Lawn mower work bench. 22 Ideas For Lawn Mower Storage – The Ultimate Guide

Three Simple Tricks to Use a Bench Vise

This workshop workhorse helps you saw, drill, file, grind, and even bend metal.

By Roy Berendsohn Published: Apr 25, 2023

A workshop isn’t complete until it has a bench vise. Without it, you’ll find yourself struggling to hold things you need to build, repair, modify, and maintain. One of many examples: It’s difficult to hold a lawn mower blade in position for sharpening. With a bench vise, it’s easy: clamp the center of the blade in the vise and get to work.

Like any workshop tool, however, there are some simple tricks to help you get the most out of it. But before we get to those, maybe you’re new to owning and using a bench vise, and you want to know what’s going on here. That’s perfectly okay with us. Everybody has to start somewhere.

Rock-Bottom Basics

A bench vise is a large clamp bolted to a work surface. Using it is easy. Turn its handle to the left to open its jaws; turn its handle to the right to close the jaws. To tighten down on a workpiece, hold it in the vise’s jaws and keep turning the handle to the right. As you turn the handle, you also turn the lead screw to which the moving jaw is connected. The lead screw’s diameter and the length of the handle provide the tightening power. As the lead screw is turned, the movable jaw bears against the workpiece, forcing it against the fixed jaw. The two jaws (fixed and moving) provide tremendous clamping force. The more you turn the vise’s handle, the more clamping force you provide.

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By tightening a workpiece in the vise, you hold it in such a way that you can saw, drill, file and grind it. You can also use the powerful clamping action to bend metal, crimp parts together, crush something (like to break off a part that’s weak or damaged and salvage a piece of it that you want), or hold a workpiece in place to cut it with a cold chisel. And the anvil on the back of the vise forms a useful work surface for pounding.

This is pretty simple stuff. But there are three fundamentals that help you get the most out of the vise while you’re doing any of the operations listed above.

Work on Center

Measure to the center of the vise jaws mark it—scribe a line with a sharp awl, use a Sharpie pen, or cut a small notch with a triangular file. Why bother? Think of it as a quick reference to help you center the work in the vise’s jaws.

Use an awl, a Sharpie pen or a small triangular file to make a mark in the center of the vise’s jaws. This forms a quick visual reference to help you center a workpiece in the jaws, directly over the center of the lead screw. Having the workpiece centered provides maximum clamping power and takes full advantage of the vise’s strength.

Of course, it’s not always possible to work in the center of the vise jaws because the workpiece is too long, too large, or its shape doesn’t permit this. If you have to grind, file, or saw at the far end of the workpiece, you may find that the workpiece flexes as you do this. The solution is obvious: move the workpiece so that where you are performing some operation is close to the center of the vise’s jaws. This reduces the piece’s tendency to flex where you are applying force to cut, grind, or file.

Bend Properly

Bench vises are often called on for use in bending a piece of metal. You do this two ways: hit the metal with a hammer or apply gradual bending force by hand.

To bend a long piece of metal (in this case a 3-foot-long strip of aluminum), get it as close as you can to the lead screw, and clamp the material on the bend mark. Hammer toward the fixed jaw (and the bench). This directs the shock from impact blows at the strongest part of the vise (and the bench).

This raises the question of whether it’s better to hammer bend light metal toward the back or fixed jaw of the vise, or to hammer bend it toward the front (the movable jaw). Our intuition causes us to bend metal toward the back of the vise and the fixed point, but we put that question to Vince Morabit, a mechanical engineer since the early 1960s (aside from being one of the smartest guys we know, he’s also the inventor of the Aero-Flex trimmer head).

When hammering metal to bend it over, Morabit says, be sure the vise is qualified to take any real pounding. Don’t use a light-duty vise for this. He confirms our intuition in that it’s best to direct your blows to the back of the vise (not toward the movable jaw). The fixed portion of the vise and the bench have more stability to absorb the shock created by the hammer pounding onto the metal. This is particularly important when using a bench vise that is mounted on a heavy free-standing work bench and not bolted to the floor or wall. Directing your blows to the back of the bench, Morabit says, allows the rest of the bench to form a large lever arm to resist the overturning force created by hammering in that direction. Pounding metal toward the front of the vise has the opposite effect and could easily cause the bench to tip. This is also a powerful argument for bolting a bench to a floor or wall.

In most cases, however, you get more control and better accuracy bending metal gradually using leverage.

To provide incrased leverage for metal bending, use a long piece of steel and clamp it to the workpiece using locking pliers or C clamps. This is especially useful if you need to bend a piece of metal to or past 90 degrees. Apply gradual force to the metal and reposition its height in the vise as needed to achieve the angle and bending radius desired.

