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Old 05-17-2010, 12:00 PM
84 posts, read 398,665 times
Reputation: 40


I bought an American Lawn Mower Company reel mower a few months ago and returned it after trying to use it for a week. Trying to push the thing was killing me, and I could never figure out why it was so hard to push since my lawn is pretty smooth and flat.

I also tried adjusting the blades, and when it was nice and easy to push, the blades were too far apart and were not cutting anything, and adjusting the blades closer would make it impossible to push again. Not to mention catching a small chip of mulch would freeze the thing in its tracks.

Now I just "mow" my small lawn with a weedeater, which has been a much more pleasant experience.
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:24 PM
19,023 posts, read 22,910,966 times
Reputation: 7334
Originally Posted by brassbin View Post
i just got one from Lowe's for $99, doubt it has the self-sharpening feature, but it does have height adjusting, guess i have to experiment a bit before settling on a height, also i gather it should only mow over grass, anything else would either damage the blades or at least render it unoperable, got'ya, thanks also for the tip on doing it while the grass is dry

now i'm not a "mechanical" kind of guy, so all those waxing and storing sounds really alien to me, but i'll keep them in mind
Lets put it this way. If you allow any rust to get started it will ruin the mower. The reel type mowers are an art in and of themselves. The people who still bother with them are lawn artists. Sone people just get the trill of living from a detailed lawn, and for all I know you could be one.

That means every day you will mow a section a few feet, and fuss and priss over the lawn, then spend a hour cleaning the mower, oil it, and fiddle around to perfect the cut mechanically.

I'ld say you bought the wrong mower for you.

Ya see I USED to shapren these for land scapers who towed them with tractors for RICH people, and these reels were 4 feet long, and several reels could be towed about off set and cit a swath some 16 feet wode in a pass.

Then the RICH would get down on their kness and check many blades of grass to be certain each blade of grass was cut, not beat, not frizzed, mashed, and anything else for that true sheared cut, which is a straight edge at the cut.

Now i am no wheres near that fussy about something I can't eat, and can't use. Bit you could be and if you are that's fine by me. Everyone has their thing. My thing is nicer flintlocks guns, high carbon hand forged blades and knives, and motorcycles with nice paint. I get pretty fussy over that type of thing.
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:26 PM
Location: State of Jefferson coast
963 posts, read 2,683,948 times
Reputation: 1297
As with a lot of tools, cheap plastic-wheeled and steel tubing versions made in China have sullied the reputation of this once pleasurable-to-use implement. If you can find a wooden-handled one at a garage sale with good quality steel blades that was made before 1970 or so and that isn't worn out, I would consider it provided you're willing to give it the prescribed care. Other than that, you can't buy a decent one these days.
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:48 PM
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,986 posts, read 7,932,037 times
Reputation: 4734
I have a reel mower. I have an antique one, but my mom borrowed it. So, I bought one of those $99 ones from Lowe's, too. I don't take care of it like I should, and have never had it sharpened in the 5+/- years I've had it. (There is a local shop - Youngstown Grinding Services - that can still sharpen one, though.) Having written all of that, it still seems to do the job. I'm not a lawn perfectionist, as described above, so it's possible I'm torturing my grass. But, as long as it's green, (and short) I'm happy.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:38 AM
Location: Philaburbia
33,136 posts, read 62,030,875 times
Reputation: 55626
Originally Posted by brassbin View Post
so far,

1) don't let the grass grow too tall
2) keep the blades clean
3) don't damage the blades

make sense, thanks a bunch! keep them coming...
4) Don't plant zoysia. My reel mower, at least, couldn't cut through it.
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:09 AM
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
34,907 posts, read 44,457,682 times
Reputation: 45114
The self sharpening feature on mine has me reversing a cam. The cutter bar then hones the blades. I've done it each year (4) and it works.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:25 AM
19,023 posts, read 22,910,966 times
Reputation: 7334
i was wondering how the self sharpening feature worked. I can sort of see that idea do it.
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