Abington, Mass.: “Just asking out there—Our crew has been trying to argue with us about the fact that we sharpen our mower blades each morning before the crew takes them out. We have always done so 20-plus years now. We run Walker mowers and 52-inch walk-behinds. They believe it is more cost-effective to just replace new blades after a couple of weeks. We know that a sharp blade cuts the grass properly. Just looking for feedback as to a percentage of daily blade sharpeners to others who just replace when they get dull.”
Salem, N.H.: “Do what has worked for you for 20 years … sounds like the ‘crew’ is getting lazy about your morning sharpening ritual.
“What’s happening to the quality of your cutting after the first week of mowing? Is it satisfactory to you to let the cut quality suffer until new blades are mounted?”
Indiana: “Daily might be a bit much, but it depends on what your cutting. Right now, I’m at three days. Spring and fall every other day. I keep the mowers on a rotation so I don’t have to do everything in one morning.
“I’d tell your crews so shut the he!! up and mow the grass. If they knew the best way to run a business, they wouldn’t work for you.”
Lutz, Fla.: “I can’t speak for the grass you have up where you are, but in Florida, changing blades each day does two things for me, in the summer at least: better cut appearance; saves time cutting the God-awful Bahia seedheads. Dull blades mean double/triple cutting.”
Chattanooga, Tenn.: “I think I agree with both of these … do what has worked for you for the last 20 years, to an extent … however, I also agree that everyday may be a bit of overkill!”
DFW, Texas: “I sharpen mine on the ZTRs every 25 hours. On the push mowers, roughly a couple months.”
Jerz: “By rights, they should be sharpened every eight hours they’re on the machine’s counter. Everyday is probably overkill, but buying new blades every time they get dull is a complete waste of money! What’s a gator these days? Fifteen bucks a pop times three a machine—that’s $40 to $45! Sharpen yourself—they’ll probably last a season if not longer.”
The United States: “How many guys do you have sharpening in the a.m.? How many blades are being sharpened? What brand and type of blade? What are you using to sharpen? How many guys are standing around when this takes place? How long is this daily procedure? How many sharpenings are you getting before replacement? What are you paying for blades? With this info I could do a cost to benefit analysis/time study and determine for fact where this procedure lies with the bottom line. Without this info, I can tell you right now you will become more efficient and reduce overhead if you purchased enough blades to just do daily p.m., not a.m. blade exchanges, and have one guy just sharpen the coming week’s blades at one time at the end of the week and eliminate the daily a.m. sharpening, coffee and grab-ass.”
Monterey, Calif.: “In the past, I would just have extra blades to change every morning or every other day. During the day I would just sharpen and balance each blade for the week. I would also wash the underside of the mowers. You never what you will transfer to the next customer’s lawn. Also, spray bleach mixed with water on your trimmers. Kills blight.”
Freehold, N.J.: We have a few sets of blades per machine, this way we cut down on labor. They can change blades while working, and I will sharpen them every month or so when they are down to one last set. I’d never pay my guys to sharpen blades every day. That would end up costing me too much time and money.”
Navarre, Fla.: “It all depends on your location and the type of lawn you are cutting. I replace/sharpen my blades after two hours of mowing because of the very sandy soil I cut. It is not even an option for me as the blades will not cut the Bahia straws when dull. There is a mower blades-dedicated professional belt grinder which can sharpen your blade in a few seconds. It is the best system I know. If you have to sharpen your blades every morning, I suggest you look into it. That should save you a bunch of time and money. I think sharp blades are the way to go, they make the lawn healthier over time than cutting with dull ones.”
Ft. Worth, Texas: “Once or twice a week is good for me!”
Connecticut: “You can sharpen blades more than once before they need to be replaced. Sounds like your crew doesn’t feel like doing this particular task each morning.”
“In Your Own Words” is contributed from the lawn care and landscape forum at www.lawnsite.com . Visit them, and join in the discussions.