You take pride in having a well-manicured lawn. You purchased a Gravely lawn mower to help you achieve a great cut. While a Gravely lawn mower gives a nice cut, you must maintain your mower blades so it continues to do so.
Making a large investment in a good mower won’t be worth much if you don’t take the time to service the mower and sharpen the blades.
Follow the safety precautions outlined in your Gravely owner’s manual. This includes preventing the mower from starting and shifting while working under the mower.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
How Often Should You Change Your Mower Blades?
Gravely lawn mower blades should be changed once a year. The blades will need to be periodically inspected for damage and wearing during the mowing season.
How Often Should You Sharpen Your Mower Blades?
Gravely lawn mower blades should be sharpened after every 25 hours of use. This is about twice a year for the average homeowner. Mowing in dry dusty conditions will increase wear on the blades and require more frequent sharpening.
Do New Blades Need to be Sharpened?
Gravely lawn mower blades do not need to be sharpened when they are purchased new. They are sharpened during the manufacturing process. The blades will be coated with paint that will wear off the mower blade edges once you begin using them.
Inspect Your Mower Blades for Damage
It is important to check your blades for damage or wearing to maintain the quality of the cut. Using a damaged or worn blade will give you an uneven or bad cut. It can also cause additional damage to components on your deck and require your engine to work harder.
Read more about items that can cause an uneven cut here. Keep reading for blade conditions you need to watch out for.
Wearing on the Blade Sail
The sail of the mower blade can wear from sand and dirt that is sucked into the deck during mowing. The top of the sail will appear thinner on the sail than it does toward the center of the blade.
Chips & Dings in the Blade Edge
Your mower blades can get chips and dings in them when they hit items in the yard. Small chips and dings can usually be removed by sharpening your mower blades. If you have large chips and gouges in your blades, you should replace them to achieve a good cut.
Mower Blade is Bent
A mower blade can bend when you impact a hard object. Sometimes it’s a significant bend and other times It is only a slight bend. Either way, you must replace a bent blade, not only for the quality of the cut but also to prevent additional damage to your Gravely mower.
You should never attempt to straighten a bent blade even if it is only a little bend. Straightening a metal mower blade compromises the integrity of the material and weakens it.
There is a possibility of a piece of the blade breaking off. When this happens as the blade spins at high speeds, you can subject people, pets, or other items to injury from flying metal.
Check for a bent Gravely blade by removing it from the deck
Remove your blade from your mower deck and place it on top of a new blade to check for a bend in the blade. When the used blade doesn’t lay flat against the new blade and you notice a bend, you must replace the blade.
Check for a bent Gravely blade while installed on the deck
You can also check for a bend in your blade while it is installed on your Gravely. To do this, park your mower on a hard-level surface.
Take a measurement from the ground to the blade tip and then rotate your blade 180 degrees and take another measurement from the ground to the blade tip.
If the measurement is greater than a 1/8” difference, you need to remove and replace your lawn mower blade with a new blade.
Another thing to remember is, when the impact on your blade is significant, you can damage your blade spindle and housing. You need to check this before you remove your blade.
Do this by grabbing a hold of both blades and rocking the blade up and down. Wear a good pair of gloves so you don’t cut your hands on your blade edges.
Feel for movement and listen for a knocking sound. If you notice either of these, you need to remove your spindle housings and check for damage. You can usually replace your Gravely spindle bearing or replace the whole spindle assembly.
Mower Blade is Cracked
Replace the Gravely blade if you find a crack. Using a blade that is cracked can be extremely dangerous. A cracked lawn mower blade has the potential to break off while mowing which can send flying metal through the air. This could injure a person or cause damage to the siding of a home.
Items that Can Damage Your Gravely Mower Blade
You can prevent some premature wear and damage on your Gravely blade by removing any items from your yard before you mow. Take time to walk through your yard and look for objects that can damage your blades and remove them.
- Sticks, Rocks, and Toys
Solid items in your yard that are run over by your Gravely mower can damage your mower blade. A fast-spinning blade impacting sticks, rocks, toys, and other items can cause your blade to bend or become gouged. When you have a significant impact, you can cause vibrations through your mower from spindle housing damage.
- Sand & Nature’s Debris
Sand and debris can cause your Gravely blades to become dull and worn at an increasing rate. A lawn that is sparse with grass has a lot of sand in the yard that is pulled into the mower deck and wearing your blades.
While you’re waiting for your grass to fill in and become a thick carpet of grass, there’s not much you can do to prevent the amount of dirt from entering your deck.
