Why do some decks cut better than others?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by dh500, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. dh500

    dh500 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 58

    Why do some decks cut better than others?

    Even if variables like blade sharpness and operator skill are eliminated, I would still expect a deck from a leading manufacturer to give a better cut than some "el cheapo" make.

    The top of a deck is basically a flat plate and about the only design choice is how far it is above the cutting edges. Similarly the shroud does not allow too many design choices - just the overall depth and the clearance from the blade tips (plus I guess the angles leading out to the discharge area)

    A cheap deck may not look as good and not be as robust, but unless it is so flimsy as to bend and distort in use, why should it not be able to give as good a cut as any?

    What are the characteristics that make a good deck "good"?

    Apart from assessing build quality, is there anything to look out for when inspecting a deck visually or is a practical "demo" the only way?


    SHOWCASE LAWNS LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    Quickly.........blade Tip Speed, Blade Lift , Smooth Deck Air Flow , Deck Thickness And Material Its Made Of. Horsepower To Get Thru The Thick Stuff. Does It Have Antio Scalp Rollers? Is It Greaseable ? Is It A Solid Mount Or A Floating Type? Are We Talking Lawn Tractor/ Push Mower Or Commercial ?
  3. scagwildcat

    scagwildcat LawnSite Senior Member
    from nw. ct.
    Posts: 507

    i agree blade rpm. also most el-cheapo's dont have deck baffles. deck rollers, but they all or most have anti scalp wheels, i think
  4. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,023

    Super answer, Right to the point !!!

    SHOWCASE LAWNS LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    Not All Of Em Have Rollers.........and Thats A Fact.

    Ps My Dad ( I Am 34 ) Belongs To A Private Club. They Bought A Troy Bilt Riding Mower From Lowes And Managed To Hit A Few Lousy Small Rocks, Well According To Lowes The Repair Bill Will Be 170 To Replace A Belt And Some Pulleys. I Saw The Damage Myself And Was Amazed At How The Rocks Barely Scuffed The El Cheapo Blades But Damn Near Destroyed The Pulleys And Belt . What A P.o.s. !!!!!!!!!!!! Lowes Claims This So Called Abuse Voids The Warranty. Since The Mower Was Bought On A Credit Card And The Repair Shop Still Has The Machine......lowes Refuses To Give Them A New One, I Suggested They Call Lowes Tell Em To Keep It ......then Call The Cc Company And Revoke Payment. I Always Thought Lowes Was A BEtter Co Than Depot But After This Im Not So Sure.
  6. dh500

    dh500 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 58

    Thanks fellow LawnSite members for your responses.

    The original query was more for the purpose of my education rather than in relation to any prospective purchase.

    I guess the sort of application I had in mind could be described as a homeowner on an acreage property using "low end" commercial equipment.

    In my case, the state of my lawn is such that being overly concerned about cut quality could be seen as "wishful thinking".

    Things like blade lift, blade speed and horsepower are obviously significant but I was thinking more in terms of design issues directly related to the deck. Similarly, greasability and durability (including the ability to stand up to the occasional rock) are a desirable features but would not in themselves provide good cut quality straight off.

    Scagwildcat mentioned deck baffles. What are the variables here? The only features on my machine which could possibly qualify are a couple of pieces of angle attached to the lower edge of the front skirt so that the lower arm projects back horizontally under the deck (but still well clear of the blades). Behind the blades there is a piece of flat bar bent into a sort of double cusp shape so that the blade tips run quite close to it. Do top of the line mowers have more complex "aerodynamic devices" than this?

  7. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,164

    My eXmark has baffles in the deck to increse airflow and discharge speed and increases distribution of the clippings on the lawn.
  8. Sitnduck

    Sitnduck LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    Most commercial decks have baffles as noted by MCWlandscaping.
    Yet some cheaper decks do a great job of mowing, they just may not last long if heavily used.
    (Consumer reports loves the Home Depot Deeres cut.)
    Demo if you can. Commercial will handle more abuse (rocks) but you pay more up front.
    Good luck with the repairs.

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