Reel Mower Maintenance

Reel Mower Maintenance

If you’re a gardener who prefers the traditional reel mower, you already know that they’re a lot easier to care for and a lot less maintenance than gas-powered mowers. However, that’s not to say you don’t still need to give them a bit of love from time to time to ensure they’re doing the best job possible while cutting your lawn.

Reel mowers are great for those who prefer less environmental damage, as gas-powered motors are responsible for up to 5% of greenhouse gases produced in the United States. Not only are they better for the environment but they’re better for your grass too, and will leave it healthier and lusher than ever before.


There isn’t much to know about reel mower repair and as long as you regularly maintain your mower and treat it with care, you probably will find that it doesn’t require repairing much at all. When you do need to repair it though, this guide can show you basic reel mower blade maintenance and some of the most common problems you’ll come across.

How To Sharpen A Reel Mower

Sharpening your reel mower blades should be done every couple of months, but if you live in a humid or moist area you might want to do it more often than this. Your mower should be on the bench to start with so that it’s easier and safer to work with, and there’s no need for a lawnmower blade sharpener if you don’t have one.

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    Use a flat sharpening stone or fine flat file and remove any burrs from both the cutter bar and blade.
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    Put a grinding paste on the cutting edges and then rotate the reel backward for around 10 minutes to sharpen.
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    Once completely sharp, remove the excess grinding paste with a cloth.
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    Take the mower down and test the blade by putting a piece of newspaper between the cutter bar and reel, then rotating the reel to see that it cuts smoothly.
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    If you find that the blade isn’t sharp enough, make some adjustments and reapply the grinding paste to sharpen again. Test once it’s done to see that it cuts smoothly now.

The Best Way To Lubricate Your Reel Mower

There are a few different parts to your reel mower that all need to be working together smoothly in order to achieve a good mow of your lawn. After every few uses, you should give your lawn mower a bit of maintenance, including lubricating it.

Put your lawn mower up on the workbench and give it a good look over. If it looks as though the blades need to be sharpened, you can do this and refer to the steps above, however, there are other tasks you should do to keep it lubricated.

Remove any nuts, bolts, or pins that you find on the lawnmower and keep them in a small jar as not to lose them.

Reel Mower Maintenance

Take off the wheel covers and use grease to pack the gear lightly so that it’s covered.

Use compressed air to get any debris and grass clippings out of the blades and wheels so that it doesn’t cause any damage.

Once everything is clean and dry, spray the entire reel mower with WD-40 so that it’s well lubricated and then place it all back together.

Common Reel Mower Problems

Although owning a reel mower is a lot easier than dealing with a gas or electric powered motor, there are still some problems that can occur from time to time. However, because these handy tools don’t come with an engine it’s relatively easy to troubleshoot any problem that happens, provided you are working smartly and safely.


Many older models of reel mowers come with a wooden handle, and while this can be more comfortable for some you might find after years of use that you begin to get splinters. You can usually have these covered with a thicker and ergonomic rubber or have the entire handle replaced to something more comfortable.

Grass Cutting Unevenly

After mowing you might see that the grass looks uneven, and if this is the case you’ll have to take a closer look. It’s possible that the mower blade is bent, so you might need to reshape it by lightly tapping it. Otherwise, you can adjust the rollers by finding the nut at the end of the roller shaft.

Reel Mower Maintenance pic

Grass Tearing And Not Cutting

Sometimes you’ll find the grass doesn’t cut but rather tears, and this is usually due to the blade needing sharpening. If you don’t feel it’s doing a sharp cut you can do a test with a piece of newspaper.

Whenever working on your reel mower, it’s best to keep covered with thick and heavy-duty gloves. This will ensure you don’t get injured by the blade as these can be extremely sharp. As always, exercise your best judgment and don’t do anything hazardous when working with your reel mower.

Caring For Your Most Trusted Gardening Tool

Nothing cuts your lawn quite like a reel mower, and those who use them are usually lifelong fans that never go back to a gas or electric mower. One of the biggest benefits to this type of lawn mower is that they require only a little maintenance and care, so they’re great for people who don’t have a lot of time on their hands.

Considering how much use our lawn mowers get, it makes sense to put in regular maintenance to keep them running at their best. When our lawn mowers have sharp blades and in are in top condition, they can help us to achieve the best yard in the neighborhood and with just a little bit of work.


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