Reel mowers anybody?

dodge trucker

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I've always liked oddball, not as common types of mowers. I've had a few gas powered reel mowers over the years, never knew anyone who could sharpen one though. I have a Jake 21" power-flo (I think that's the name on it) at the moment.
Got it from an auction this past weekend along with 2 Roof brand VP75 high weed cutters (think: Bachtold, also DR field and brush mower) One of the weed whip's engines was stuck and so was this one when I got them. This one had the exhaust valve stuck, got that freed up, new head gasket, points and condenser,, carb cleaned out, and it now runs. 60000 series 2hp Briggs. Engine code number says It's from 1972.

never understood how a reel mower could work fine with less HP than a rotary mower with the same width.


Now that I have everything freed up and working, I tried to mow with it, it don't, at least not very well. It kinda just pushes the grass over and when the reel passes over it, the grass stands right back up, no clippings to throw. What's the deal?
 

Cadman-iac

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It's been many years since I last saw one of those in person, but doesn't it have a bar on the bottom edge that the rotating blades pass over to cut the grass off with?
They work like a pair of scissors if memory serves. Sharpening one is an art form from what I have heard about them. And if it's not done correctly, the cutting blades will be deformed and not contact the lower bar, and it just whips the grass.
But I have had no experience with these since I was a wee lad, so my memory may not be correct.

Rick
 
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secondtry

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I used powered reel mowers exclusively when I was a kid in the 50s and early 60s. My grandfather had cut his foot badly with a "whirligig" mower and my mother was afraid of them. They tend to enforce proper mowing. If you let the grass get to high they you start having trouble. Sharpening them without the proper equipment is questionable. The blades can be lapped in with grinding compound. The Knife below the reel can be adjusted. Later in life I met a man who sharpened all the reels for a sod producer. He removed the reels from the machines and ground them on a home built special purpose lathe. He made very good money at it and the sod company would not alow any one else to touch their mowers. Like Rick says it is an art.
Don
 

4getgto

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I "was" that guy that was elected to do the gang mowers for 3 years in Vo-Tec some (using fingers and toes) 45+ years ago. Very time consuming as you had to disassemble the reels to put on the machine. No margin for error. Actually kinda of fun though. Do I remember and could I do it today.?? NOPE..!
 

dodge trucker

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yeah I think the highest it shows on a decal on the side is 1-1/2" height of cut. I always had heard that using a reel mower vs a rotary mower is "better for your lawn"....
 

dodge trucker

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I have an uncle who just died a couple of years ago, my Mom's brother. never married, never hired anything out, hasnt owned a car since coming back from WWII (I guess Grandma sold it while he was gone to war, because she needed money back then) and never bought one since, walked everywhere he went (or very occasionally took a cab) even walked to work and back every day no matter the weather, he was a clerk for the ICRR/ IDK how far work was from his house, but by most accounts it was ~5 miles each way.... He always used the manual reel mowers, was always afraid of a "power" mower until the very end. He was (I forget which) either 84 or 86 when he died but around here, a manual reel mower will always be an "Uncle Wally mower"....
 
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