Discussion in 'The Great Outdoors' started by Blowtorch, Aug 15, 2017.
Just wondering if any of you good folk are using the old-timey reel mower for your lawn.
I only have three small lawns so, yes, I use a reel lawn mower.
I tried to find a nice vintage one but have had no luck yet. I use a cheap modern German one, made by Wolf Garten.
Reel lawn by HanauMan posted Aug 15, 2017 at 8:23 AM
Love the sound they make...
The idea appealed so I tried in the early days of living in this 1917 home. Unfortunately I mostly had an unwieldy grass that flopped over rather than getting snipped by the blades. Had to give up and get modern with an electric weed eater instead.
We've got a modestly sized lawn, so I decided to use an old fashioned push mower. It had the added advantage that the neighbors would invariably come out to watch. Who is the crazy guy pushing a mower in this day and age? I'd tell them it was part of my workout routine. Then, after a few years, someone gave me an electric mower... and that's all she wrote!
I've been using hand-pushed reel mowers for the last 16 years; they're a good fit to the tiny front and back lawn for my 1915 urban bungalow.
For the last year or so, though, I've used an even older way of getting the lawn mowed: I handed the chore off to my 15-year-old son. He gets some exercise and earns his allowance, while I get time to spend on other tasks (or hobbies).
So, from one traditional method to another....
We had a new one when I was a kid, but the lawns were big enough it became too time consuming. Gas mowers from then on.
When my late Son was living in the Netherlands, he bought a Dutch reel push mower to mow his small lawn. When he returned to the US, he gave me the mower and I used it for a while. My house was surrounded by large Douglas Fir trees which constantly dropped fir cones and these would jam up the reel. I finally gave up and went back to the power mower. As a kid, I used a heavy old ancient push mower to deal with our acre of grass.....it was a great workout.
There was a fellow who had a sharpening shop set up in an old milk van and he came by and sharpened the blades for us several time a year. That makes a big difference when using this type of mower. Harder to find someone to sharpen these machines now.
I don't really have a lawn -- I have a couple of small patches of dry hard dirt and old coal ashes where grass sort of grows, and I find a push mower works just fine. The trick to using one is to use short, choppy, back and forth strokes rather than tootling along like you do with a power mower. And don't expect perfect, groomed results. You won't get every single dandelion, and you won't get every patch of quack grass, but don't worry about it. You don't live on a golf course.
If the city allowed livestock in-town, I'd get a goat and let him take care of the grass and the weeds and the McDonalds wrappers that blow into my dooryard.
Back in the day when the family had one and It became my job I quickly learned that the key was to keep the cutting edges sharp and to never let the grass get ahead of you. With a sharp mower and only 1|2 inch or there about to cut I could get home from school and have most of it done by dinner. took a couple of time a week to "keep to simple" though.
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