how to sharpen lawn mower blades

Do brand new lawn mower blades need to be sharpened?

Of course, sharp blades cut through the turf like a champ and will cut down on the time it takes to mow your lawn.

Plus, they cut clean and your grass plants will recover pretty fast.

But do brand new lawn mower blades need to be sharpened if they don’t seem very sharp?

Well, the short answer is NO.

For the most part, your blades should cut immaculately and fast right out of the box and you don’t need to spend extra time sharpening your new set of blades.

Let’s now turn to the long answer to understand why you should be least bothered that your new lawn mower blade seems sort of dull.

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Do brand new lawn mower blades need to be sharpened: long answer

Now, there are different schools of thought on this and different mower blades brands require different treatment but on the whole, they all come pre-sharpened and having a good cutting edge to them despite appearing ‘dull’.

In any case, manufacturers realize that you could cut yourself when installing razor sharp mower blades on the mower and make them sharp enough to shave grass but not injure you.

You really have nothing to do…

Not even the ‘excessive’ paint should trouble you-it will come off the edges soon enough (after cutting 2 or 3 mows).

Having said that, you could still opt to sharpen the blade if you certainly feel that it will do a better job.

Of course, you have to be cautious because the odds are that you might hurt your hands when handling a razor sharp mower blade.

But it is a rather uncommon practice and you may hardly notice a tangible difference in the quality of the cut.  

In short, it’s best to use the blades as they’re made.

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After how long should you sharpen new lawn mower blades?

We have agreed that sharpening your freshly acquired blades is out of the question so the next puzzle is for how long can you cut with them before they become ‘dull’.

Is it after mowing for a couple of hours? Days? Weeks? Months?….

Overall, you don’t need to use a lawn mower blade sharpener on your blades until after cutting with them for between 20 to 25 hours.

Admittedly, loads of factors come into play here but an interval of 20-25 hours is reasonable for most lawn mower blades.

Otherwise, an easier way to tell if your blades would do with a bit of sharpening is by understanding the signs of a ‘dull’ blade.

We look at them next.

Signs of a ‘dull’ blade

One of the most glaring signs is an uneven cut- make it a habit to observe the grass after cutting and pay attention to the blades if you’re coming across swathes covered with brown tips or grass that looks somewhat chewed.

Another thing: If you’re suddenly being forced to make multiple passes to cleanly slice patches of grass, you might be looking at a dull blade.

The other time- and this is quite obvious- is when the blades develop conspicuous ‘injuries’ in the form of dints or scratches.

I’m assuming that the dents are still small meaning that it’s possible to restore the blades to their former glory with routine sharpening to help you maintain healthy, green grass.

Tip: In general, you should sharpen the mower blades after every one month or thereabouts. This way, you minimize the risk of exposing your turf to disease or making it brown cast or looking messy after mowing. Again, a dull blade could damage the mower itself.

How to sharpen lawn mower blades

Sharpening lawn mower blades is a lot easier than you think.

In fact, you could sharpen them by hand with chisels, files, or a grindstone.

You’ll also be fine sharpening with a machine such as a bench or an angle grinder if you have the know how. 

Regardless of the sharpening tool you select, you should keep the blade at a proper lawn mower blade sharpening angle, which is roughly 45-degree.

The other important thing is to avoid putting too much pressure- you never want to have them razor sharp for obvious reasons.

New mower blades: a word on balancing

The only thing that you should perhaps worry about is the balance because some new blades come unbalanced and vibrate terribly when engaged.

Again fear not – this can be an easy process if you have the right equipment.

And the good news is that a cone balancer works amazingly well for those who cannot afford the more expensive options.

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Do brand new lawn mower blades need to be sharpened: frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why are new blades dull?

As mentioned previously, new blades are sufficiently sharp and ready to cut your grass flawlessly the way they come.
Any sharper and you’re looking at potential safety issues such as the possibility of being cut when mounting them.

Can you sharpen blades while still on mower?

Sure, you can and it all boils down to the design of your lawn mower.
For some, you could comfortably sharpen the blades without removing them and save a significant amount of time.
This is impossible for others so you should study your model’s construction and make the right decision.
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How often should lawn mower blades be replaced?

There are no timelines written on stone and it’s largely a question of how often you cut grass, how well maintained are your blades, and so forth.
The thing is, you’re supposed to keep an eye on the condition of the blades- be sure to regularly inspect them.
Experts recommend the installation of your spare mower blades as soon as you come across large chips, dents, and inconsistencies like warping in the blade’s cutting edge.
Another time you should go for new blades is if you observe that they have become paper-thin due to gradual wearing by stones, sand, or other debris hidden within the turf.
Otherwise, most owners replace blades once a year on average. 
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Recap

The answer to the question do brand new lawn mower blades need to be sharpened is an emphatic NO.

As explained, your brand new mower blades come fairly sharp and are, in most cases, pretty much good to go without taking them to a lawn mower blade sharpening service or engaging in DIY mower blade sharpening.

However, further sharpening could be an option if you feel that it could benefit your grass though it’s not a mainstream practice.

Remember to balance, if necessary.

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