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The last time I had my mower blades sharpened, it was $8 each. That's about half the cost of a new blade, and up considerably from $3 a decade ago. So it's time for me to get a bench grinder so I can sharpen my own blades. These are the blades on my mid mount mower, not the big MX6 rotary cutter.

I got a flyer from Northern Tool with some discount coupons it in. They have a 6" grinder on sale and you can also apply the coupons. Now I don't want the one they show because I'd like one with a light on it.

Now keep in mind this is for weekend warrior use. I don't even have a welder (there was one for sale in the catalog, but I'm not going there....). I've got a 4.5" hand held grinder, but it sure seems like using that on mower blades that are off the mower is going to cause more trouble than it solves (although they are tempting to use to touch up the MX6 blades). So what should I get?

Size of the grinding disk?
Work light?
Stand or Table top mount?
HP of motor if it matters?
RPM?
And all the other stuff I just don't know enough to ask?

TIA and when the mowin' is over I can't wait to get to the seasonal grind :laugh:.

Pete
 

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I like 8" grinders, with variable speed.

The lights are usually a joke, as are the stupid plastic lawyer shields they come with. What makes a good grinder IMO is the tools rests...cheap ones usually come with stamped steel ones that never stay where you want them so you end up freehand grinding-which then leads to screwed up angles or what you are sharpening jammed between the wheel and the wanna be tool rest.
 

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you can use a hand grinder on mowing blades, and your brush hog blades. just don't put to much pressure on the grinder or you will gouge the blade
 

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Pete if you just mow lawn and never hit rocks a couple of quality 12" flat files will work, they're better because they they don't cut as fast and are easier to control.

I use a 12" flat mill file when I finish up my rotary cutters blades. A quality file will bring an edge on fast and it feels and sounds good working the metal... you'll get the hang of it fast and enjoy it. :good2:


http://www.evenfallstudios.com/woodworks_library/nicholson_guide_to_filing_2006.pdf
 

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I prefer a file instead of a grinder because it is easier to keep the correct angle on the cutting edge.
 

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you can use a hand grinder on mowing blades, and your brush hog blades. just don't put to much pressure on the grinder or you will gouge the blade
Great link Tackit:thumbup1gif:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tackit, tnx for the link. Learned good stuff, and saw that how I use a file isn't too far off the mark :thumbup1gif:. I've got lots of small precision files for chassis work, but only one big one that could be used to sharpen a blade.

The driveway is only 4 years new, so there are still a few places where I mow the gravel and the grass is collateral damage :mocking:. With time, as I work the gravel out and bring the dirt up, this will get better.

So I'll give a shot by hand (both file and hand grinder) and be on the lookout for the "Kenny approved" style of grinder for when I find an ugly patch of rail road ballast. My take on all this is "either do it all by hand, or get a really good grinder not some cheapie".

On a related filing note, for years I filed my chainsaw chains by hand so I could get the hang of it. At first, I filed and then took it to get sharpened :)banghead:) but now I can do OK. My goal is to be able to sharpen the chain good enough to use for those rare weather events where you don't have the luxury of being to take a break and have it sharpened. That skill (and having 3-4 chains on hand) have got me through situations and helped the Fire Dept. clear the district after ice storms.

Thanks for the comments, more are welcome if other have them. Guess I have to post a picture of my sharpening...

Pete
 

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Tackit, tnx for the link. Learned good stuff, and saw that how I use a file isn't too far off the mark :thumbup1gif:. I've got lots of small precision files for chassis work, but only one big one that could be used to sharpen a blade.

The driveway is only 4 years new, so there are still a few places where I mow the gravel and the grass is collateral damage :mocking:. With time, as I work the gravel out and bring the dirt up, this will get better.

So I'll give a shot by hand (both file and hand grinder) and be on the lookout for the "Kenny approved" style of grinder for when I find an ugly patch of rail road ballast. My take on all this is "either do it all by hand, or get a really good grinder not some cheapie".

On a related filing note, for years I filed my chainsaw chains by hand so I could get the hang of it. At first, I filed and then took it to get sharpened :)banghead:) but now I can do OK. My goal is to be able to sharpen the chain good enough to use for those rare weather events where you don't have the luxury of being to take a break and have it sharpened. That skill (and having 3-4 chains on hand) have got me through situations and helped the Fire Dept. clear the district after ice storms.

Thanks for the comments, more are welcome if other have them. Guess I have to post a picture of my sharpening...

Pete
Sounds good Pete, it's good to know how to do things without power. Sounds like filing your blades would be an easy job for you... :good2:
 

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A number of years ago I ordered a Delta 8" bench grinder with stand, and ended up with a Delta 10" grinder with stand. I agree with Kenny about not wasting your time with a 6" grinder, and the stamped sheet metal tool rests. I'm really glad I ended up with the 10" grinder by mistake.

