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How to Safely Care for Mower Blades

by Marcia Passos Duffy, All About Lawns Columnist

Your lawn mower--and you--work hard all season long to maintain your yard's turf. But did you know that if you haven't had the blades sharpened you could be doing more harm than good?

Mower blades that have been damaged or dulled by use tend to rip the grass instead of giving it a clean cut. This tearing makes the grass highly susceptible to disease.

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Your lawn mower blades should be sharpened twice a year, and that includes electric lawn mower blades. This is an easy DIY project. Before starting, though, you must take some lawn mower safety precautions.

Disable Your Lawn Mower First

If you are using a gas-powered mower, drain the gas. Disconnect the spark plugs for added safety. If you have a plug-in mower, make sure it is unplugged. For battery mowers, remove the battery.

Use Gloves and Goggles

Use heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands and safety goggles to protect your eyes. Put a block of wood between the blade and the underside of the mower and use a wrench to remove the blade.

Sharpen the Blade Properly

Clean grass and soil off the mower blades. Clamp the blade to a bench vice to sharpen if using a hand file. If you are using a grinder wheel, make sure you don't take off too much metal or you can damage the blade. After you've finished sharpening, use fine machine oil on the entire blade.

Make Sure the Blades Are Balanced

Your mower blade must be balanced after it's been sharpened in order to work properly. Balance it on your finger, or use an inexpensive blade balancing tool available at your hardware or home improvement store.

About the Author

Marcia Passos Duffy writes frequently about agriculture, lawncare and gardening. She is a member of the Garden Writers Association. Visit her website at www.backporchpublishing.com

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