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Old 06-10-2008, 07:43 AM   #1
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Reel Lawn Mower


Bought one of the old fashioned Reel Mowers a few years ago when we had a lawn the size of a postage stamp and no money for a gas mower.

It worked, kind of.

Frankly, when you're renting a house there's not much incentive to make the lawn look nice. Like the economist once said, "Nobody ever washes a rental car."

We bought a house with a decent yard, inherited an old gas mower with a rebuilt engine and used it for a season. This year, there's nothing I want to spend my money less on than my lawn. So the reel mower came out again.

And it was pretty good exercise for a few weeks. We only have to mow up here twice a month with a gas mower, and as it turns out, about once a week with a reel mower. Unless you forget. And then you end up mowing foot high weeds with the mower - which means doing the whole yard in six inch strips, twice.

Frankly, I hurt like hell today. Maybe saving the half gallon on this particular chore isn't the best idea I've had.

B
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:12 PM   #2
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You need something like a miniature pot still with an oil lamp under it, you seal the output though and run the gases into the carb, and collect the liquid... Stick a load of grass clippings in the still and fire up the oil lamp, wait 5 mins and try and start the mower on it... get about 10 mins of mowing... refill the oil lamp with the liquid, and refill the still with grass clippings...

Well there's a workable theory behind it, but it would take some tinkering to get a good setup. In the meantime, keep the pusher well oiled and push with your legs, not your back or shoulders.
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:19 PM   #3
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Reel mowers do actually need to be sharpened. But the people that used to do that kind of stuff are long gone. It's a neat idea, but probably more issues to overcome.

Goats might be easier.
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:24 PM   #4
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You can do it with rabbits as well... get a big wire bottomed "run" on wheels and move it around.
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:57 PM   #5
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from what I've heard, modern reel mowers are a lot easier to use than older ones. I think a recumbent reel mower would to interesting, as leg muscles are generally stronger and the position would be more comfortable.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:15 PM   #6
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Think I'll stick to my 20 HP Kohler with 50" cut. I would rather buy 2 gallons of gas every couple of weeks than stay sore all summer. Although I remember as a kid my grandparents having a reel mower and I loved it back then. Shows how dumb a 10 year old is. I wouldn't get done in time to start over with a reel mower. An acre and a half and probably averages about a 20% grade all over. Wouldn't be so bad going down hill, but that trip back up would be HELL.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:41 PM   #7
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My Scotts brand reel mower works great, of course it's sharp to, most golf courses can sharpen them as they cut better and leave a healthier grass so they often have a gang of 4 of them that is pulled, a friend just got a 3 gang reel mower that he is pulling with a horse... and loves it.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypermile View Post
from what I've heard, modern reel mowers are a lot easier to use than older ones. I think a recumbent reel mower would to interesting, as leg muscles are generally stronger and the position would be more comfortable.
Yeah, should move okay with standard mountain bike "low range" gearing..... myself I'd probably try to bolt two wheels together on the back, or use a donut spare tire instead or something.
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Old 06-10-2008, 06:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
My Scotts brand reel mower works great, of course it's sharp to, most golf courses can sharpen them as they cut better and leave a healthier grass so they often have a gang of 4 of them that is pulled, a friend just got a 3 gang reel mower that he is pulling with a horse... and loves it.
Mine is also modern manufacture, and I'll check in with the local golf course on sharpening the blades or learning who sharpens them for the club. Thanks for the good idea!

I like the quiet - if I were mowing anything larger than my yard, I'd probably break out the 5hp/20" Briggs & Scrap Iron mower.

B
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Old 06-12-2008, 07:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD26 View Post
Reel mowers do actually need to be sharpened. But the people that used to do that kind of stuff are long gone. It's a neat idea, but probably more issues to overcome.

Goats might be easier.
No, they're around in force. You just don't hear about them.

They sharpen the blades of golf course mowers, which are almost always exclusively reel mowers (though not always human powered).
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