- Lawn Chemicals
Some homeowners choose to use chemicals on their lawns to help with lawn health and growth. Some of the chemicals used can corrode your deck components and cause your blades to fuse to your mower deck.
Remove your mower blades periodically to ensure they don’t form a tight seal that prevents you from removing them next time.
How to Remove & Change Your Gravely Mower Blades
Here are the steps to remove your Gravely Blades:
Gather tools to remove blades
- Work Gloves
- Safety Glasses
- Torque Wrench
- Cordless Impact Gun (Optional)
Remove the Spark Plug Boot
Always remove the spark plug boots and the ignition key from your Gravely mower. You do not want the mower to start with you working under the mower deck. Set your parking brake.
Stay safe by following these safety tips along with wearing safety glasses and using work gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges on your blades.
Remove the Mower Blades
Remove your mower blades using a socket and ratchets. If they don’t come off easily, you may want to use a cordless impact gun.
You can also attempt to remove stubborn bolts by placing a block of wood over the head of the bolt. Hit the block with a hammer to loosen the bolt so you can turn it.
Remove the bolt, blade, and any washers your Gravely may use. Reinstall your blades and parts in the opposite order you took them off. If you are reusing your blades, make sure they are sharpened and balanced before reinstalling.
How to Safely Sharpen Gravely Lawn Mower Blades DIY
You can save some time and money by sharpening your own Gravely mower blades. There are several different tools that can be used to sharpen your blades including a metal file, a drill-powered blade sharpener, or a disc grinder. Follow these steps to sharpen your blades:
Gather the tools you will need
- 10″ flat metal file, drill-powered blade sharpener, or disc grinder
- A vice to hold the blade in place
- Blade balancer or nail on the wall
- Wire Brush
- Safety glasses
- Work gloves
Put on Safety Glasses and Gloves
Clean the Blade
Use a rag to clean the dirt off your mower blades. A wire brush can be used for stubborn areas of buildup.
Secure the Blade
Securely place your blade in a vice to keep it from shifting during sharpening. After sharpening one side, you will flip the blade and secure it in the vice while you sharpen the other side.
File or grind the blade to sharpen the edge
Sharpen with a metal file
- Using a file, push the file at an angle in one direction along the blade.
- Do not use a sawing motion when filing.
- Once all the rough spots and uneven edges are removed, flip the blade over, secure in the vice, and sharpen the other side.
Sharpen with a drill-powered blade sharpener.
- Power the drill with the blade sharpener attached.
- Place the flat guide of the sharpener along the flat portion of the blade with the cutting edge slot into the bevel.
- Move the sharpener up and down the length of the blade edge.
- Once one side is sharpened without any rough spots or nicks, flip the blade over, secure in the vice, and sharpen using the same procedure.
Sharpen with an angle grinder or bench grinder
- Hold the angle grinder perpendicular to the edge of the blade. Run the grinder along the length of the blade to level out any rough spots or nicks. Keep the grinder moving so it removes a little metal at a time and produces an even result.
- Once one side is sharpened without any rough spots or nicks, flop the blade over, secure in the vice, and sharpen using the same procedure.
How to Balance Your Gravely Mower Blades
After you sharpen your mower blades, it’s necessary to balance them so you don’t damage your lawn mower. To have balanced blades means each side of your mower blade is equally weighted. When they don’t have the same weight on both sides of the blade, the blade can cause your mower to shake.
Use a blade balancer to check for equal weight on each side of your blade. It’s not a very expensive item and an item that can save you from repair expenses when you don’t have your blades properly balanced.
You need to shave metal off the heavy side of the blade until the weight of the blade is equal on both sides.
Another option to check the balance of your blade is using a nail on the wall where the nail head sits about an inch away from the wall. Place the center hole of the blade over the nail and watch to see if the blade hangs lower on the right or left-hand side of the blade.
You will want to remove more metal off the side that hangs lower until the blade sits level on the nail.
When You Should Seek a Professional Sharpening Service for Your Gravely
I can sharpen my mower blades myself and I even have the tools to do so, but I still choose to have my local lawn mower dealership sharpen my blades.
The dealer does a much better job than I do and it’s convenient. I drop them off at the dealership and pick them up a couple of days later.
The timeline works for me because I always have a second set of sharpened blades on hand so the wait doesn’t bother me. You may choose to have a professional sharpen your blades because:
- It is a safer option to sharpen the blade yourself
- Sharpening a blade is often less expensive than purchasing a blade
- A professional can grind down mower blades to get rid of large nicks and gouges in the steel
- The blade is properly balanced. This will reduce vibration and damage to your mower deck.