Bending metal by leverage is a bit more nuanced, Morabit advises. The vise’s mounting bolts keep the vise anchored to the bench, while the vise’s mounting pad transmit force and spreads it onto the bench’s surface (wood or metal). The parts work together in keeping the system stable during bending, and in most cases this system will be most stable with bending forces directed to the back of the vise and bench. On the other hand, says Morabit, you have to do what is most practical. In all but the most unusual cases, he says, the vise and its mounting pads, the bolts, and the bench itself (if properly secured) are more than likely strong enough to take reasonable bending forces–and an exact analysis of these forces is complex and unnecessary. Translation: for heavy-duty bends, bend to the back. Light-duty bending can be done toward the vise’s front or its back.

Turn the Anvil to the Front

A high quality bench vise has an anvil behind the fixed jaw. This is a handy feature for small jobs that require pounding, cutting with a cold chisel, or for center marking with a punch.

To get at that anvil, rotate the vise so that the anvil is facing the front of the bench.

To access the vise’s anvil, unlock the levers that tighten its turntable (also called its swivel). Turn these levers all the way counterclockwise until the vise moves freely on its base, Next, slide the handle on the movable jaw all the way to the side and use the handle to turn the vise on its base. For a really massive vise (not the one shown here) it’s sometimes easier to clamp a long stick of wood in the vise jaws and spin the vise around on its base.

Now you have unhindered access to the anvil.

Turning the anvil toward the front of the workbench has several advantages. First, the anvil is easier to access. Next, this improves your accuracy for fine anvil work, such as getting a centerpunch accurately in position. Finally, if you need to deliver a forceful hammer blow to a workpiece, a forward-facing anvil is far more advantageous, since you don’t have to reach over the vise to strike the workpiece with the hammer.

A Few Other Things to Consider

Keep the vise clean, the lead screw oiled and the turntable greased. You can get some sense of how a vise is disassembled from our article on the topic of rescuing a vise that was a cast off. Lubrication basics can be found here.

In terms of buying advice, there are lots of great products out there, but I prefer a bench vise that has auxiliary pipe jaws below the main jaws.

Pipe and bar stock can be frustrating to work on without a V-jaw built into the vise. A vise with a V jaw (also called a pipe jaw) can clamp round materials, allowing you to easily cut and drill them.

Finally, like most people, I tend to have at it when I’m trying to get things done, but sometimes a slower and more deliberate approach ends up saving time overall on the project and improves the results.

For example, getting a piece of metal leveled in the vise before cutting will help you cut straighter and more neatly, You can place a bullet level or the body of a combination square on the workpiece to assess for level. In this case, the ends of the workpiece have been carefully ground square to the sides. A quick check with the square’s body indicates that and we’re good to go for a hacksaw cut down the length of the workpiece.

Roy Berendsohn has worked for more than 25 years at Popular Mechanics, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not working on his own house, he volunteers with Sovereign Grace Church doing home repair for families in rural, suburban and urban locations throughout central and southern New Jersey.

Ideas For Lawn Mower Storage – The Ultimate Guide

If you’re short on space and stuck for ideas on where (or how) you’re going to store your lawnmower, then you’re in luck!

I’ve put together 23 unique ideas for storing your precious grass-cutting machine ranging from the more obvious solutions to some you’ve probably never thought of.

MoJack Lawn Mower Lift Workbench Attachment 200-Lb. Capacity

Keep reading to find out how to make a pallet shed, use a ceiling hoist or create a three-sided box that wheels into place. There really is a solution for everyone here.

Wall Storage Solution

Save on floor space and keep your lawn mower in good condition by opting for a wall storage solution. Sturdy wall hooks or brackets installed in your garage or shed will allow you to hang your push mower vertically by its handle.

This is a practical choice, especially for electric and manual push mowers. Don’t try this with gas mowers as they will leak oil and fuel.

lawn, mower, work, bench

Just ensure that the wall and brackets can comfortably support the weight of your mower. In addition, keep in mind the height for easy access when you need to use the mower.

Under-Bench Storage

One place that’s often overlooked is the unused space beneath a workbench in your garage or shed. This area can be the perfect home for your push mower with the handle removed or folded.

You could even consider custom building a new bench with a specific slot designed for your mower and a ramp for easy access. Do remember to accurately measure your mower to ensure a perfect fit though.

Custom-Built Garden Sheds

If space isn’t an issue in your yard, a custom-built garden shed could be the ultimate storage solution for your lawnmower, particularly if you have a riding mower. With this option, you have the freedom to design the shed with your mower’s dimensions in mind, ensuring a neat and organized space with unrestricted access.

Think about adding shelving units for your smaller gardening tools and mower accessories.

A well-planned custom shed can provide ample room for all your gardening needs while adding real value to your property.

