CA Lessons: Landscaping To Reduce Wildfire Risk
While there are no ways to fireproof a property, there are strategies to design and maintain landscapes for reduced vulnerability. Click here to learn more.
joe--there should be lots of response to this post. for me, I try to keep the same angle on the blade as original, or as obtained if it was used when I got it. I got a bunch of serviceable used blades with my machine. It is usually not too hard to keep the same angle, HOWEVER, you will wind up with a bump or two in the new surface if the blade has been banged up.<p>I do blades two basic ways. the best for the blade is to take it off and file it with a coarse flat bastard file. I C-clamp 'em to the flat metal on the top rail of my trailer and file to a new surface. this method gives great control and dosen't de-temper the blade by getting too hot. sometimes, I'll file them while they're on thhe machine. other times I'll use an air powered mini-die grinder with a flat stone. this is real fast and works great. couple swipes and if the blade isn't too bad, it's like new.<p>for a blade that is banged up, get out the 10 in. grinder and the blade balancer. you gotta remove metal.<p>lesco makes a blade grinder for about $300 that people love. I don't have one but I'd like to ask if any one knows of an alternative machine that you can hook up to a regular grinder and get the same results.<p>one point to remember, always sharpen from the point to the back of the blade, file or grinder, doesn't matter.<p>happy y2k to all.<p>GEO
I change my blades every 6 to 8 hours,depending on the lawns condition.I got tired of the file,the belt sander,the hand sander and broke down and bought a Brandelin Blade grinder.There are several on the market,most are designed to mount to the work bench.The Brandelin is free standing,grinds left or right,blade angle adjustment is with a crank that raises and lowers the motor with the wheel.I keep a steeper angle than when new.Blades do a lot of work and are still reasonabl so I keep them sharp.I use about twice as many as some of my friends.A lawn cut with a sharp blade will look greener after a couple days than the one cut with dull blades.
I'm a small operator (1 wb with 2 spindles, 1 LawnBoy hand mower), so my perspective is rather limited.<p>I use a file to sharpen my blades. First, I use a B&D Workwheel with a 6" wire brush, and clean the surface to be sharpened very well. This eliminates dirt clogging the hand file. I put the blade in a vise on the bench, and attempt to keep the same angle. If I happen to get a big ding on the blade, I may have to use the bench grinder, but generally stay away. I found the grinder takes off much more material than I need to get a sharp edge, and (as mentioned earlier) the edge can get hot. In response to other posts a few months ago about the time required to hand file, I kept an informal watch. The LawnBoy blade required 12-15 swipes (each edge), and my 18" Exmark blades required about 25 swipes. IOW, it doesn't take very long. I tend to sharpen the blades often (6 hrs for LB, 6-8 hrs for Exmark), so the blades aren't excessively dull when starting.<p>RE: Balancing<p>A couple of other comments have been made here about balancing. How are you doing the balancing? Did you buy an expensive balancer unit? From time to time, I feel my blades are a bit out of balance, but haven't any way of knowing, or make diagnosis. I've tried a nail in the center hole, a screwdriver, etc. I feel that method is of no value - too erratic of results. Any other ideas?<p>Roger
Balance: Roger,you can buy a cone shaped unit made especialy to balance mower blades.Its only a few bucks and can be purchesed from most blade suppliers.<br>With a blade grinder you can grind the same number of strokes on each side with the same amount of force and the blade stayes balanced.
I have tried every mentioned method, and probally a few others as well. This past season, I decided to buy a blade grinder. Mine is a Lesco(made by Neary). It is not the type that most are used to seeing. The wheel is stationary, and it has a small, aluminium table that adjusts for angle, and to compensate for wheel wear.<p>At first, I tried to adjust the table to each blades specific angle. This was very troublesome, because the tinest mis-adjustment would throw off the entire angle, and too much material needed to be removed to make a sharp edge.<p>What I did was to grind all my blades to the same angle. What the degree is, I don't really know. It is somewhere around a factory angle for a Toro hi lift blade. <p>Whild grinding each blade to the same angle, I learned that none of my blades were conistant. Many had different angles at each end of the blade. Now all are uniform. This inital grinding took some time, and removed a bit of material from most blades, but now that they are all the same angle, and setup for my grinder, a simple sharpening takes only seconds. A few passes are all that are required. <p>I too have one of the small cones for balancing. It came with the grinder. I am not 100% sold on it. I still think that there is a lot of room for error. If I do get a blade that is way out of wack, I grind the excess material from the back of the blade, not wasting valuable cutting edge material. <p>It took me some time to get the system down pat. Once it was in place, and all blades are ground to the proper angle, it is a breeze to use.
jeffclc : If you don't mind me asking how much did you pay for the Lesco grinder, as I want to grind my own blades this comming year. I had them done by a shop this year and they all had b big burr on them when I got them back, and had to deburr them all.<br>Ken <br>Lightcap's Landscape Service<br>A Happy and Prosperous New Year To All
I have some experience with a Neary Grinder, in fact I have to put a new 1 HP motor on it soon. We have been using the vice and a hand grinder for a few months. I agree with the above post in terms of getting all blades uniform. Once they are, using the blade grinder is a breeze. Usually when we hire a new guy I start him off cleaning up all of our blades (between 40-50 total). This way they learn what a pain it is to not keep on top of grinding. After that only a little touch up is required. It is important to keep the grinding wheel 'dressed' with the proper tool, and to be careful not to overheat the blade. If you do over heat, the blade becomes soft and less effective. We sometimes keep a bucket of water around at grinding time. The Neary is mounted on an old Truck tire and Budd Rim, so it can be rolled outside rather than always sparking inside. The collection unit isn't so hot.<p>Phil Grande<p>----------<br>Phil Grande - Soundview Landscape Supply<br>http://members.aol.com/scagrider