How To Sharpen Reel Mower Blades


Reel mowers are different from the standard lawnmowers as it uses a scissors-like technique to cut grasses. See [text]do reel mowers work[link]( Their blades are designed to spin from north to south in a vertical pattern, which helps their edges to remain sharp for a long period of time. However, they will eventually get dull and require sharpening. Thankfully, there are various simple ways you can sharpen your reel mower’s blade, and it’s usually the main upkeep that this mower requires. In the course of using the reel mower, it may come in contact with rocks, stones, tree trunks, and other kinds of obstructions, which can make it dull from overuse.

Now, for this job, you don’t necessarily have to hire a handyman to do it. You can just sharpen your reel mower at home. As long as you follow the safety procedures, you are good to go.


There are several ways to sharpen your reel mower’s blade, but it is important to take safety precautions first;

  1. make sure that the reel is secure
  2. avoid placing your hands on the cutting edge
  3. focus your attention carefully on the blade when you’re sharpening the blade and avoid any distractions.
  4. if you are on medication or drowsy or tired, do not operate the machine
  5. wear strong non-slip boots as well as long trousers to protect your leg and feet from objects that may fall. Avoid wearing anything that will expose your body or feet
  6. wear safety goggles and a face shield as tiny particles may fly around while sharpening the blade, so it is important to protect your eyes using a face shield and goggles
  7. do not wear jewelry while sharpening the blades as it may get caught up in the mower parts that may lead to accidents

There are a few options when you want to sharpen a reel mower blade. Some of these are;

  • using a file
  • use of standard sharpening kits
  • use of metal finishing sandpaper
  • use of power drill with a sharpening attachment


You can save yourself some extra cost when you sharpen your mower’s blades with a rough alloy file as a substitute to a specific sharpening tool. It is straightforward and enables you to sharpen the cutting end of all the blades with consistency. Before sharpening your blades with an iron file, you have to clean up the reel and blades with coarse sandpaper. Next, lay the mower on a workbench and chock the wheels with a piece of wood so that it’s stable while making sure that the cutting edge is protruding a bit out of the surface, making it suspended in the air.

Secure the blade by inserting a broomstick into the blade to prevent the reel from spinning when sharpening the blades. Once you’ve accomplished this, press the toothed end of a metal file on the cutting edge of the first blade on one side of the mower. Now, use the file to scratch through the edge of the blade, making sure that you go back and forth throughout the length of the blade. Repeat this process up to seven times on a spot through the length of the blade till you get your desired sharpness. Next up, remove the wedge and re-position the reel so that it helps you reach the back of the blade. Repeat the same filling process while ensuring that you continue until the edges are sharp enough for you. Re-position the reel so that you can repeat the filling process on the second blade, third blade, and as many blades as the reel mower has have been sharpened. When you’re done sharpening them all, lubricate the blades so that they are immune to rust. You can either spray the lubricant directly on the edge of the blade or on a rag to wipe down the edges of the blades.


One of the simplest ways to sharpen your reel mower blade is to use a sharpening compound/ kit. These tools come along with a sharpening compound and handle. A sharpening compound is a substance that is applied to the blades and sharpens the cutting edge of the blades as they scratch each other. If you’re using a sharpening kit, join the hand to your reel mower’s driving gearwheel and spread the compound for sharpening to each blade, with a paintbrush.

Once this is done, push the reel backward so that the blades scrape against each other, which will efficiently sharpen the dull edges. You can move the reel back by using your hands, although it is quite tedious as it requires a lot of effort. A more straightforward way is to use a power drill to push it back, which is not as tedious and faster


One of the most common disadvantages of a dull blade is poor alignment. Displaced blade contact can hinder the effectiveness of your mower and not necessarily mean that the blade is dull. Thankfully with these few steps, you can adjust your reel mower for peak performance.

Firstly, your reel mower should be placed on a workbench and it’s wheels chocked from moving.

Secondly, spin the reel with your hand so you know what kind of adjustment is needed. If you hear a scraping sound, you will have to adjust the blades far from the bed knife. If you notice that the reel is spinning too freely, you have to place the blades close to the straight cutting mark. As soon as you have found out the type of alteration you want to make, insert a screwdriver into the slots for screws situated on the side of your reel. If you notice have to move the blades closer, re-tighten the screws. If you need to move the blades apart, loosen the screws. Ensure that you only make slight, precise turns so that you don’t make any over-adjustments. Now, turn the screws of each side of the cutting bar in the opposite direction that you had turned the reel’s screws. Now, turn these screws while making use of the same minimal adjustments, which is only a fraction of a turn at most. Now, you can spin the reel to see if you still need to make any more adjustments. If you do, repeat the above process till the reel’s blades operate efficiently.


The most common reason why a reel mower would stop working effectively is either because its blades are dull or not in alignment. It is crucial for you to take out time to ensure that your reel mower’s blades are aligned and sharp, which will help them to work at their peak efficiency. It is also vital that you keep your mower and its blades clean. Do not forget to take safety precautions to avoid accidents.

It is unnecessary to pay someone for a job that you can do easily by yourself. Sharpening your mower’s blades is one of those easy jobs done in the comfort of your home without any stress. If you use your mowers often, then it is bound to get blunt, so it is important to be able to sharpen it yourself while also saving money and time.