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Anyone who prefers to keep the lawn trimmed without baking themselves in the sun would get a lawn mower. Lawn mowers are wonderful pieces of engineering that make maintaining a simple lawn so easy, once you work up the energy to do it. Of course, you could also get a robotic lawn mower and take all the effort out of it.
If the engine of the lawn mower is its heart, then the lawn mower blades are its arms and hands. Without the blades, the lawn mower is just a simple motor. As such, one needs to pay attention to these blades, or risk serious injury in the worst case.
Lawn Mower Blades Do Get Dull
Grass is actually pretty tough. Try picking up a single blade and you will notice how much strength it takes to snap it off. Now imagine how a lawn mower blade needs to travel through several hundred blades of grass several thousand times, every time you mow the lawn. You can be sure that the lawn mower blades would lose their edge, in addition to becoming more unstable in their mountings due to the physical forces involved.
One option is to sharpen your lawn mower blades. Rotary lawn mowers are easier to maintain in terms of sharpening, while those who own cylinder or reel lawn mowers may have it tougher. There are right ways and wrong ways to sharpen these blades.
Do not attempt to change the angle of the blade, and always
grind it to match the original bevel. Don’t forget to deburr the edge, or else the blade might not cut properly. Worse, the burrs may peel off during high-speed rotation, becoming rather nasty pieces of shrapnel.
The other, certainly easier, option is to replace the blades on your lawn mower. Even those who sharpen their lawn mower blades will need to replace them eventually, as too much sharpening can reduce the strength of the blade and make them susceptible to catastrophic failure.
If you are going to replacement blades, make sure to get blades that are produced according to the factory specifications of your particular make and model of lawn mower. As much as possible, do not use universal lawn mower blades. User feedback on these blades has been pretty negative. They may indeed be sharp enough, but they are also infamous for not being properly mountable, despite being “universal”.
Remember that any looseness in the mounting translates into excess vibratory stress, meaning a greater chance for catastrophic failure, or at the very least reducing the usable life span of the blades.
Precautions -A Lawn Mower Can Be Dangerous
Aside from watching out for the blades, you need to be careful and guard against the debris that they may pick up and throw out. These blades spin at terrifying speeds and even the smallest pebble can be kicked up and flung with much force. Even sand can sting and scrape when flung by a lawn mower blade.
Lawn mower blades also have a tendency to pick up loose debris because of the air flows caused by the blades in motion. It is recommended that the person mowing the lawn wear adequate foot and leg protection, and that the lawn is clear of any other people. Of course, one should also clear the lawn of any loose hard debris.
Petrol or diesel-driven lawn mowers can produce significant amounts of carbon-rich exhaust, so never run them in enclosed spaces. Additionally, they are also rather noisy, so the person using them should wear ear protection and also be prepared to deal with any irate neighbours complaining about the noise. Corded and cordless electric lawnmowers produce almost no carbon emissions of their own, and also tend to be quieter than their fuel-powered counterparts.
You should check your lawn mower blades before and after every use. Not only should you clean them, you should also check for cracks, chips, and nicks, as well as ascertaining that they are firmly mounted. A little extra effort and safety-mindedness can prevent injuries.