Lean-To Shed Additions

Adding a lean-to on the side of your existing garage or shed can be a Smart way to store your lawnmower. This option gives you easy access to your mower and keeps it protected from the elements without taking up precious space inside the main building.

Consider adding a lockable door for security, and ensure the lean-to is weatherproof to maximize the life of your mower.

This is an excellent solution for a riding mower that needs a huge amount of space in the typical garage. With this idea, you can just wheel it straight in and not worry about having to leave a path to get it out through the main building.

Outdoor Storage Boxes

Outdoor storage boxes meant for soft furnishings and seat covers can be a great fit for smaller lawnmowers. These boxes are weather-resistant, easily accessible, and often come with locking mechanisms for added security.

You can also buy more sturdy examples built for storing outdoor tools which are even better.

Before purchasing, measure your mower to ensure it will fit comfortably inside the box. To further protect your mower, consider placing the storage box in a shaded area to reduce exposure to extreme temperatures.

A good example of this would be the Suncast Horizontal Outdoor Storage Shed which you can also see an image of on the left. You can buy it on Amazon.

Just make sure its dimensions are appropriate for your mower before buying, even if it has a handle that can be folded for easier storage.

Ceiling Storage System

A ceiling storage system in your shed or garage using ropes and pulleys to hoist it into place can be a clever solution for storing your lawn mower, especially in smaller spaces. This option is best suited for lighter, push-style mowers.

Before implementing this idea, make sure you thoroughly check the weight limit of the pulley and storage system to prevent any accidents or damage to your mower. The last thing you want is for it to drop on your head when you’re lifting it into position!

Also, make sure the height is manageable for easy access to your mower.

Under-Stairs Storage

The unused space beneath outdoor stairs can be a prime location for your lawnmower. This might require slight modifications to your stair design to make access easier, but it can provide a discrete storage spot. Make sure to measure your mower and the available space to ensure a good fit.

Additionally, if the stairs are open tread, you will need to build a weatherproof structure in the space to protect your mower from the elements or purchase a good waterproof cover of course.

Under-Deck Storage

If you have a raised deck in your backyard built into a slope, consider utilizing the space underneath it for storing your lawn mower. You can create a door or a hatch for easy access to this storage area. Make sure to weatherproof and secure the space properly to protect your mower from moisture and potential theft.

This is a fantastic way to utilize the often-forgotten area beneath your deck and is simple to do if you plan for it when building the deck.

Repurposed Kitchen Cabinets

Old kitchen cabinets can be cleverly repurposed into lawn mower storage units for use in your garage or shed. They can even be used on their own outdoors if you live in a dry climate.

They’re often sturdy and spacious, providing ample room for your mower and even additional storage space for other lawn care items on the shelves.

Measure your mower and the cabinet to ensure a good fit before moving forward with this idea and make sure to add ventilation holes.

Lawn Mower Lifts

For those with larger, ride-on machines, investing in a mower lift could be a wise decision. A mower lift allows you to hoist your mower safely, freeing up floor space. It also facilitates easier maintenance tasks like cleaning and blade replacement.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when operating a mower lift to ensure safety.

Make A Pallet Shed

Repurposing pallets into a simple shed for your mower can be an easy, cost-effective solution. You can just bolt the pallets together and cover them with a waterproof covering to protect anything inside from the rain.

4wd ultimate 70HP Lawn Mower Full 1 Year Build Driving

If you also use pallets for the floor, this keeps your mower off the ground, protecting it from dampness and extending its life. Pallets can be easily obtained from local businesses or recycling centers for free and modified with basic tools.

Unused Closet Conversion

If you have a spare closet in your garage or basement, consider converting it into a dedicated storage space for your lawnmower. This solution keeps your mower out of sight when not in use.

Remember to keep the closet well-ventilated to prevent the build-up of gas fumes. Adding shelves or hooks can provide extra storage for smaller lawn care items.

lawn, mower, work, bench

Basement Storage

While it’s not a good idea to keep your mower in the house itself, utilizing your basement is perfectly acceptable as long as you follow a few basic rules for gas-powered machines.

The main thing is to drain the fuel as you do not want gas fumes building up in your home. These could either leak into your living space which is bad enough or at worst cause an explosion.

You can learn more about how to properly store fuel for your mower here.

Bicycle Hoists

Bicycle hoists aren’t just for bikes. They can be repurposed to store lightweight, push-style lawnmowers. These hoists are typically sturdy and reliable, but always check the weight capacity before using them for this purpose.

Also, ensure you secure your mower properly to make sure it can’t drop or move once in position.

Stacked Storage Solution

If you own multiple mowers, a stacked storage solution might be ideal. You can build a sturdy, multi-level rack to store several mowers vertically, saving on floor space.

Always store the lightest mower on top to keep the structure balanced and for easier lifting, plus secure each one properly to prevent accidents.

