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How to Lap a Powered Reel Mower

Learning how to lap a reel mower is very important if you want to ensure that the mower delivers the best efficiency. A lot of people choose not to do that, but the truth is that it can actively make a difference. Also, it won’t affect the product quality in any way. If anything, lapping will help you sharpen the blades without damaging them. Here are the steps you need to follow!

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  1. The first thing you want to do is to remove the grass clippings and debris that can be found within the mower, you can use a hose for that. Then you want to spray some degreaser on a bed knife and the blades, scrub it with a plastic brush (or toothbrush) to remove all of the unwanted debris.
  2. Now you want to use a wrench to turn the bed knife rod or bolt, but try to back the bed knife away to prevent it from touching the reel. Check to see if any of the reels are damaged. At this time you shouldn’t have any movement in your reel. If you do, then that means repairs need to be done before you start lapping the reel mower.
  3. Apply a waterproof lubricant to the rollers and reel bearings. The idea is to prevent any type of wear, not to mention it makes the mowing action smoother.
  4. Afterwards you need to adjust the bed knife to offer reel clearance. Add a section of paper that’s roughly 1 inch wide, and then rotate the reel just one blade at a time. As you do that, turn the bed knife rod or bolt. As you do that, the paper needs to drag as it’s pulled. It’s a good test since it helps you figure out the overall clearance you are getting here.
  5. You need to turn the mower on its side, and now slide the C-Clip with a flathead screwdriver. You must slide the wheel away from its axle, usually this will work manually. Slide the drive gear of the wheel in a similar fashion. You should also slide the hand crank on the gear axle. You will notice that the sharpening kit has the paintbrush, sharpening compounds and also a hand crank.
  6. Continue by applying the sharpening compound with the brush on all reel blades. After you do that, you just have to turn the crank backwards as it will help you sharpen the blades. It’s normal for the blades to generate a grinding sound. As the grinding continues, you will have less noise. You can start with a 120-grit compound and then at the end you apply the 180-grit compound since it helps offer a finer result.
  7. You need to remove the hand crank from the axle, and then you can slide in the gear, slide the C-clip on the axle and wash any of the compound with help from a garden hose. Adjust the cutting setting to the highest one for your mower, and then test it out. You will normally have a smooth operation if you sharpened everything properly.


The great thing about lapping a reel mower is that the process won’t take a lot of time, and it works very well. You won’t have a problem lapping the reel mower, it all comes down to following the right steps. Once you do that, your mower will be good to go and you can start mowing without having to worry about dull blades or any excess noise.

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