I looked at a Jet 10" bench grinder a few years back and liked it better than my Delta.

If you use a stand, bolt it to the floor as these things are like drill presses...top heavy.
 

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Check out this site. It's the largest forestry site on the net and you will find a wealth of info. on sharpening chain. The next step up is your own chain saw grinder. Bought one last year and haven't looked back.

http://arboristsite.com/


On a related filing note, for years I filed my chainsaw chains by hand so I could get the hang of it. At first, I filed and then took it to get sharpened :)banghead:) but now I can do OK. My goal is to be able to sharpen the chain good enough to use for those rare weather events where you don't have the luxury of being to take a break and have it sharpened. That skill (and having 3-4 chains on hand) have got me through situations and helped the Fire Dept. clear the district after ice storms.

Thanks for the comments, more are welcome if other have them. Guess I have to post a picture of my sharpening...

Pete
 

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Can't help with what bench grinder, don't like them, too many horror stories. I buy a set of new blades every year. My dad sharpened his blades all the time and then he complained about the thin strip of grass the was not getting cut all because the distance between the blade tips just keeps getting bigger and bigger with every sharpening. Or he would complained about the vibration in the mower deck, blades out of balance, and then his spindles would go south. I guess for commercial mowing sharpening the blades may be the way to go. Just not for me and home use.
 

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Check out this site. It's the largest forestry site on the net and you will find a wealth of info. on sharpening chain. The next step up is your own chain saw grinder. Bought one last year and haven't looked back.

http://arboristsite.com/
Nice website George thanks... I wonder if someone there could help me fix an old Remington chain saw that has hydraulic block... My friend gave it to me, it's really a nice saw, I would love to fix it. My lawn mower shop says he isn't intrested in fixing it because parts not readily available.

I think I could fix it if I knew how to trouble shoot the problem.
 

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Ya, Remington parts are scarce, if memory serves me correctly they went out of business, circa 1978. Do a posting on A.S., though, there are a lot of guys who do nothing but refurbish the old stuff on there.

Nice website George thanks... I wonder if someone there could help me fix an old Remington chain saw that has hydraulic block... My friend gave it to me, it's really a nice saw, I would love to fix it. My lawn mower shop says he isn't intrested in fixing it because parts not readily available.

I think I could fix it if I knew how to trouble shoot the problem.
 

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I'll give it a try George... It's a nice saw even with battle scars, I'll take a picture of it later when I head out to the shop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Can't help with what bench grinder, don't like them, too many horror stories. I buy a set of new blades every year....
Between being overly frugal and the fact that a "good" grinder is looking like $250 to 500 vs. $100, I might try a hand sharpen (file first, then hand held grinder if that doesn't go). Then maybee new blades every 2-3 years depending on how much gravel I "mow". I have seen the effects of hanging on the blades too long.

I also like the idea of being able to sharpen up any blade that I ding up just so I know that when I make a mistake I can fix it and keep going that day.

And I'll keep my eye out for a "good" grinder, who knows... A good grinder is about as much as a good multi-meter. Why is it so easy to buy the multi-meter and so hard to buy the grinder :unknown:?

Pete
 

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A good grinder is about as much as a good multi-meter. Why is it so easy to buy the multi-meter and so hard to buy the grinder :unknown:?

Pete
Boy what a great question. After all the years I have struggled with certain purchases I would really like to know the answer to this question.:munch:
 

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My dad sharpened his blades all the time and then he complained about the thin strip of grass the was not getting cut all because the distance between the blade tips just keeps getting bigger and bigger with every sharpening.
Can you explain that please? Properly sharpening a blade does not shorten it:confused:

Or he would complained about the vibration in the mower deck, blades out of balance, and then his spindles would go south.
Why didn't he just balance them?
 

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Can you explain that please? Properly sharpening a blade does not shorten it:confused:
Why didn't he just balance them?
Mower blade lengths are measured diagonally from cutting tip to cutting tip and every time you sharpen them the blade width gets smaller, hence a shorted blade. Especially with worn blades that have rounded tips and they all do depending on wear and sharpening.
Take a look at well used blades still on the mower. Turn two blades (three blade deck) so the tips are at their closest position to each other, you may need to spin one blade while holding the other. On correct new blades the tips will just miss each other. Put a new set on and do the same thing. If the old blades have been sharpen a lot the distance between the tips will be a lot further than the new blades.

As far as my father balancing the blades.....I have no idea. God rest his soul.
 
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