McClane 20inch Reel mower


LawnSite Bronze Member
Columbus GA
I recently purchased a used 20 in McClane reel mower and I tried it out for the first time today in my back yard. When I bought the mower I knew that I was going to have to get the reel sharpened, but I think I may have another problem. I was cutting on a very level part of my yard and it seems that the mower cuts to high on the right leaving an unlevel cut. Is this a normal problem with reels? This is my first reel mower so I am kind of a rookie. Any help would be awesome.


LawnSite Senior Member
Most likely cutting poor on one side giving it the appearance of cutting crooked. You should be able to measure from the ground to the bedknife to make sure though.


LawnSite Member
Seattle, WA
Another possibility is the previous owner only tightened/adjusted one side of the reel. This causes the reel to wear out more on the tightened side causing it to become shaped like a cone. Find a good shop that knows what they are doing with reels. You will want a new bedknife and have a spin grind and relief cut done to the reel. You will also need to backlap several times a season to keep the reel sharp; Pin Hi makes a very good water based lapping compound--80 grit is good.

You're looking at $200-$300 at the shop for grind, parts and labor. Hopefully it doesn't need a new reel. Ouch! I personally wouldn't put very much money into it because you could get a new one and save the hassle. If you find that you like the reel and want to get a new or good quality used Tru Cut is your best choice. California Trimmer is another good choice. Both start at around $1k up to around $3k.

I have 2, 27" Tru Cut Commercial with Honda GX engines that I use daily. I also have an older Jacobsen greens mower that gets used a couple of times per week.

To me----nothing looks better than short, striped grass cut with a reel.

I saw that you are in Georgia--Zoysia looks awesome at about 1" and Bermuda is sweet at 1/2"--1"; you can overseed in winter with rye.

pm me if you need any info