Which Side of The Lawn Mower Blade is Up?
In order to make sure your lawn mower is cutting the grass properly, you'll need to keep your blades sharp, and possibly replace them. Mower blades feature a cutting edge at both ends. It is very common for people to install these blades upside down. This could damage your lawn mower because the incorrectly installed blade won't cut the lawn correctly. Here are a few tips to ensure that your blade is facing in the right direction after you've installed it:
- Examine the blade - The majority of new blades will have etched wording or a stamp directly on the blade that should instruct you on which side ought to face the ground when it's installed. Look for the words "This Side Down" or "Toward Grass" on the blade
- Examine the blade to locate the cutting edge - Blades will have two cutting edges. One edge is dull and looks like the blade has a bend. The dull edge should be pointed back towards the mower deck (the rust or corrosion resistant part of the mower that protects a user (and the engine) from the blade itself and any debris that shoots off from the blade). The cutting edge is opposite the trailing edge and is usually sharpened to a point
- Hold the deck firmly with one hand and the blade in the other hand. Use your hand to pull steadily. If you feel a rocking movement in the blade, examine it to make certain that is correctly attached to the shaft, and then tighten up the bolt that secures it using a socket wrench
- Once you're certain that the blade is on tightly and correctly you can then tilt your mower back to its upright position
Mulching blades are a little different from standard lawnmower blades. A mulching blade can have either a bend or a fin that is cut right into the back part of the blade. The fin will cause a partial vacuum inside the mower deck which will cause the grass clippings to swirl around underneath the deck so the blade will cut them a few times before they hit the ground. The tinier pieces of lawn clippings will break down easier than the larger clippings, and that means a natural fertilizer which is nitrogen-rich for your yard. Here are a few tips for mulching blades:
- Examine both sides of the blade and look for a model number printed on the underside or the word 'bottom' which might be stamped on it. Regardless of whether its a number or a word, the side where it's printed needs to be facing the ground after installation
- Check out the mulching blade's shape. One part of the blade should be bent upward slightly. The bend on some brands is small, but they'll have metal flaps cut into the blade's back which will bend upward. Either the flap points or the slight bend protrusion needs to be facing the mowing deck's inside after installation
- Finally, check out the part called the bevel which is located on the mulching blade's cutting edge. The bevel is the part that cuts. It should be on the top part of the blade or the side that will be facing away from the ground whenever the lawnmower is in its upright cutting position
A word of caution - If you're examining a blade already mounted on your lawn mower, make sure to drain your gas tank and disconnect any spark plug wires before tipping your mower on its side. That way, you'll avoid any accidental starts or any fuel spills.