Soooo, I was not one of those kids who had to mow his lawn when I grew up. Lucky me right? Now that I am 40(ish) years wiser it dawned on me that this grass-chopper-thingy needs to be sharpened once in a while to do its job more effectively. Normally I cook, so digging around in my garage is a slightly new thing for me. This is not an exact "this is the best way to do it" type guide, but I think it's a good rough outline.
Watch the video if you swing that way, or keep on reading and view the pretty pictures instead. (your boss knows you aren't working, your ruse is fooling no one.)
Step 1: Still With Me? Good, Let's Get Things Rolling...er...chopping...
Flip the mower over. Be sure to leave the air filter pointing up. If you point the filter down you stand the chance of dumping all your mower move juice into the air filter and making it no workie.
Step 2: Unplug the Plug or You Will Die, by the Plug, Due to the Plug, With the Plug. ...plug.
Unplug the sparkplug wire. Neglecting to follow this step can lead to accidental decapitation of your little man hands, (or woman hands respectfully). How can this happen you ask?
You know when your manual 1973 Volkswagon bug won't start and you have to push it and pop the clutch and it magically starts? That's called jump starting and this is what your lawnmower can do with as little as one blade turn.
Are you scratching your head about the words "clutch" or "manual" or even "1973"? Stop what you are doing and go get an adult to help.
(It's a sad truth that Millenials can't get their hands dirty. It makes their beards fall out. Do your part for society, give to the United Millenials Fund. Don't force your little angels to do work, they are not capable. Your money will go towards an ironic t-shirt that proves that you showed your support, minus the work.)
Step 3: Scrape Ya Goop
While you are under the lawn haircut machine, scrape off all the old crap under there. Odds are you have years of leftover lawn crud jammed up in there and now is your chance to get a clean start.
I started with a screwdriver and moved up to a chunk of angle iron to speed things up.
I scraped a good 3-4 pound of dead grass bodies off my old mower and in turn made it much lighter and easier to push.
Step 4: Unhand Me!
Now, loosen ye old bolt. Sometimes it's on pretty tight, but if you grab the blade with your gloved hand you should be able to muscle it off. Remember, righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.
Step 5: Mark It, or Run the Chance of Forgetting.
Mark the blade before you take it off. If you put it back on upside down you won't be mowing your lawn when you put it all back together, you will just be giving it a blow dry.
Step 6: Get Yourself Something to Grind On.
This could mean a lot of things, but stay away from "da club". I'm referring to strapping a belt sander to your workbench.
I'm using these mega cheap Tekton clamps for the strapping, but any will do of course. http://amzn.to/2fvARKv
My belt sander is another mega cheap item I use all the time. It's a plain old Black and Decker and it's maybe 50$. http://amzn.to/2g2PcSS I even sharpen my kitchen knives using this.
Step 7: Now, Start Grinding
Hold the blade at a 45 degree and apply gentle pressure.
Remember, too much will bog everything down, too little will just be useless. (if I had a quarter for all the times I heard that)
Step 8: Quench As Needed
No, not you, quench your blade. If it gets too hot it will lose its temper and slap you around at night and send you to bed without dinner.
What are we talking about again?
Step 9: Ok, It's Sharper.
Make the blade sharp, but don't try to cut your moustache hairs off with this ladies. You don't need the blade so sharp you can cut cans and tomatoes with laser accuracy, you just want a nice edge. Once the big pits are gone you should be good to go. If you take off too much material the blade will go out of balance and be totally useless.
Step 10: Lube That Hole People
Squirt some WD-40 in the bolt hole before re-assembling. This will keep things from seizing up on your for future disassembly.
*edit, don't use WD40
Step 11: Now Watch the Video Backwards and Re-assemble Your Mower.
Tighten the bolt up until it is snug. Don't go too tight, but don't go too loose. Nobody likes loose hardware.
Step 12: Make Like an Air Freshener and Plug It in Plug It In.
Invariably you will forget to plug in your spark plug and stand in the front yard cranking away until your arm falls off. Plug it in now so you don't have to suffer that embarrassment like I did.
Step 13: Now, Take Your Little Toothpick Legs Outside and Mow.
Your grass heads will get cut off easy peasy, worms will be dead in one quick swoop, bugs will be turned into chum, all lickety split, due to your sharp new blade. Now go out and conquer your yard you weekend warrior!
Like my guides? You might like my videos too on YouTube.