Dumb Q about hand files

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Gbug, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. Gbug

    Gbug LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I need a file to sharpen the blade on my 21" What type of hand file, grain/grit do yall recommend, and where can I get one? Thanks a bunch
  2. Brendan Smith

    Brendan Smith LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    i personally use a 4 1/2" grinder. it may take some time to get used to it so you don't cut at the wrong angle or overheat the metal and change the temper. get some trash blades to practice on before you attach serviceable ones if you haven't ever done it before. when the metal turns blue, that means you are overheating it. multiple light passes alternating side to side seem to work better than one heavy pass. good luck.

    btw - you can get a cheap grinder for $15 or so from harbor freight or somewhere like that.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    IF you use a hand file ---WEAR GLOVES
  4. Jnamo

    Jnamo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    Get two types of files, a course (spelling?) one for the intial sharpening the a fine one for the final touch.
    What you want is a "Mill Bastard" file with a nice wooden/plastic handle on the end. & yes wear gloves.

    Master a file first, then move on to the bench grinder and practice with an old blade first.
  5. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,940

    I have used hand files for sharpening for years. Now that I have a ZTR with thicker blades, I am using a combination of angle grinder and hand file.

    For blades that mount to hand mowers, a hand file is the simplest and will work just fine. From my view, a grinder is not needed, and will remove more material than necessary. These blades are generally not very thick. I have used a hand file on Snapper, LawnBoy and Toro blades, never the grinder.

    The choice for files is limited. I have found the best one:

    Nicholson, 10" flat file, double cut bastard file, # 21868

    Lowes link:

    These products are in many hardware stores. You should not need to go to any large box store to find them.

    I never bought a handle. Rather I use an old pair of locking pliers (not Vise-Grips, but a pair somebody bought me as a gift -- junk, but will hold the file, no good for anything else!). And, as somebody suggested, use gloves, especially on the left hand.

    Hold the blade in a vise, at an angle where you get very good access from the top down. Also, have good light so that you can see how the file is passing across the surface. Make the passes at an angle that will fit the file flat on the full width of the sharpened surface. Make firm long strokes down, with good pressure. The file mentioned above will easily cut the material. Use the entire length of the file.

    I tend to be a sharpening nut, and will sharpen blades after 6-8 hours of use. They are never very dull, and only a few passes with the file will generate a new edge that will easily cut your finger -- watch out! If you allow the blade to get really dull, the sharpening exercise will quickly become difficult (to say nothing of the poor mowing job).

    I am now primairly using LawnBoy blades. I have used the same two blades (switch them in/out) for the past two years. They have been sharpened well over a hundred times, maybe twice that. They are still good, and have plenty of material over the width of the blade.
  6. Gbug

    Gbug LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    Thanks guys for the tips. The reason Im sticking to a hand file and not a grinding wheel is, like Roger said, it just makes more sense to use a file to sharpen a single push mower blade.

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