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Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 8 months ago

Lawnmower blade sharpening - quick, easy and cheap!


About a year and a half ago, spring of 2004, I went to a workshop at town hall called Greenscapes . http://www.nsrwa.org/greenscapes/factsheets.html The idea behind the workshop was to educate people about how to care for their lawns in a way that will make the lawns healthy and more water efficient. If we use less water keeping our lawns green, then the town's water supply can be used for more essential uses like drinking water and hot showers.


The guy leading the workshop made a couple of points that have stuck with me since.

  • The lawn should be about as tall as a credit card.
  • If you cut too much at a time, you will stress the grass and it will turn brown in a few weeks.
  • Your lawnmower blade should be kept about as sharp as a pair of scissors.

The technique the guy gave for keeping the blade sounded like a total pain in the neck. He suggested buying a second blade, keeping it in the shed with the mower, then swapping the blades every so often. Take the dull blade to the sharpener, use the sharp blade. When the dull one has been sharpened, put it back in the shed.


My problem with his technique was that it required too many steps, too much time and too much money:

  • buying a second blade
  • taking the dull blade off the mower
  • bringing it to a shop,
  • paying to have it sharpened, then
  • fetching it when its' done being sharpened.


I almost raised my hand with the following suggestion:

Use an angle grinder to sharpen it right on the mower. No fuss no muss, turtle the mower, sharpen the blade, flip it back. Done. A few days later, I tried it and it worked pretty well. A bit later, I mentioned it to Travis R, and he asked if I had done anything to keep the mower from starting, so I added another step - yank the plug wire.


It may be ironic that I am offering tips on how to make your lawn healthier while I have one of the most hideous patch o' weeds around, but so what?


Below are my photos of my lawn mower blade sharpening hack. If you have the angle grinder already or can borrow one, then it costs no money. It definitely saves time and hassle going to the lawn mower repair shop to drop off and pick up.

Ready for sharpening. The mower itself is a fairly recent dump score. This is a very cheap project....


Yank the plug wire to keep it from starting while you are working.


Dull blade ready for grinding and sharpening.


Pretty much all the tools you need. You can get by without the extension cord if you have an outside outlet handy. I don't remember buying the extension cord...The only thing that had to be bought was the angle grinder, at about $90, obviously, it can be used for other things :)


Remember: Always wear your safety glasses! The earmuffs help to hear the music better. Why bother wasting your hearing on the clatter of a 4 stroke engine? Today was My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves. Excellent choice for mowing...


It is so much fun to grind steel. I love the smell.


Post grind. The blade should be as sharp as scissors, not as sharp as a knife. This will cut the grass nice and clean. A dull blade will beat the grass at the cut, and stress the plant. A few weeks after cutting with a dull blade, you will have a brown, unhappy lawn.


Before getting going again, you will need to put the plug wire back on. Otherwise, it will be very hard to start.



Ready to cut with a nice properly sharpened blade. The whole project took about 20 minutes, including taking the photos. That is undoubtably less time than it would take to take the blade off and get in the car, drive to the lawnmower repair shop and back. Saves on fuel also, no driving.


It's also a good excuse to break out the angle grinder!

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