Rebuilding Grass Shears

Introduction: Rebuilding Grass Shears

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

My wife has used our grass shears for many years. Finally, the upper cast handle broke near the action. I wanted to see if I could make steel parts to replace the cheap castings. The first photo shows my revised version complete and ready to use.


  • 3/4 inch angle iron
  • 1/2 inch steel rod
  • 3/8 inch steel rod
  • 1/4 inch steel rod
  • 3/16 inch steel rod
  • 3/8 inch bar steel
  • 1/4 inch bar steel
  • 1/8 inch bar steel
  • 1/4 inch machine screws and nuts


  • Grinder
  • Vise
  • Spring clamps
  • Flux core wire feed welder
  • Drill press and bits

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Step 1: The Lower Handle

I considered replacing only the upper handle with its casting, but realized the surest course would be to make steel substitutes for both the upper and the lower handles.

The first photo shows the lower handle pieces laid up ready to be welded. I chamfered the area where the weld is placed for a really solid weld.

I ground the weld bead flat and flush on both sides. I drilled holes to replicate the original lower handle. One is 3/16 inch in diameter. The other is 1/4 inch in diameter.

Step 2: Begin the Upper Handle Assembly

I used some 3/4 inch angle iron and some 1/8 inch bar stock to begin the upper handle assembly.

I am setting up for the welds with some aluminum angle. I used spring clamps to place a piece of 1/8 x 1/2 inch strap iron vertically and clamped the angle iron to the strap iron to hold it until I could tack weld the angle to the piece of bar stock to which the blades will be attached. After tack welding, I completed the full welds. Space is a premium and the weld beads could get in the way of 1/4 inch screws I will use to attach the blades.

Step 3: Mount the Blades to the Upper Handle Assembly

Grind the heads from all rivets on the old shears. Drive the rivets from their holes. Disassemble the parts.

I clamped the unfinished upper handle assembly to the blade assembly and used a drill to mark the center of the first hole. Then I moved to a drill press for more efficient drilling.

With the first hole drilled, I inserted a 1/4 inch bolt and tightened a nut. Then I marked the center of the second hole and drilled it on a drill press. I inserted a second bolt and tightened a nut on it.

Step 4: Drill for the Lower Handle Axle

The axle for the lower handle is 3/16 inch in diameter. It is helpful to use the old parts as aids for test fitting the parts.

See the second photo. I inserted a 3/16 inch rod through the hole in the upper handle and the lower handle. In the photo the 3/16 inch rod has not been cut yet and it runs vertically from the bottom of the photo.

Step 5: Weld the Upper Handle

I placed a spacer between the angle iron and the 3/8 inch rod for the upper handle. I welded the upper handle above and below the 3/8 inch rod. The view in the photo is from above the handle.

The second graphic shows a Google SketchUp drawing that gives a perspective drawing for the upper handle assembly.

Step 6: Finish

After the parts for the shears were assembled, the shears opened fully, but did not close fully. I had to grind on the face marked in the photo with red. I had to file the bottom of the elongated hole to make it still longer. And, I had to bend both handles a little so they would not come in contact with one another before the blades close fully. When I had done these three things, the blades close fully, and the action is smooth as if new.

I also welded short pieces of rod to the inner side of the handles to keep the return spring in place. See the second photo.

I ground away all sharp and rough spots. I will get some plastic or rubber hose to slip onto the handles for better gripping and reduced chance of slippage in the hands.

The original shears included a feature to lock the blades together. My revised version does not have that feature. I could add something to slip over the blades to hold them together.

There was some personal satisfaction in completing this project. But, it took much more time than it is worth. From the perspective of simple economics, it would have made more sense simply to buy a new grass shears.

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    6 Discussions


    A cutoff finger from an old leather glove may serve as a sheath & lock for the blades, nice work Phil!

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    If you have ever installed a lighting fixture, you have seen the slotted strip of steel that screws to the electrical box and hangs the fixture from a threaded tube or from screws. I had one of those I did not need and bent it to go around the closed blades. Then I taped a small hard drive magnet to it. When the shears are in use, this closer sticks to the side of the angle iron so it does not become lost.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Sounds like you've got it all figured out, good for you, nice 'ible too.

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    That would work. I do not have any old gloves. I have some sheet metal about 20 gauge. I am thinking of bending a wide strip to fit loosely around the blades and gently welding the ends of the band together. It needs to be something that does not easily disappear into the grass. Thank you for looking and for commenting.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice Phil! It's always great to see fixes like this. Thank you.

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. I did not take breaks, nor did I stop and scratch my head to decide what to do next. But, time for making sure everything fit and worked at the end took just about all afternoon. Thank you for looking and for commenting.