This solution requires a bit of carpentry and DIY skills but can be a real space saver.

Portable Tent Sheds

Tent sheds provide a portable, affordable solution for lawn mower storage. They are made of weather-resistant materials and can be quickly set up for temporary use.

Check that the tent shed you choose has a sturdy frame and a secure closure to protect your mower from the elements. Also, measure your mower before purchase to ensure it will fit comfortably.

Tent sheds can often double as storage for other garden tools, making them a versatile storage option, but are not very secure.

Behind Decorative Screens

If you have a corner of your yard or patio that’s not in use, consider adding a decorative outdoor screen and storing your mower behind it. This solution keeps your mower out of sight yet easily accessible.

Ensure the screen is sturdy enough to withstand strong winds, and remember to protect your mower from the elements using a mower cover or similar protective gear. You can read more about storing your mower outside without a shed here.

Purpose-Built Mower Garage

For the ultimate lawnmower storage solution, consider a purpose-built mower garage. This miniature garage can be custom-designed to fit your mower perfectly, protecting it from the elements and providing an attractive addition to your backyard.

This project can be a fun DIY task if you’re handy, or you could hire a professional contractor to bring your vision to life.

Under A Storage Bench

A storage bench is a piece of outdoor furniture that doubles as a storage space for a variety of things. This option not only provides practical storage but also extra seating in your garden.

It will probably only be suitable for a small mower and even then, you will need to remove the handle so that it fits in the space, but is a great solution if you have limited room in your backyard.

Build A Suspended Platform

Another great DIY project to try is a suspended platform in your garage or shed which is a great place to store your mower. This works especially well for lightweight models.

The platform can be lowered so that it’s easy to roll the mower on and off when you need to use it. Afterward, you just park the machine on the platform and raise it up out of the way.

Lawn Mower Cover

Probably the simplest solution of them all is to just purchase a good quality lawnmower cover made for the job.

These are typically shaped to fit snugly over your machine with the handle still in place so that it’s ready to use whenever you need it.

Just make sure you let the engine and exhaust cool down before you put the cover on to avoid scorching a hole in it!

A good example of this is the Tough Cover Lawn Mower Cover – you can buy it on Amazon. Just make sure it’s the proper size for your mower, though it should be appropriate for most push-mowers. Riding mowers will need the bigger variant, which is also available.

Rent A Storage Unit

Last of all, if you really don’t have room to store your mower at home, think about renting some space in a storage unit. This can work great if you have one located nearby and only use the mower every week or so.

Just be sure to check with the owners what their rules and regulations are as you may find they don’t allow gas-powered mowers to be stored there. I previously wrote about this option in more detail in this article.

Final Thoughts

With these 22 practical and unique lawn mower storage ideas, you should be able to find at least one solution that fits your needs, space, and budget! Always remember to store your mower in a well-ventilated area, away from any heat sources or flammable materials for safety.

By storing your mower properly and keeping it out of the worst of the weather, you can extend its life and keep it working efficiently for many years to come.

Hi! I’m Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I’ve created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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How much does lawn mower repair cost?

The average cost for a lawn mower repair is 60. Hiring a lawn mower repair pro to fix your lawn mower, you will likely spend between 40 and 90. The price of lawn mower repair can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code).

90 average cost

The average cost for a lawn mower repair is 60. Hiring a lawn mower repair pro to fix your lawn mower, you will likely spend between 40 and 90. The price of lawn mower repair can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code).

Average cost for Lawn Mower Repair

Most of us aren’t fond of mowing the lawn — it can be a hot, sweaty, exhausting and time-consuming chore. So when something goes wrong with your lawnmower, that just adds to the frustration. When you need to get your lawnmower fixed, you might want to turn to a competent professional to do the job. But how much should you pay? How do you know someone’s legit or not? And is it really worth it to get the mower fixed? Bruce “The Lawn Mower Guy” Jones, a lawnmower repair specialist in North Carolina, acknowledges there’s little, if anything, his customers can’t do themselves with a bit of time, a couple of tools, and some how-to videos on YouTube. “But I can do it better, faster, and neater,” Jones says. When you’re trying to find a specialist like Jones who can do a “better, faster, and neater” job of fixing your lawnmower, here are four questions you should ask.

How much will the repair cost?

The cost of fixing a lawnmower depends mostly on what kind of mower you have and what the problem is. Nationally, a repair costs 40 to 90. Repairs for small walk-behind mowers usually are less expensive than repairs for large riding mowers. How your mower is powered — by gas or electricity — also can be a factor in the cost.

Mower repair cost by type

Mower Type Average Costs
Walk-behind mower Starting at 40
Riding Mower Starting at 140

On its website, The Mower Shop of Fishers, Indiana, says the minimum fee for repairing a household walk-behind mower at its location is 36. For a household riding mower, it’s 72. Parts and labor aren’t included in those fees. If a lawnmower repair specialist comes to your home, you might pay more.

