cylinder blades

Are Your Cylinder Blades Sharp Enough? (Homeowner)

Now is the time of year to put your mower to bed for the winter- most have already done it and some will keep mowing however, before you actually go ahead and do that, now is also a good time to take a look at your mower and check to see if the blades on your cylinder need sharpening ready for when you come to use it again in spring. So today we are going to be discussing just that. How to check if your blades are sharp, why is it so important and how you can go about resolving the issues if it’s there.

How Cylinders Work

This may be something that you already know but to understand why sharp blades are so important on a cylinder mower, it’s important to understand how the cylinders on your mower work. A cylinder mower is designed to cut the grass plant between two metal surfaces, very much like how a pair of scissors cuts paper. This is achieved by using the bottom blade which is on your cylinder cartridge and the blades which are on the cylinder itself. A cylinder cut is clean which is healthier for the plant. This is different to a machete like cut of a rotary mower that can tear the grass blade and breed disease leaving a yellow tinge. We have a great video here on cylinder v rotary to explain this in more detail. After using your cylinder mower over long periods of time and due to general wear and tear, you may begin to notice that your mower isn’t cutting as sharply and as smoothly as you’re used to or would like. This can cause the cylinder to tear the grass causing disease. One of the best ways to correct this issue is either through a process called back-lapping which helps you sharpen your blades yourself as a temporary measure or by taking your mower to your local Allett dealer at the end of each season (or two depending on usage). We have a great video here on how to back-lap your cylinder yourself.
Rotary Cut- Like a machete
Cylinder Cut- Like Scissors

Are Your Blades Sharp?

The most effective way to check if your blades require sharpening is to perform what is called the paper test. This is a test that can also be performed on brand new mowers to determine if the blades have been properly aligned during manufacturing. We set the cylinders at the end of the production line before the mower is boxed up. To perform the test all you need is several folded strips of standard printer paper. Think of the paper like a blade of grass and place the paper between the bottom blade and the cylinder blades. Rotate the cylinder with one hand to test all the blades on the cylinder and perform this test on each side of your mower- please wear gloves for safety. Rotate the reel down through all the cylinder blades moving the paper strip up as it cuts. If the paper doesn't cut as cleanly or as smoothly as you like, your blades could do with being sharpened. Check the cylinder all the way across. If its not cutting at one side and cutting at the other it may simply need an adjustment. Find a video here to help

Backlapping a Cylinder Mower

Backlapping is a temporary measure used on cylinders to sharpen cutting blades to help maintain an even finish when cutting your lawn. Although there are various sharpening techniques, one of the simplest methods is back-lapping the blades, resulting in reliably sharp blades with minimal risk of blade damage. We advise this as a temporary measure only until you can get your cylinder to a local Allett dealer who will sharpen your cylinder professionally with all the right tools and expertise. Find out how you can back-lap your cylinder blades with the help of our MD Austin Jarrett, as he demonstrates how to back-lap your blades for the best possible cutting performance We suggest this paste from PITCHCARE . Backlapping is the ideal solution when the blades on your cylinder mower appear a bit blunt however for other types of damage this process might not be the best solution. If your blades have encountered damage from a stray stone on your lawn whilst mowing, you might be best suited taking your mower to your local Allett Mower dealer who can provide a thorough regrind or possibly even a replacement of the damaged blades if needed. For more information on how to look after your Allett Mower visit our blog, or for any support please get in touch with the team at our contact page.