The gentle hum of a lawnmower gliding across the grass is one of the iconic sounds of summer. But let those blades get dull, and that peaceful hum turns into an obnoxious rattling clatter. Dull mower blades make a mess of your lawn, tearing grass rather than slicing it cleanly. That damage causes browning, thinning turf, and opens the door for weeds to invade. Nobody wants that eyesore in their yard. Freshly sharpened blades keep your lawn looking pristine all season long.
Unfortunately, removing old blades to sharpen or replace them is an awkward and potentially risky job. Laying on your back and reaching under the mower deck to wrestle off bolts by hand is frustrating and dangerous. It’s also far too easy for the blade to slip or spin while trying to grip it, risking serious lacerations.
Specialized blade removal tools take the struggle and danger out of the process. These ingenious devices grip the blade tightly in place so it can’t shift or turn. With the blade locked in position, the mounting bolt can be safely removed without any finger injuries. Blade removal tools speed up maintenance and let you tackle this necessary task without any safety worries. Keep reading to learn all about these handy gadgets that simplify lawnmower care.
Why Proper Blade Maintenance Matters
Before we dive into blade removal tools, let’s review why swapping out dull mower blades is so important for performance and lawn health. As you mow week after week, cutting edges inevitably wear down and get blunt. Once the sharpened bevel disappears, blades start tearing grass rather than slicing cleanly. It’s easy to notice the difference – jagged, brown grass tips are a clear sign your blades are due for a change.
Dull blades also require more power and effort from your mower, putting extra strain on the engine. You’ll have to push or ride over spots multiple times just to get an even cut. And with poor cutting ability, more grass will slip past the blades uncut. You’ll end up mowing more frequently but achieving worse results.
Replacing worn out blades restores the mower’s cutting efficiency. The engine runs smoother, you get a clean cut in fewer passes, and most importantly, your lawn reaps the benefits. Sharper blades make healthy, precise cuts that heal quickly. Yard work becomes much easier and quicker with a fresh set of blades.
When to Replace Your Lawnmower Blades
As a general rule of thumb, plan to swap your mower blades at least once per year. For those with larger properties or who mow frequently, consider replacing them twice per season. Here are some other signs it’s time for new blades:
- You notice grass looking jagged or torn after mowing.
- Your lawn develops yellow or brown patches.
- Mowing seems to require more effort from the engine.
- You detect vibrations in the mower deck.
- Hitting obstacles like rocks or sticks while mowing.
Catching a blade problem early by swapping dull ones for sharper replacements avoids more serious damage down the road. Diagnosing and fixing issues immediately results in a healthier, thicker lawn.
The Difficulty of Removing Blades Manually
Taking off old mower blades by hand is an awkward, cumbersome process. You’ll need to tip the mower deck upward to access the underside where the blades are mounted. Then comes the challenging part – gripping the blade while you try to loosen the mounting bolt.
Laying beneath the mower and reaching upwards makes it nearly impossible to get enough leverage. The blade will often slip in your hand, scraping knuckles against the metal deck. And if it starts spinning while loosening the bolt, serious injury can occur. Even with gloves on, bare hands are at high risk around the dangerously sharp edges.
A better tactic is to brace the blade with a block of wood while turning the bolt. But if your wooden wedge shifts, the blade can suddenly break free, again posing a laceration hazard. As you can see, manually removing lawnmower blades is an incredibly awkward and unsafe process. There’s a much better method…
Introducing Blade Removal Tools
Specialized blade removal tools were designed to eliminate the frustrations and safety issues of changing lawnmower blades by hand. These ingenious devices grip and lock the blade securely in place so it can’t wiggle, turn, or release unexpectedly. With the blade firmly stabilized, you can then effortlessly remove the mounting bolt without any unsteady blades jeopardizing your fingers.
Popular options like the Sears Blade Removal Tool and the EzyBlade Remover clamp either vertically or horizontally onto the blade. Other designs like the Hustler Blade Buddy have a protective cover shield that sits over the blade for added safety. They slide easily onto any walk-behind or riding mower blade in seconds.
Blade removal tools provide a firm, non-slip grip on the blade thanks to thick protective rubber cushions. No more scraped knuckles or dangerous spin outs – the blade stays right where you clamp it. You’ll wonder why you ever changed blades without one.
How Blade Removal Tools Work
These handy devices grip the blade in one of two orientations – either horizontally or vertically. Horizontal clamps are ideal for walk behind push mowers where you tip the deck up to access the underside. Vertical clamps work well for riding mowers where you can raise the deck while keeping the mower level.
Here are the basic steps to use a blade removal tool:
- Raise and secure the mower deck for access to the blades.
