Picture of Sharpen a push reel mower
Easier than it looks -- in fact looking at the pictures I am having trouble figuring out exactly what I did.... however it did work, so here we go!

Here is a video of the mower cutting grass once it is all sharp.


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Step 1: Basics

A push reel mower is like scissors, except one blade is fixed and the other blade is on a reel.  

The blades make a spiral so they are only cutting in one small spot at a time.

Here are the basic steps:
  1. Make it so the blades rotate the wrong way
  2. Put grinding compound on the blades, this makes the blades into there own sharpening stones
  3. Push the mower around until it is easy, this is called lapping (maybe reverse lapping...)
  4. Wash off the grinding compound
  5. Make the blades so they go the right way again
  6. Mow the lawn

Step 2: Take off the wheels

Picture of Take off the wheels

Step 3: Take out the gears

Picture of Take out the gears

Step 4: Swap the gears

Put the left gear on the right side and the right gear on the left side.

Now it will run backwards.

Step 5: Put the wheels back on

Picture of Put the wheels back on

Step 6: Adjust the fixed blade

Picture of Adjust the fixed blade
The blade that is fixed (not on the reel) can be positioned by adjusting two screws.

You want to make it so the fixed blade is touching the reel blades, so that it is hard to rotate the blades (but not impossible).

Step 7: Apply grinding compound

Picture of Apply grinding compound
Putting valve grinding compound on the blades makes them into their own sharpening stones.  The blades will sharpen each other, eventually they will both be sharp and fit together perfectly.

They have this at auto parts stores and on amazon: Valve Grinding Compound

Step 8: Push the mower backwards

Picture of Push the mower backwards
Pushing the mower backwards will now sharpen the blades.  Push the mower until it the reel is moving easily, then adjust the screws on the fixed blade so that it is is hard to push the mower.  Now push the mower until it is easy, again.  You want to repeat this until the blades are shiny all the way across.  

http://youtu.be/locDYNSIrKs Video:

Step 9: This is what it looks like sharp

Picture of This is what it looks like sharp
ccgeek2 days ago

cool! I bought a reel mower at a yard sale for $10 and was wondering how to sharpen it.

Dani651 month ago