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What determines the quality of cut?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by nt1, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. nt1

    nt1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    Here are a few of the things that I know contribute to the "quality of cut" but in what order of importance would you place them?

    1. Blade tip speeed
    2. Horse power of the motor ( more about speed when under load I suppose)
    3. Shape and depth of the deck
    4. Sharpness of the blades
    5. Wheel base to deck size ratio?
    6. Type of grass
    7. Type of terrain ( bumpy, hills, flat )
    8. Time of year?
    9. Who's operating the mower ( experience level )
    10. Type of blades
    11. Cleaness of deck ( clumping / grass build up )
    12. Type of baffles ( related to shape of deck, sort of )

    Any thing else I am missing or you can contibute?
  2. S L C

    S L C LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    striping kit?
  3. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    You said type of grass but the condition of the grass/turf can make one deck appear better than another. Such as dry pure stands of grass are easily cut by most commercial ZTR's. Dry grass is usually cut very well by most. There are some decks that excel at damp, dewy, or Northern grasses such as the John Deere 7 Iron II or the Scag Velocity plus. Several decks were designed and tested in Florida to meet problems there and did not preform as well in the Mid-West.

    The amount of moisture in/on the turf.
    The type and amount of weeds/undesirable grasses in the turf.
    Height, thickness (density), of the turf.
    Lift and airflow turbulence in the deck, how well it moves the cut grass out of the chambers which could be very fine clippings or longer less processed clippings.

    Most mowers, even consumer models can leave a good cut in pure turf grass.
    In my opinion and it's just my opinion striping hides the quality of the cut.
    Yes I think when you lay the grass over in one direction it's hard to tell if the blades were cut even and uniform (Not against striping, I think it looks good). You can use a striping roller behind a mower that is not preforming well and it will hide the fact that the grass was not cut even or uniform. Just "opinions" off the top of my head.

    On second thought ask ENVY. He knows as much about decks as anyone on here.
  4. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    I think this is what he was referring to when he identified item no. 3 -- Shape and depth of the deck !!
  5. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    I figured I would state something he had already written down. I was just shooting from the hip throwing a few ideas out there. I'm no expert but ENVY is if he see's this post he will give some good idea's. Thanks!

    I had some terrible air flow problems with one deck. Every time I would add a fix or adaptor the build up would change. It's amazing how just a few modifacations can change the personality of a deck for better or worse.

    Build up.jpg
  6. packey

    packey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 556

    Hp does not make a difference if you realize and understand equipment. However bogging down your deck by running to quickly will have more effect. I have a cheap home owner 17 42 husqavarna z that will cut grass as good as most commercial mowers if I let it cut and not try to run faster that it wants to cut. I say most because their are a few commercial mowers out their that have supierior cuts to almost any equipment. If your deck is clean and has good suction with good sharp blads and deck/blade speeds are high then most likely you will come out with a good cut no matter what the mower. I did not say exceptional I said good. I have been cutting grass for a long time and I have used a variety of equipment and know the difference between a decent home owner mower, a decent commercial mower and an exceptional mower. We need to also take into account weather conditions because grass cuts different in humid conditions than dry conditions.
  7. GravelyNut

    GravelyNut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,594

    Moisture here is a big problem. When you can mow at 1000 in the sun and raise a fog, you know its wet.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    These are not necessarily in the exact order, any one could become the top issue if it were the problem, I would think.
    But for myself if the cut is crappy this is what gets looked into:

    1. Type of blade, overall condition, sharpness and height (and in relation to skirt of deck).
    2. Angle of deck.
    3. Overall Condition of the machine, is she tight or loose?
    4. Psi of Tires.
    5. Overall maintenance status (belts, spindle bearings, etc).
    6. Speed of operation (as a rule slower is better).
    7. Time of day (dew!)
    8. Operator level of care, as in, do you give a rat?
    > More than experience, because a high level of commitment to quality can make up for a whole lot.

    9. Type of grass yeah but so long it is LAWN, for the most part no, some types of lawn are harder to cut but ...
    > Weeds are a problem, especially crab grass or that wiry stuff, also dandelions.

    10. The deck being clean, yeah if it's gone through some really thick stuff and gets all clumped up and then is acting real stupid that could be the problem but generally no.

    The rest is minimal, hp and rpm and all that is debatable but usually little to worry about, most if not all mowers are gtg per the mfg specs here.

    Just my take on things.
  9. Grassbuster

    Grassbuster LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    Certainly all of the above and of coarse your:dizzy:eyes. Are YOU happy with what you see when your done?

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