Oregon Super High Lift Blades Discontinued.... For Now

The Swamp Fox

LawnSite Member
Location
Michigan
TL;DR Summary
This post is a PSA of sorts that the Oregon 91-623 super high lift blades (18" long, 5/8" CH, 1.5" sail height) often recommended for those seeking maximum vacuum or clipping dispersion from 36" & 52" decks are discontinued and currently unavailable. There are many third-party resellers still listing the 91-623's, but they are actually shipping the blade which Oregon deemed to be its replacement (Oregon 191-623) which is a completely different design.

Per a phone call to Oregon Products, the replacement blades that the 91-623's were superseded to (Oregon 191-623's) have been so poorly received by the U.S. market that Oregon plans to now discontinue the 191-623's and return to the 91-623's sometime in the 4th quarter of 2021.

See below for more info and a side-by-side technical and pictorial comparison of the 91-623 and 191-623 for sake of reference.

My Search For A Super High Lift Blade
I've recently been experimenting with different blade types in the course of troubleshooting some uncut stragglers left by my 2015 Gravely Pro-Stance with a 52" X-Factor II deck when cutting cool season fescue. After ruling out a host of other potential causes (mowing speed, tire pressures, deck belt tension, deck rake & level, spindles, RPM, clutch clearance, baffle positions, HOC, anti-scalp wheel positions, etc.) I'm more or less down to blade type as my sole remaining area of focus in the hopes of solving the issue.

The blades I'm currently using are Oregon 91-637's, a Scag/Jacobsen-style non-offset long tail high lift blade with a notched foil. Blade specs are 18" long, 2.5" wide, .203" thick, with a 1" lift. These blades create amazing stripes on my Michigan fescue at cut heights of 3.5-3.75", but still leave occasional stragglers.

Since the 91-637's I'm currently using have only a 1" sail, I thought a blade with a higher sail providing more vacuum would be just the ticket. Lots of research here on the topic led me some time ago to the Oregon 91-623, an 18" long blade with a 5/8" center hole which is classified as a "Super High Lift" due to the 1 1/2" tall sail, the tallest I have found on the market.

The Oregon website actually lists the 91-623 Super High Lifts as being discontinued, but shopping around revealed plenty of offers via third-party sellers on Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart. I ordered a set from Amazon (seller — PAE Distributing), and eagerly awaited their arrival.

They arrived in OEM packaging from Oregon, but the minute I pulled them out of the box I knew something was wrong — the lift was not nearly high enough. Sure enough, the sail height measured only 1 3/16". Then I noticed that the Oregon sticker on the blades listed a part number of 191-623 rather than the 91-623 I had ordered.

I did some online searching for an Oregon P/N 191-623, and could find virtually no information on them at all. They aren't listed on the Oregon website or in their 2021 Parts Catalog. The only reference I could find to this number anywhere on the internet was on the Jack's Small Engines website, which states that the Oregon 91-623 was superseded to the 191-623.

My Call To Oregon Products Customer Service
I therefore called Oregon and asked them directly about it. I spoke to a man named Dave, who was very helpful and shed some very interesting light on the topic. He stated that roughly mid-2020, Oregon's engineers designed a replacement blade for the 91-623 which they believed would achieve the same performance but would offer a significant cost savings in the manufacturing process.

The blade was named the 191-623, and differed significantly from the 91-623 in several key ways:
  1. The 191-623 is manufactured in a French factory rather than in the U.S.
  2. The 191-623 is rolled to shape rather than stamped
  3. The 191-623 sail height is only 1 3/16" instead of 1 1/2"
  4. The 191-623 cutting edge runs the entire length of the blade
  5. The 191-623 sail has a beveled top edge to reduce wind noise
The Oregon rep named Dave who I spoke with says he has no idea why they changed so many core characteristics of the blade, and also has no idea why there is no listing on the Oregon website to the 191-623 or a cross-reference / supersedence note on the 91-623 listing.

He did, however, say that the feedback from Oregon's U.S. market has been so dramatic on the redesigned blade that Oregon has had a bunch of internal correspondence on the matter and are planning to scrap the 191-623 and return to the 91-623 design at some point in 4th quarter 2021.

Getting My Hands On Some Oregon 91-623's... Finally
I asked Dave to send me an email when the 91-623 blades became available again, but was crestfallen to hear that I may not be able to trial the super high lifts until next growing season.

In the hopes of finding a seller who still had some of the old 91-623 inventory available, I made a list of eBay sellers offering free 30-day returns and took a few gambles. I ended up lucky on one of them, and was relieved to pull a genuine set of shiny 91-623's from the box.

