How to Balance Lawn Mower Blades (Step By Step)
A lawnmower’s function is to trim the grass in your yard, making it a neat, pleasing appearance. The part of the mower that does the cutting is the blades which have to be well maintained. Blunt lawn mower blades will give the lawn an uneven trim, and unbalanced blades will cause the lawnmower to vibrate strangely. Knowing how to balance your blades will provide you with a neat, stress-free mowing process. Using your lawnmower for a long time will cause the edges to shift and wear over time, so knowing how to adjust the blades correctly is the knowledge you would need to apply occasionally.
To balance your lawnmower blades, you have to remove the blade, clean it and check for the imbalance, after which you sharpen till it balances. This article will explain this process in practical detail, including safety measures you need to observe when balancing the blades.
Why Should You Balance Lawn Mower Blades?
The blade is the part of the mower that does the job. The engine, the operator, and the mower’s design are to get the blade trimming the lawn. Therefore, a balanced and well-sharpened blade gives you a neatly cut lawn. The imbalance of the blade will result in an unevenly cut lawn, patches, and raggedy corners. The mower itself will have problems operating and, eventually, wear and tear quickly. An imbalanced blunt blade also makes mowing a chore for the person operating because it requires more effort to cut the grass.
Steps To Balancing Lawn Mower Blades
Many lawn mower users think maintaining the blades involves sharpening and cleaning alone, but achieving a good cut requires balanced blades. Follow these steps to balance your lawn mower’s blades properly and get cutting with ease!
Step 1 – Have your tools and equipment nearby
Step 2 – Safety measures
Step 3 – Remove the spark plug
Step 4 – Remove the blade
Step 5 – Clean off the dirt from the blade
Step 6 – Check for the imbalance
Step 7 – Sharpen the blades
Step 8 – Note the right side of the blade and reinstall
1 – Have your equipment ready
For ease of work, have the following tools near you so you can reach for them if a need arises:
- Safety goggles
- Steel brush
- Socket wrench
- Blade holder
- Protective gloves
- Grinder or file (for sharpening)
2 – Safety measures
- Put on safety gear like goggles and gloves.
- Only wear clothing that you would not mind staining
- Work on a flat surface free of slopes and rocks
- Only work on this when the engine is switched off and cool
- Wedge the blade with a piece of wood to prevent accidents
3 – Remove the spark plug
The first thing to do is switch off the engine and disconnect the spark plug to prevent sudden starting and accidents.
4 – Remove the blades
Tilt the mower sideways, letting the air filter and carburetor face upwards to prevent oil or fuel from getting into the air filter. Loosen the nut and bolt and remove the blade using a wrench.
5 – Clean the blade
Inspect the blade for any damage in case replacement is what is required. If not, use the steel brush to clean rust and debris from the edge.
6 – Check for imbalance
Here, you set your balance and place the blade on top using the hole in the middle. Some balances can be set on your workbench, a flat surface, or mounted on the wall. Observe how the blade sits on the balance. If one side tilts more than the other, that is the heavier side that needs to be evened out to match the lighter side.
7 – Sharpen the blade
With your sharpening tool (file, grinder, or stone), grate the heavier side of the lawnmower blade on it to lighten it out. File for a while, and keep checking for imbalance until the blade rests straight on the balance.
8 – Installing the blades
After sharpening the blades to get balance, note the right side of the blade; this is the side facing up and down. Use the steel brush to remove metal shavings, align it correctly, and screw it tightly with a wrench. Make sure it is tightly in place, then connect the spark plugs, and your lawnmower is ready!
Types Of Lawn Mower Blades
There are different types of lawnmower blades, each with its strengths and downsides. Choosing a lawnmower blade is based on the kind of cut you are looking to achieve, the type of grass to be cut, and the terrain and landmass.
The different types of lawnmower blades are:
This is also known as a medium-lift blade or a straight blade. This blade is standard, with a slight curving on both ends. It cuts with precision and cuts with ventilation. This type of blade is best for thick, dense patches of grass. It works well on both dry and damp grass. It is not advisable to use it on light patches of grass because it will cut unevenly and miss some spots.
Low Lift Blade
Low lift blades are designed to work on sandy soil because of their less curved blade than the standard blade type. It is perfect for sandy soil because it keeps dust low, not scattering it around. They require less power and last longer.
High Lift Blade
These blades allow maximum airflow and are easily identified by their vertical edges. It has high suction power with fast-moving blades. They are the perfect fit for tall grass, giving it a well-defined, neat trim. Its powerful suction reduces the tendency to clog up the chutes, making begging easy.
This type of blade is used to lay the soil with grass debris. They usually come as 3-in-1 blades, performing multiple functions. Mulching blades cut the grass finely and discharge them back into the ground. It is best for gardens because it finely cuts the grass to absorb nutrients better.
Gator blades are an improved version of mulching blades. It has maximum suction and acts as a secondary blade for cutting grass with precision. For best results, it can be incorporated into a mulching kit. A mulching kit will do the job of redistributing the well-cut grass back to the soil. Gator blades do a better job of giving an aesthetically pleasing lawn.
Alternatives Ways To Balance Your Lawn Mower Blade
If you wonder how to determine if your blade is balanced, but you do not own a balance, there are other ways to go about it.
Nail in wall method
What you need are a hammer and a nail. Drive the nail into the wall, and place the blade on it by the middle hole. Observe the heavier part from this mount and adjust it accordingly.
Hold a screwdriver upwards in your hand and place the blade on it. Watch for the side that tilts, which is the heavier one.
It would be best if you specifically had a needle nose plier for this method. Hold it up closed, with the nose through the blade’s center, and watch to get the heavier end.
Set an extension on a flat surface and position the blade perpendicularly. Make sure the extension is longer than the width of the blade. Roll the wing to make the edge balanced and observe whether the extension is in the exact center of the blade’s hole. If not, adjust the blade and keep checking till it is balanced.
A sharpened, properly balanced lawnmower blade is the key to a beautiful lawn, provided all other powering parts work well. Sharpening your lawnmower blades prolongs its life span and efficiency. However, dirt and rust can lower their quality and thickness over time. It is recommended that you replace your blades twice in two years, depending on how often you mow. When the blade starts to look raggedy, dull, and worn out, it is due for a replacement.