros, it should be remembered that, sharpening mower blades with a bench grinder takes some skill and practice to maintain a even angle across the length of the edge.

    There are some people with good "mechanical feeling" and steady hands, but i like many others are not, and that is where a dedicated blade grinder can be a big help. Also if you would ever hire someone to do your sharpening, they would probably butcher the blades on using your bench grinder.

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