On its website, Integrity Small Engine Repair in Milwaukee says its mobile tune-up service costs 80 for a walk-behind mower and 170 for a riding mower. Those include parts and labor. The business charges hourly rates for other services, such as 50 per hour for repairing a mower engine; that includes labor but does not include parts.

Jones, the North Carolina specialist, says he can complete most repairs for less than 60. At no charge, he’ll diagnose the problem with a mower.

“I don’t think it’s fair to ask customers to pay me for trying to figure out what I should already know,” Jones says.

Jones also offers free pickup and delivery of mowers he’s fixing. He charges 50 for the first half-hour of repairs and 50 per hour after that. A tune-up is 70 for a walk-behind or self-propelled mower and 140 for a riding mower.

Is the lawnmower repair specialist being upfront?

Jones says he lists the of common services on his website and tries to be as open about costs as possible. “There’s less confusion that way,” he says.

If a lawnmower repair specialist hasn’t listed a menu of online or is dodging your questions about prices, it’s probably time to move on to someone else.

While a lawnmower repair specialist might be upstanding, you still might be dealing with someone who lacks experience, and you might end up paying more “simply because they are not sure of what is actually needed or of their ability to troubleshoot, and they cannot make the repair in a timely manner,” says lawnmower repair specialist Ken Hinton, owner of Ken’s Mobile Services in Pflugerville, Texas.

Before any repair work is done, be sure you’re clear on what kind of work is being done (such as fixing the motor), how long it’ll take, and what it’ll cost.

Is the lawnmower repair specialist reputable?

One of the best places to start your search is online. Websites such as HomeGuide have amassed millions of reviews from homeowners so you can make an educated decision quickly. In addition, Jones recommends asking friends, neighbors, coworkers, and others for referrals to lawnmower repair specialists in your area. You shouldn’t base your decision solely on a lawnmower repair specialist’s nice-looking website.

“I know there more than a few ‘pop up’ repair guys who may build a great website but don’t really provide value for what they charge,” Jones says.

While you’re shopping around online, don’t put all your trust in reviews.

Jones says he’s got firsthand knowledge of bogus reviews — both positive and negative — of lawnmower repair specialists. He says he’s been approached by online marketers offering to post good reviews of his service (for a price, of course). Jones says he’s also been the victim of negative reviews, some whipped up by competitors and others by “keyboard-warrior customers who would rather lambast me in a public forum rather than resolve an issue.”

Is it really worth it to get my mower repaired?

Most of the time, fixing a lawnmower costs less than buying a new or used one.

A new mower goes for anywhere from 150 to 3,000. The price tag depends on the type of mower. For instance, a gas-powered walk-behind mower likely will be the cheapest option, whereas a riding mower probably will be the costliest option.

lawn, mower, work, bench

Check online to get free estimates, then once you’ve determined how much it’ll cost to repair your mower, you’ll want to weigh that against how much it would cost to buy a new or used mower.

Hinton, the Texas repair specialist, says the life expectancy of a lawnmower ranges anywhere from a few years to 20 years. Generally, he recommends replacing a mower when repair costs will exceed 50% to 80% of the replacement cost of a mower has surpassed at least 50% of the mower’s expected life.

In Praise of the Push Reel Mower

I recently became a homeowner and along with my first house came another first: my very own little piece of land to tend. And since Kate and I had been living in apartments for all our married life, I needed to buy a mower to take care of our lawn. Like most Americans, I grew up using and being surrounded by gas-powered mowers. The sound of two-stroke engines firing up around the neighborhood was the unofficial soundtrack of my boyhood summers.

But despite my immersion in the cult of Lawn Boy, I’ve always been intrigued by old-fashioned manual/push reel mowers. Maybe my curiosity about them came from flipping through old magazines depicting a happy 1950s suburban dad mowing his small patch of green heaven. Or maybe it was from watching groundskeepers use giant reel mowers to mow the infield at baseball stadiums.

Whatever the reason for my lifelong pull towards the manual reel mower, when I was in the market for my own mower, I decided to look into whether the old-fashioned push reel mower was a viable option for my lawn mowing needs. To my great surprise, I discovered that the reel mower isn’t just a viable option, but is in some instances superior to its gas-powered cousins.

How a Push Reel Mower Works

Your typical power rotary mower has a spinning blade that chops off the top of the grass as it rotates like a helicopter, resulting in torn and shredded turf. Instead of tearing and chopping your grass, a reel mower cuts your grass just like a pair of scissors. It’s easier to understand how this works when you can see the mower, rather than just describing it, so check out the video below for a full explanation:

Oh, and it goes without saying, but unlike a power mower that requires gas or electricity to work, you provide the power to your manual reel mower.

