Sharpening Your Lawn Mower Blade

February 7, 2012

Sharpening a Lawnmower BladeIt's easy to spot dull or damaged lawn mower blades. Instead of cutting the grass cleanly, they rip it-leaving your lawn looking brown and ragged, and even worse, more susceptible to disease. Lawn mower blades should be carefully inspected for damage every couple of weeks during the mowing season (after approximately 15 hours of use), and again before putting your machine away for the winter.


If upon inspection the blade appears severely damaged (bent, badly chipped, or curled), consider replacing it completely, or taking it to a professional to see if it can be restored to a new condition. If the blade is in reasonably good shape, but just needs sharpening, you can easily do the job yourself using either a hand file or bench grinder.

Still the Engine

Before doing any maintenance work on your lawn mower, including inspecting the blade, it's important to still the engine. Start by pulling the cable off of the spark plug to prevent accidentally starting the engine. Depending on the model, the spark plug may be hidden inside the housing (consult your owner's manual). If you have an electric-start mower, remove the battery from the machine. Before turning a gas mower on its side, you may also want to empty the gas tank using a siphon hose. This should be done away from the grass and in a well-ventilated area. Remove the gas cap, inserting one end of the siphon hose into the tank all the way to the bottom, and the other end into a gas can. Pump the siphon bulb until the gas flows through the tube, and drain the tank completely.

Remove the Blade

Even if you decide to have your lawn mower blades sharpened professionally, you can still save money by removing them and taking them to a shop yourself, rather than taking in your entire machine. To service the blades, rest your lawn mower on its side. Hold one end of the blade with a gloved hand, or wedge a block of wood between the blade and the mower deck to keep the blade from turning. Use an adjustable wrench or a socket wrench to loosen the nut (or nuts) securing the blade to the main part of the mower. Remove the blade. Be sure to keep all nuts, washers, and other parts safely contained and in the correct sequence for reattachment. Scrape off any accumulated grass clippings on the blade and from under the mower deck using a putty knife and wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

Sharpen the Blade


Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

March 30, 2010

How do you sharpen the blades on a riding mower?

Hardiness Zone: 7a

By linda dalfonzo from Catonsville, MD


March 31, 20100 found this helpful

Well, for the blades on my riding mower, I remove them and sharpen them with a sanding disc on my electric drill. You could remove them and see if your local small engine shop will sharpen them for you.

April 2, 20100 found this helpful

You must remove the deck first unless somehow you can get under the deck without killing yourself...No, never mind, remove the deck first.

Remove the blades. A bench grinder will give you a sharp edge but a flat circular hand grinder will be better able to maintain that perfect cut angle.

December 17, 20110 found this helpful

Remember, you have to make sure they are balanced before you put them back on.

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