Oregon 91-623 vs. 191-623 Specs
Since I had both the 91-623 and the 191-623 on the shelf, I took my digital calipers, digital protractor, and a tape measure to them to discover all of the differences in the interest of reporting them here. Differences in the new blade highlighted via red text:

Oregon 91-623
  • Length — 18" (corner-to-corner)
  • Width — 3"
  • Thickness — .203"
  • Center Hole — .625"
  • Sail Height — 1.5"
  • Sail Length — 3 1/8"
  • Sail Type — Bent, no bevel
  • Blade Angle — 30.5°
  • Cutting Edge Length — 6.5"
Oregon 191-623
  • Length — 18" (corner-to-corner)
  • Width — 3"
  • Thickness — .203"
  • Center Hole — .637"
  • Sail Height — 1 3/16"
  • Sail Length — 2.5"
  • Sail Type — Rolled, w/ beveled edge
  • Blade Angle — 27.5°
  • Cutting Edge Length — 17 15/16"
Here's a few photos of the two blades side-by-side for sake of reference:

2021-08-16 Oregon 191-623 vs. 91-623 Blade Specs 005.JPG
2021-08-16 Oregon 191-623 vs. 91-623 Blade Specs 006.JPG
2021-08-16 Oregon 191-623 vs. 91-623 Blade Specs 008.JPG
2021-08-16 Oregon 191-623 vs. 91-623 Blade Specs 010.JPG
2021-08-16 Oregon 191-623 vs. 91-623 Blade Specs 013.JPG


Just wanted to throw this out there for anyone in the market for these blades in the short term. The Oregon rep I spoke with mentioned that even once the old 91-623's come back into production later this year, it will take some time for all of the third-party distributors / re-sellers to sell out of the 191-623 inventory, so the real deal could be hard to find for awhile.

I do not know whether this obsolescence issue also affected the 21" version of this blade (Oregon 91-628) in the same way, but assume it did as the 91-628 is also listed as discontinued on the Oregon website.
 
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JLH52

LawnSite Senior Member
I'm not in the market for either blade, but I definitely appreciate your detailed thread about the blades and their differences.

I also like to do research and get the straight scoop on whatever it is I'm researching. I also like talking to company reps and tech support that know what they're talking about.

I don't remember his name, but in the past I talked to man at Oregon who was the head guru over blades. He patiently answered all my questions and was in no rush to hurry me off phone.
 

Ridin' Green

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Michigan
I'm not in the market for either blade, but I definitely appreciate your detailed thread about the blades and their differences.

I also like to do research and get the straight scoop on whatever it is I'm researching. I also like talking to company reps and tech support that know what they're talking about.

I don't remember his name, but in the past I talked to man at Oregon who was the head guru over blades. He patiently answered all my questions and was in no rush to hurry me off phone.
The head blade guy used to be a member here and went by the name Oregon OEP. I chatted with him on the phone a bit. He knew his stuff.
 
OP
T

The Swamp Fox

LawnSite Member
Location
Michigan
The new sail is def not as tall, nor as steep. Just another case of the greenie weenies taking control over everything and mandating crap that will "require less fuel." :rolleyes:
Nor as wide, which I can only assume will only further reduce the replacement version's vacuum and clipping dispersion on top of the lower sail height. I also found it interesting that the blade angle differed between the two.
 

Groomer

LawnSite Gold Member
Nor as wide, which I can only assume will only further reduce the replacement version's vacuum and clipping dispersion on top of the lower sail height. I also found it interesting that the blade angle differed between the two.
you are correct.

I have 2 sets of both, have used them both, and you can tell immediately upon firing them up the difference in vacuum, the mower sounds completely different, the "new" style just doesn't create that airplane-like hum!

thanks for pointing out the blade angle, I never looked at that key component.

I'll keep the new style for backup.
 

Advance_lawn_care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
AR
I experimented with those early last year I think. Fuel consumption was awful. Get into leaves or tall grass and the engine would struggle to keep them spinning, 27 hp kawasaki. Not eow friendly in spring.

My disappearing trick with them was to mow a bare dry spot in August. Had a client tell me I was gone until the dust cleared.

This did have suction tho....
 

Ridin' Green

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Michigan
Running Oregon's version of Scag SHL's under my 60" JD w/FX850 right now. It spins them with no problem, and we are having some serious growth here lately after all the rain we were getting. I was cutting off 6-8" all day today depending on where I was at.

I've also ran doubles in some very thick, tall grass lately and it handled those too. In fact, they are going to be under it all fall once leaves start fall. The top is a G5 and the bottom is an Oregon version of the Scag medium lift. Man! That set-up flat destroys grass clippings and the few leaves we have had fall early. Itb also stripes like a banshee with them under it.

Click on them to make them bigger. It didn't give me the option to go full size rather than thumbnail this time.
 

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dKoester

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Chesapeake VA
I put on those same high lifts today for my 36 wright. So they are discontinuing these? These blades do work! Thanks for the heads up!
 

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