Choosing a Push Reel Mower

Mowing with my Fiskars Push Reel

The basic construction of a reel mower is pretty much the same across brands. They mainly vary in characteristics like:

  • Weight. How heavy will it be when you’re pushing it?
  • Cutting width. The longer and bigger the mower is, the heavier it will be, but the less passes you’ll have to make back and forth on your lawn, and thus the faster you’ll get the job done.
  • Cutting heights. What’s the range of heights you can adjust the blades up and down?
  • Direction of grass spray. Does the grass spray behind the mower or out in front? Obviously the latter has an advantage in not covering your feet with clippings.

When I was looking for a reel mower, I did a lot of research and finally brought home the Fiskars Staysharp Max Push Reel Lawn Mower. This thing isn’t your grandpa’s heavy old contraption. The folks at Fiskars have taken the old manual reel mower design and updated it for the 21st century: it’s 60% easier to push than other manual mowers, boasts twice the cutting power of competitors, sprays the grass out in front of you, and the blades only need sharpening every 5-10 years (that’s the “StaySharp” bit). It’s fast, powerful, and maneuverable. Not to mention kind of fun to use. After mowing with my Fiskars for nearly two months, I can confidently say that it’s given me the best mowing experience I’ve ever had. Kate and I even fight over who gets to mow the lawn now (the compromise: I mow the front; she mows the back). I can’t sing the mower’s praises highly enough ( and I don’t have any affiliation with the company whatsoever, by the way–just a very happy customer ).

Look at that beautiful cascade of grass.

If your only experience with a push reel mower was using a heavy clunker in your youth, I highly recommend giving the Fiskars a try. It will change your mind about manual mowers.

The Benefits of a Push Reel Mower

Push reel mowers are better for your grass’ health. This was my biggest motivating factor for purchasing a push reel mower as opposed to a power rotary mower. As mentioned above, power rotary mowers cut the grass by chopping and tearing your grass, while reel mowers cut the grass by snipping it cleanly like a pair of scissors. Torn and shredded grass leaves your lawn vulnerable to disease and insect attacks; grass that is cleanly cut with a reel mower heals faster and is less vulnerable to those maladies.

Push reel mowers make your lawn look nicer. Not only are reel mowers better for your grass’ health, they leave your lawn looking professionally manicured. Again, it all goes back to the scissor-like way the reel mower cuts the grass. Clean and even cuts make for a clean and even-looking lawn. The reel mower’s superior cut is the reason why groundskeepers at professional baseball stadiums and golf courses use large reel mowers pulled by tractors. The reel cut makes the grass look purty.

Push reel mowers are quiet. One of the things I hated the most about the old gas-powered Lawn Boy of my youth was the noise. First, it’s just grating to have to listen to a loud and obnoxious two-stroke engine for extended periods of time. Second, because the thing was so stinking loud, I couldn’t mow the grass too early or too late in the evening, lest I disturb the neighbors. That’s not a problem if you live in, say, Vermont, where summer days are pleasantly warm and idyllic (if it’s not raining). When you live in hot and humid Oklahoma, however, mowing your yard during the day with the sun beating down on you is downright miserable.

The push reel mower solves both of those noise-related problems. The only sound it makes is a satisfyingly quiet “snip-snip-snip” as the mower cuts the grass. I love hearing that sound. It’s actually rather soothing. And because my manual reel mower is so darn quiet, I can mow my lawn early in the morning without waking up the neighbors. Goodbye 107-degrees-with-a-heat-index-of-a-115 lawn mowing sessions!

Push reel mowers don’t emit pollution. Don’t let the smallness of your power lawn mower engine deceive you. That sucker spits out a crap load of air pollution. If you let a typical gas-powered lawn mower run for an hour, it will produce as much air pollution as a sedan running for two hundred miles. Jeez-um!

The amount of pollution a push reel mower produces? Zilch. Unless of course you count the relaxing farts you rip as you cut the grass.

If you’re an environmentally-conscious guy, the choice is clear between power and manual. You gotta go manual.

Push reel mowers are hassle-free. Push reel mowers are simple machines. You push it and blades spin around and cut your grass. That’s it. No pulling starter cords or priming the engine before you can mow. Just start walking and–bam!–you’re cutting the grass. Also, you’ll never have to buy gas, oil, or spark plugs ever again. About the only maintenance you’ll have with your manual reel mower is blade sharpening, and some folks think that’s more of an enjoyable, mind-settling task than a chore. And again, with the Fiskars, you’ll only have to sharpen the blades every half decade or so.

Push reel mowers are cheaper. Even a “top-of-the-line” reel mower like the Fiskars costs less than most power mowers. And if you get one of the smaller, classic models, they can run you less than 100. Plus, there are no maintenance costs. With gas as high as they are, why waste a single drop tooling around your backyard?

