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Kirk Engines, Inc Cub Cadet Used Parts CADET CONNECTION Cub Cadet Specialties Cub Cadet Specialties

Sharpening Mower Blades

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sshaff

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Steve Shaff
Just wondering about others thoughts on the replacement of mower blades vs sharpening? Being the perfectionist I am, I've always been inclined to replace blades rather than sharpen them, and I'll be making this decision again next spring... the blades on my Cub 100 pin-on deck now have two seasons on them and have never been sharpened. I'll probably end up replacing them since I have several new sets already on hand, but I'm wondering how others obtain perfect (or near perfect) results when sharpening? (To me, this means a balanced blade with a beveled cutting edge that is not only sharp, but perfectly flat over its entire surface, as on a brand new blade.)
 

sblunier

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Steve Blunier "Mr. Plow" (Central IL)
Hit them with a flap wheel on an angle grinder or on the belt sander...balance on a nail if so inclined and keep on mowing season after season after season.....

These decks are tough, much more so than the crank on a vertical shaft push mower......a less than perfect balance won't hurt anything.

AND....if sharpened OFTEN, they stay straight, true, square, etc. Just take a little off with the flap wheel and go back to mowing.
 

sshaff

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Steve Shaff
Steve B: Yes, I've known these mower blades are capable of a very long lifespan if well maintained (much longer than I let mine go). I consider a well sharpened blade as a kind of "work of art"... though I'm not sure too many others share this perspective
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. Although precision sharpening and balancing is probably not absolutely necessary, I've been impressed by the quality workmanship that some shops achieve and wonder if specialized techniques or tools are sometimes used for achieving top notch results.
 

digger

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I bought this a few years ago and it's great!
3 to 5 seconds on each edge and your off and mowing.
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wshytle

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Wayne Shytle
I've used a right angle grinder with the blade in a vise and a nail like Steve B. mentioned for years. After you've done a couple hundred or so it's sort of second nature and the resharpened blade cuts just like a new one. I've seen it mentioned in manuals that when you get within 3/8" of the upturned wing of the blade it's time to replace with new. I tend to take it to the wing in most cases and they still cut well. Growing up my father and I used a 6" grinding wheel (with the nail too) and it took forever to get one sharpened.

Charlie-

How many "days" do you have grass cutting season? We have about 8 or 9 months down here. And does that machine rebevel the blade?

I've never seen a man with so many toys for every occasion.
 

sshaff

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Steve Shaff
Charlie: Is that grinder specifically designed for blade sharpening? If so, would you post a close-up pic of a sharpened blade?
 

jchamberlin

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Steve: I sharpen my blades like I learned to sharpen an axe in my old Boy Scout Manual, only I use a 4" angle grinder like Wayne to do most of the material removal.

The traditional method of sharpening an axe are:

1. File at right angles to the edge to remove all nicks.

2. Shape edge with file at angle best suited to task, the steeper the angle (30 degrees), the longer the edge will hold; a more acute angle (15 degrees) may result in a sharper blade.

3. Hone with stones, progressing from rough to fine grit.

I modify these instructions for mower blades by first, working on only one side of the blade (after removing the nicks), and second, use the aforementioned angle grinder for most of the material removal, although I still finish with a file to get the final edge. I try to maintain the same angle I find on a new blade. If I'm in the mood, I might get a stone out to really give it an edge, but most of the time I don't bother. I try to always have a sharpened set ready to put on should the need arise.

I balance mine (before & after) on the little balancing cones you can purchase at most any store that carries lawn mower parts. I've seen Wayne's post about the nail, but I'm not exactly sure how it works, I guess you check to see if it will stay horizontal. I haven't had much trouble balancing the Cub Cadet blades, they are so thick that removing a few nicks doesn't affect their total mass very much.

Your approach of using new blades only is recommended for the ultra-premium blades still available from MTD for some Cub Cadet decks. The dealer tells me that the high-end blades have a special treatment that "lasts forever" as long as the only thing the blade encounters is grass, but it doesn't survive chips and nicks from stones and such, and the hardness is removed as soon as it is sharpened for the first time. The blades are expensive, so I typically avoid them.

The guys are right, sharpening blades is not that hard, especially if you keep after it. Many guys here follow the manual's instructions and get a file on them every 10 cuts or so. They really need to be sharpened at least once (if not twice or three times) during the mowing season. I plan to shoot for once-a-month next year.
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sshaff

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Steve Shaff
Jeremiah and others: Just for the heck of it, I decided to try sharpening with a hand file on one side of each blade while keeping the original angle. It took quite awhile but they turned out well...I wasn't able to do much about the worn rounded corners on the longer center blade, but I'll use them again at least one more season.
 

digger

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Steve S.
Yepper it sure is.
I have not used it since I moved up north, but I'll dig it out and sharpen a blade for ya.
 

aschumacher

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Allen Schumacher
So thats how they they make all that neat grill work!
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thoffman

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Tom Hoffman
If you're going to "pee" with the big dogs you gotta' have the tools.
 

sblunier

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Steve Blunier "Mr. Plow" (Central IL)
Dad has one of those machines as well...and they are very slick.....hollow ground edges and all!!!
 

mlamar

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Mike LaMar
Richard
Great video, wish I had a shop full of those machines. They make it look simple. Thanks for sharing
 

wshytle

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Charlie-

I thought you were going to get that sharpening machine out and show us pics of what it does. It seems the appropriate time now with the grass cutting season.

A video would be even better!
 

digger

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Wayne S.
It's one of those projects I'm working on, LOL
 

sshaff

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Steve Shaff
Charlie P, Do you still have your machine for this? How about a few pics showing what it'll do?
happy.gif
 

digger

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Steve S.
Yep, it's just to the left of that 6 door cabinet.
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sshaff

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Steve Shaff
Charlie-- Darn, I wondered if it might have been a casualty. Oh well
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digger

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EVERYTHING became a casualty!
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