I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking you should have eggs this morning (and, you’re right, you should have). But the other think that you’re thinking is, “urgh, sharpening my lawn mower blades sounds so dull” (ba dum dum dush). But here’s the thing: you’re not sharpening your mower’s blades to look after your mower, you’re doing it to look after your lawn; you’re doing it for the love of lawn care.
You see, the duller your blades, the more they’ll rip and tear your lawn instead of cutting those gorgeous little blades cleanly, and that’s what your lawn wants. It wants to be trimmed by a samurai sword so that it’s not left vulnerable to diseases, especially the fungal kind which just looooove to attack a plant’s open wounds, double-especially when your lawn is moist.
Basically, with a great mower comes great responsibility, and that’s what makes sharpening your mower blades so important to your law’s happiness.
Lesson 1: The “Do My Blades Need Sharpening” Test
The first option you’ve got is to get down on your hands and knees after you’ve cut your lawn and check the height of the grass. If it’s uneven or there are visible tears in your grass blades, you can guarantee it’s because your blades are dull.
The second option you’ve got, however, is much easier, partly because it involves a lot less getting on your hands and knees (as in, no hands and knees). All you’ve got to do is remember to sharpen your lawn mower blade every other month, which is only three times a year. Easy peasy.
Lesson 2: Choosing Your Tools for Sharpening
With the important lessons of why and when you need to sharpen your blade out of the way, it’s time to whip out some tools — yeehaw. Now, there are some awesome power tools you can use to get the job done but, ummmm, they’re really expensive and almost exclusively aimed at pro lawn technicians and gardeners, so I’m just gonna stick to the manual tool options…. okay, and some power tools.
Trusty file: for those that like getting hands on (and want to save themselves a pretty penny) the humble file is a great options to de-dull your blade.
Power drill: apart from a chainsaw, there’s nothing more fun to use than a power drill (cue robot impressions) and there are attachments you can buy specifically for sharpening your lawn mower blades, such as the VintageBee sharpeners which comes with plastic guide and a sharpening stone.
Assuming you’re going to go with option 2 (because, errr, power tools, duh), make sure safety is at the top of your priority list by also getting hold of a blade balancer, workbench, vice, wrench, safety gloves, goggles and glasses. We don’t want any accidents to spoil the fun.
Lesson 3: Getting Ready To Sharpen
Before you start sharpening your dull blade and start making your lawn great again, you need to know what you’re aiming for, which isn’t always the sharpest blade possible. What you really want is a blade that’s sharp but not razor-sharp. That’s because a blade that’s rocking a razor-sharp edge won’t last more than a couple of cuts, so you’ll be back in the tool shed before you can say, “whoopsiedaisy”.
What’s worse, by sharpening your blade too much, you’ll be making it too thin, which means your blade can suffer from nicks or dents and, trust me, no amount of sharpening can get a nick or dent out. The only thing you can do is buy a new blade.
Lesson 4: How to Sharpen Your Blade With a Drill Attachment
Now for the fun bit; how to set about getting a sharp but not too sharp blade using your trust power drill and that cool attachment you bought off Amazon.
Step 1: Remove the spark plug wire so that there is zero chance of your mower starting up accidentally.
Step 2: Flip your lawn mower over and remove the blade using your wrench to remove the nut(s).
Step 3: Head over to your workbench and make sure your blade is secured nice and tight using your vice.
Step 4: if you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to pop your new attachment into your power drill. Now smile like you know you want to.
Step 5: Using the plastic guide that came with your attachment, setup the sharpening stone so that it rests against the front of the cutting edge.
Step 6: Shout “get some!” as you pull the trigger and run the sharpening stone along the blade.
Step 7: Unwind your vice, take the blade out, flip it over so that the unsharpened edge is pointing up and then repeat the process.
Final Step: Make sure you sharpen each side of your mower blade the same amount to keep your blade balanced, which you can check properly with a blade balancer.