Push reel mowers exercise your body. There’s no autodrive on a push reel mower. These bad boys are man-powered. The Fiskars is particularly heavy for a reel mower (52 lbs), but is designed in a way that makes it easier to push, and it gives me a nice bout of exercise; hard enough to work up a satisfying sweat, but not so hard it leaves me feeling exhausted. It’s kind of like pushing a Prowler Sled around your yard, except for that when you’re done, you’re in better shape and your lawn has been mowed.

Push reel mowers are safer than power mowers. In a careless moment a power mower can turn into a rolling death trap, or at least an appendage mauler. than 75,000 Americans, 10,000 of which are children, are injured in lawn mowing accidents annually, and, get this, 75 people die from lawn mowing accidents every year. Mowing over a grass-hidden rock can turn it into a projectile capable of traveling 200 mph and taking out someone’s eye, and the power mower’s fast-whirling blades have eaten up children’s toes and hands. And even if your power mower isn’t running, you’re still at risk for an accident. I burnt my hand on a hot lawn mower engine as a boy and still have the scar to prove it.

While some dangers still exist when using a reel mower, they’re much, much safer than power mowers. Unless I ran the thing right over someone Tom and Jerry-style, there’s little risk of it chewing up a limb. If you run over a rock, instead of shooting it out like a bullet, your mower just jams. Also, no hot engines to burn yourself on.

Push reel mowers make mowing a pleasure. As a young man, I saw lawn mowing as a chore that you had to do every week. I didn’t look forward to it. I just did it because I had to. Since I’ve started mowing with my Fiskars push reel mower, mowing the grass has turned from a chore into a pleasure. I actually look forward to lawn mowing day. Really! I love pushing it in the cool of the early morning as birds chirp at the day’s start. I love listening to the quiet “snip-snip-snip” of grass cutting. I love the physicality of it–how it feels a little like pushing a plow. I love watching tiny blades of cut grass spit out in front of my mower in a green cascade. Most of all, I love the satisfying feeling I get as I look over my cleanly cut lawn.

Is a Push Reel Mower Right For You?

In Gran Torino, Korean War vet Walt Kowalski calms his mind before confronting a violent gang by mowing his yard with a manual reel mower. Manly.

Now before you head to the home improvement store to pick up a push reel mower, you need to know that it’s not for everybody. Sometimes power or riding mowers are actually better, depending on a variety of factors. Below I highlight a few of these factors you should consider before switching to a push reel mower.

Your yard is a half-acre or smaller. Manual reel mowers are suited for small to medium-sized yards. Most experts agree that if you have to mow more than 8,000 square feet, you’re better off using a power push or riding mower. Although I will say that my yard is on the large end of a medium-sized yard, and it only takes me 45 minutes to mow with my manual mower. And if your yard is the size of most yards in suburban developments, there really isn’t any reason you shouldn’t use a push reel mower.

You can’t bag clippings. If you’re one of those folks who prefer to bag your clippings, then a push reel mower probably isn’t for you. While some push reel mowers have a basket that will catch your clippings, they don’t work very well, and many don’t offer any clipping catcher at all.

However, if you’re a devoted-bagger, you might reconsider your stance. Most lawn care experts agree that you shouldn’t bag your clippings and should just leave them in your grass. Grass clippings are fertilizer for your lawn. They provide the same beneficial nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium nutrients that are in commercial fertilizers, except they’re free.

Not great for excessively bumpy and overgrown yards. I’ve noticed that on areas of my lawn that have a lot of bumps, the reel mower doesn’t do a good job of cutting, mainly because the wheels can’t get good traction to move the blade. I’ll usually have to come back and trim that with my weed-wacker. It’s not a problem because there’s only one part in my lawn that gives me trouble.

Also, push reel mowers work best on yards that are already well-maintained. They don’t cut really long grass too well, so if you always let your grass get pretty long before you cut it, you’re better off using a power mower.

What sort of grass do you have? Manual reel mowers work better on some types of grass than others. Most reel mowers have a hard time handling extra thick grasses like Zoysia, St. Augustine, and Bermuda. Never fear. If you have a lawn that’s made completely of one of these grasses, you’re not necessarily relegated to just gas-powered mowers. Heavier, more powerful manual reel mowers like the Fiskars don’t have a problem with these types of grasses. Adjusting the height of the reel mower’s blades can also prevent the mower from getting bogged down in thick grass.

Shave Like Your Grandpa, Mow Like Your Grandpa

After a couple of months of using my push reel mower, I really don’t know why the manual mower isn’t more popular or why most folks get the gas-powered variety. It seems quite analogous to shaving. There are a few things where the classic turns out to do just as good a job (sometimes an even better one), and provides a more enjoyable and satisfying experience to boot. The safety razor is one of those things. And so is the push reel mower. Give it a try!