- Select horizontal or vertical clamping based on mower type.
- Slide the tool over the blade and tighten by hand or with a wrench.
- Check that the blade is secure and cannot wiggle or turn.
- Use a wrench or socket to loosen and remove mounting bolt.
- Once the blade is off, release the clamping tool.
The thick rubber cushions distribute clamping force evenly across the blade to hold it in a perfect stationary position. You’ll immediately notice how solidly it grips compared to trying to hang onto the blade by hand. The blade simply cannot shift or release unexpectedly with a removal tool securely attached.
Step-By-Step Blade Removal Process
Now let’s walk through the full process of safely removing old blades with this game changing tool:
- Prep the mower – Remove spark plug wire so the engine is disabled. Use a wheel chock to prevent rolling.
- Access the deck – Tip the mower deck fully upward to reveal the blades.
- Clamp the tool – Slide the removal tool over the blade. Tighten it by hand or with a wrench until fully secure.
- Loosen bolt – Use your socket wrench to turn the blade mounting bolt counterclockwise.
- Remove blade – Unscrew the mounting bolt completely and detach the blade.
- Install new blade – Reverse the process to install a freshly sharpened or new blade.
With the blade locked in place by the removal tool, you can loosen and remove the mounting bolt without any safety concerns or finger injuries. The tool maintains a firm grip on the blade for the entire process until you detach it. Not having to worry about the blade slipping or spinning lets you focus entirely on detaching and installing each blade.
Sharpening and Replacing Your Blades
Once the old dull blades are safely removed, it’s time to sharpen or replace them. Use a metal file to sharpen the beveled cutting edges along each end of the blade. Take care to sharpen both sides evenly to maintain proper balance.
For even faster sharpening, use an electric grinder fitted with a sharpening disc designed for blades. Just a few quick passes will hone the edges razor sharp again. Take care not to overheat the blade which can ruin the temper. If the blade is too far gone, simply install new replacements.
Reinstalling the blades is the same process in reverse. With the mower deck still raised, align the blade holes with the mounting bolt. Hand tighten the bolt, then finish tightening securely with your wrench. Remove the blade tool, reconnect the spark plug, and lower the deck once finished. That’s all there is to it – the removal tool has turned this daunting task into a quick and painless process.
Checking Blade Balance
While you have the blades off, it’s wise to check that they are properly balanced. An out-of-balance blade will cause noticeable vibrations as the heavy side drags down.
Properly balanced blades will provide smooth, vibration-free operation. Take a few minutes to balance your blades while changing them to maximize mower performance.
Tips for Hassle-Free Blade Changing
Here are some handy tips for making routine blade maintenance as smooth as possible:
- Gather all necessary tools beforehand – wrenches, sockets, wheel chocks, gloves, etc.
- Pick a solid, flat surface like a driveway or sidewalk to work over.
- Wear thick gloves to improve grip and protect your hands.
- Consult your mower’s manual for specific bolt tightening torque, blade quantities, and any unique steps.
- Check blade measurements to ensure the replacements match OEM specs.
- Clean grass buildup off the underside of deck while changing blades.
- Consider having a second set of sharp blades ready to swap out.
Taking a few minutes to plan ahead helps the process go quickly and safely. Keep your blade removal tool right next to your mower for speedy access when it’s time to change your blades.
Maintain Your Mower and Your Yard
Your mower blades and engine do all the hard work to keep your lawn beautiful. Take good care of them, and they’ll return the favor.
Sharp blades cut grass cleanly and healthily while requiring less effort from the engine. That adds up to lower lawncare costs and maintenance over time. Protect your mower investment and blades by avoiding obstacles like sprinkler heads while mowing.
And don’t forget to prep your mower before storing it away for winter. Swap dull blades for freshly sharpened ones, change the oil, add fuel stabilizer, and give it a thorough cleaning. Come spring, it will be ready to handle peak mowing season.
With the hassle removed thanks to handy blade removal tools, there’s no reason to delay prompt blade maintenance. Your mower and lawn will thank you.
Lawnmower blade maintenance is one of those tedious chores that’s easy to put off. But allowing your blades to get excessively dull harms the health and appearance of your yard. With the risk of hand injuries, it’s no wonder many avoid manually changing their blades.
Sturdy blade removal tools take all the struggle and danger out of the process. Simply slide on the clamp, remove the mounting bolts, and switch out the blades. You’ll save time and ensure peak mowing performance. Your lawn will look its best when equipped with sharp, balanced blades.
The gentle summer buzz of a mower is a soundtrack of suburban bliss. Don’t let worn out blades ruin your yard work. Employ a blade removal tool as your go-to lawn care assistant. Your grass will thank you with lush green beauty all season long.