Reel Mower Sharpening

Back Lap Your Greens Mower for a Nice Clean Cut.

Back lapping consists of rotating the mower reel backward with an abrasive sharpening compound applied to grind new surfaces on the blades and bed knife. As this progresses various grits are applied and the bed knife is slowly tightened, closing the gap between it and the blades, as the abrasive and metal surfaces wear down. Back lapping takes off the rounded edges, scratches and gouges that contribute to a dull cut.

The whole process takes 15 to 20 minutes. Here's a few simple steps to follow.

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Inspect the blades and bed knife first to see exactly what condition they are in. Use a gizmo to spin the reel backwards.  If you don't have one try a variable speed drill and a friend. Apply sharpening compound as the reel spins backwards. A sheet of cardboard makes clean up easier. Brush 80 mesh  compound  on for the first several minutes, then switch to 120 mesh.
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Spread it evenly across all the blades Give it several thick coatings as it sharpens. Adjust the bed knife as the abrasive wears in. When done you'll see a nice sharp edge.
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Wash all the abrasive compound off the reel as it spins. Adjust the bed knife until the blades cut a piece of paper. Compare the sharp blades to what they used to look like.