How to Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades

Your mower blades are the “business” end of your lawnmower: keeping them sharp is one of the most crucial lawn mower maintenance tasks you can complete. To be blunt, dull blades damage your lawn and can even wear your lawnmower prematurely. So here’s how to sharpen your lawnmower blades.

Is it worth sharpening the mower blade?

It is critical to the health of your lawn–and the safe operation of your lawnmower–that you keep your blades sharp. A dull lawnmower blade does not slice grass stalks, it tears them. This tearing results in a jagged grass stalk that exposes the plant to disease.

A torn grass stalk often turns yellow; a lawn of torn grass can have an ugly, yellowish hue. This lawn is also susceptible to plant diseases.

A dull mower blade can be dangerous: nicks and chips in a mower blade’s surface can leave one side lighter than the other. This blade imbalance can eventually damage spinning components. And finally, a dull blade makes your lawnmower work harder–and wear out sooner.

Can I sharpen my own lawn mower blade?

Many homeowners and landscapers sharpen their own lawnmower blades, and you can too. The most time-consuming part of the task can be removing the blades from your mower, and the most dangerous aspect can be using a blade sharpener or other cutting tool to remove metal from the edge of your blades until they’re sharp.

I actually enjoy sharpening my mower blades. But I find the most mundane part of the process to be removing the blades from the mower. If you have a push mower, you will want to drain its gas, turn it on its side, secure the blade from spinning, and use a socket and ratchet to remove the nut holding your mower blade in place.

If you have a riding mower, you will need to jack it up to access the bottom of your mower deck and remove your blades. The Home Depot recommends you fix your blade in place by wedging a 2”x4” between your blade and deck, then clamping the board to the deck.

I have seen some mower mechanics slip a length of wide-diameter pipe over the end of the mower blade, then hold the pipe in place with one hand while using the other hand to spin the ratchet loosening the nut holding the blade in one place. But I feel that clamping each blade in place is safer mower maintenance for an amateur like me.

Finally, you may need some penetrating oil and even a breaker bar to remove your blades if they have been rusted in place for a while.

What is the easiest way to sharpen lawn mower blades?

Any job is easier with the right tools. A lawnmower blade sharpener is a round tool you spin with a power drill. It is angled, so you get a perfect blade edge every time.

After you have removed your mower blade, clamp it to a table or workbench. No matter what tool you use to sharpen your blades, you’ll want to protect yourself from metal shavings with gloves and safety glasses.

lawn, mower, work, bench

The Home Depot says that you then use a hand file or a blade sharpener stone and power drill to remove metal from the edge of your blade until it is sharp again.

How sharp should a lawnmower blade be?

Be sure to continue sharpening the edge of your blade past any nicks or chips in the blade’s edge. Continue sharpening until the blade’s cutting edge is not only sharp, but it’s a straight line.

The Home Depot specifies that a blade as sharp as a butter knife is sharp enough to slice your grass. But not every homeowner agrees.

Alan Hayne runs The Lawncare Nut YouTube Channel. He uses a mower blade sharpening procedure several of my friends and neighbors swear by: Hayne uses a mechanic’s angle grinder to sharpen his mower blades and always grinds them down until they are “razor-sharp.” His motto is that sharper is always better.

So who is right? Is there such a thing as too sharp?

Firstly, the sharper you get your mower blade, the more metal you must grind off of it. The more metal you remove from your mower blade with each sharpening, the sooner you must replace it.

Secondly, you stand a chance of injuring yourself while trying to reinstall a “razor-sharp” mower blade. A butter-knife-sharp blade is much safer to handle.

What is more, the edge of a razor-thin blade is not as strong as the thicker edge of a duller blade. If that razor-thin blade strikes a rock, it is more likely to bend or chip.

Finally, if a blade can slice your grass without tearing the stems, it is a sharp enough tool for the task at hand.

Do you need to balance your mower blades?

You must make sure the weight of your blade is balanced before reinstalling it on your mower. An unbalanced blade will cause an annoying vibration as it spins and can damage the rotating components of your lawnmower.

Many lawn mower blade sharpeners come with a balance-measuring tool. This tool is simply a cone that holds the blade aloft like a see-saw. Alternatively, you can use a nail driven into the wall of your shop or even a screwdriver held in your hand. Simply insert the nail or screwdriver through the hole at the center of the blade, then let go of the blade and see if its two ends balance each other.

If one side of your blade is heavier, you must remove more metal from that side until the blade is balanced. Home Depot suggests removing more metal by further sharpening the blade. But some mechanics prefer grinding metal off the “back” or non-cutting edge of the blade to preserve the cutting edge as long as possible.

Want to see how to sharpen a lawnmower blade for yourself? Check the video below: