Trouble with lawnmower, or just bad time to cut grass?

I have started  mowing lawns again this month and found that  my mower appears to be making a mess of peoples turf.

I know its not the ideal time as the ground is still a bit damp, but should I really be digging up this much mud with my mower? It makes good lawns look worse  than before.

Is it the quality of my mower or should that not make a difference?


This is the mower I use


Here are pictures of the grass after one swipe.




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    • PRO

      Respectfully disagree- I say make it as sharp as possible. Grass isn't going to bend it over. Just don't put too much heat into it. The best thing for sharpening is a carbide sanding disc, about 60 grit, on a firm backing pad on an angle grinder. They cut cool and fast as the abrasive is self sharpening. You can even follow 'step up' mulching type blades accurately. Put a fairly acute angle on it, but get the edge as sharp as possible.

      I'd agree that if you keep trying to file it down you might end up with a burr, but professsional sharpening tools as described above mean this is not an issue.

      I'd put my money upon the blade being totally blunt, or on backwards. Where in the UK are you? Someone on here might be close enough to have a look.

  • PRO

    Unlike a brush cutter blade, a mower blade should not be hitting unseen stones, twigs and general rubbish, so should be able to keep a sharper edge as Ben said.

    But unlike chainsaw chains and woodworking tools the blade on this mower isn’t going to have the flat side of the steel blade harden or plated to present a sharp edge, whilst the beveled side is soft steel to allow easy filing or grinding and to avoid the blade shattering if it hits something solid. The whole of the blade will almost certainly be soft steel.

    Over a season if you take everything that needs sharpening to a tool dealer or saw doctor, it will run up quite a bill as well as costing you time and traveling.


  • PRO

    I would say the blade on this machine is about as sharp as a babies plastic knife, the holes left will be from the blunt blade whacking the grass and ripping at it sometimes pulling up the odd chunk from softer rootzone.

    1000% get this blade off and sharpen it, keep in mind that if its a cheep mower it will be a cheep blade as well and this means it will mostly be a thin only just hardened cutting edge.

    when sharpeneing blades DO NOT use an angle grinder as this will heat the blade up removing the temper and you will have a dull to blunt blade in a few passes, use either a slow grinding stone or a flat file, if using a power tool leave a second or 2 between each pass and have a bucket of old oil by the side to cool down the blade which will help stop the softenening of it.

    also ensure the blade has intact wings on it which are used to create air flow and will give you the collection.

    also make sure the deck of the machine is 100% clean as this will effect the performance of any machine.

    last but not least make sure you grade your cuts on first cuts for the season this might take double the passes but will prevent overworking the machine and ripping at the grass which will give a much better finish





    • Not so sure about the hardening.. Andrew said, nearly all, if not all blades are just mild steel...............  you can prove this by just runnig a file over them and you can see how easy the metal comes off. I've always used an angle grinder............. only takes a couple of minutes....... and the blades have always performed fine. As they're not hardened,  heating them up really doesn't make any obvious difference. Most heavy duty mowers have quite thick metal, they absorb the heat very quickly and don't get that hot anyway.


    • PRO

      I covered not heating the blade up in my post. A file would be a touch slow for most! A slow grinding whetstone has two problems- again, too slow again for a mower and impossible to follow curves accurately.

      There's a lot of science to abrasive technology, which I have a fair handle upon given my fabrication skills. If you read my post again properly you will see exactly what I reccomend for sharpening blades and more importantly why. I'd agree that nothing wrecks a blade like an amateur with an angle grinder and a solid disc, but an angle grinder with the right disc is incredible.

      What OP needs is a semi flexible sanding disc. A flap disc would do, but they clog too quickly for me. Main thing is they cut colder (due to the abrasive being less tightly bonded than the solid discs, carbide ones fracture into new sharp edges too which is why they are so good) and they are easibly controlled with a 'soft' edge to follow mower blade curves.

      The difference between sanding and grinding? Just the SFM (surface feet per minute) :-)

      • PRO

        I feel Rob has to weigh the cost up if he has to invest in any materials or machiery to sharpen the blade himself as opposed to taking the blade off himself as Andrew suggested by first disconnecting the spark plug and taking it to a dealer or somewhere to get the blade sharpened . 

        Looking at the cost to hire a machine by my calculation you will save yourself £167 a month if you can keep this machine going for a while , Also will the hire company require a refundable deposit up front ? 


  • PRO

     I've not got the mowers out yet this year which is later than normal as the ground is too soft. I've strimmed a couple of smaller lawn that were tufty to tidy them up. Walk on the lawn if it feels squishy underfoot don't mow.

    • Knowing what was coming this weekend, I spiked and 'topped' a largish (1500sqm) lawn yesterday that is used for wedding ceremonies and receptions - the first one is in 4 weeks, so we need some dry soon!! 

      Going back to Robs post, we had to fence off an area of 200 sq m that was under repair(where the marquees go) and it was a mix of new, seeded grass and existing which was tufty and hadn't been cut since mid Oct. Even with newly sharpened blades on a high cut, it was noticable how tough the old grass was.

  • At this time of year a moss treatment and scarification would be more beneficial than cutting the grass!

    as others say I’d be looking at mower height and blade to resolve the finish

  • Hi Rob. As others have said, check the blade isn't blunt, upside down or cutting height too low. 

    I haven't been able to cut any grass this year due to wet weather - much different to last year and now more snow to make things worse.

    im afraid we've all forgotten what real winters are really like but still we cannot change it.

    if you do sharpen your own blades, do a level check afterwards to make sure you've ground it evenly to avoid unbalancing it and damaging the drive. Just stick a screwdriver through the centre hole and if it dips one way or other, just take a bit more off the opposite edge to compensate. I've been doing my own blades with a small angle grinder for last two seasons like Ben and it saves quite a bit over the year plus you don't have to wait for the blade to come back though I've got spare blades for all my mowers.

    By the way, the Honda Izzy you were considering hiring is an excellent machine for the smaller gardens and is very good with wet grass. Just keep the bag clean. 

    Goos luck. Simon

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