Anyone use a manual reel lawn mower?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Brian Perry, Mar 21, 2004.

  1. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 6, 1999
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    After firing my landscaper over myriad issues, I decided to start cutting my lawn myself again. I have a gas-powered mower which works fine, but I was thinking about buying a reel mower. Supposedly the technology is much improved over the older models (which seemed to just mash the lawn down). Benefits would include getting a much better workout, no fumes, and the ability to cut the lawn during parts of the day that I can't with a powered motor (due to the noise). They also say the lawn is healthier being "scissor-cut" with a reel mower than with a rotary blade that tears the grass.

    My concern is that the cutting swath is only 15" on the particular model I'm looking at (Brill Lux 38). Will it take me forever to cut my 1/3-acre lawn? My lawn is very flat, so at least I won't have to go over a bunch of inclines.

    Any experience with this type of mower would be appreciated!
     
  2. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    I have an 18 inch cut reel mower, it would take me about 40 minutes to cut my .05 acre lawn (1/20th acre)
    the major hassle is that you can get no closer than 4 inches to any object because of the wheels being outside the reel and they will not cut more than about 1 inch at a time, lots of cutting if the grass grows fast

    I also have a cordless electric mower made by black & decker, might be a better option for you
     
  3. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 1998
    Messages:
    726
    Likes Received:
    0
  4. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 1999
    Messages:
    2,563
    Likes Received:
    37
    Real Name:
    Brian
    I use mine on the front and side yards, weeds permiting. If the weeds get too bad, I have to break out the Honda. It's not too useful in the back yard since I have an acre back there and about 50 trees to mow around. (And I've got two more trees to plant!)
     
  5. James T

    James T Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 1999
    Messages:
    1,643
    Likes Received:
    0
    When my grandfather was recovering from a stroke, I volunteered to cut his lawn. All he had was a manual lawn mower that wasn't as pretty looking as Lance's and it looked(and probably is) about 50 years old. I don't know if the blades were dull or if I was doing something wrong, but I could barely cut the grass. I spent maybe five minutes and was only able to cover a small patch about 5x5 feet.
     
  6. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,654
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Pittsfield, MA
    Real Name:
    Jay
    Great, maybe you can weld it to trailer and you can mount it behind a bike and you can bike up and down your lawn and do that 1/3 acre in no time!... Hey, folks have made snow plows on bikes, why not a lawn mower...

    Jay
     
  7. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    1,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Real Name:
    Greg
    I have 2 friends who use manual lawnmowers (on about 1/4 acre of property). As long as you maintain the mower (keep it sharp and oiled) it will work very well.
     
  8. Greg Rakaska

    Greg Rakaska Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 16, 1999
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    0
    Eric Kahn
    Tell me more about the B&D cordless. I was eyeballin' one of these this week. I have a fairly small lot, and one of these might do the trick.

    How long does it run on a charge?

    Any idea on battery life, ow any years do they last, etc?

    Can you get replacement batteries?

    Thanks for any info!
     
  9. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    I have an American Lawnmower "Deluxe Light" 18" reel mower that I used at my townhouse. Now that I've moved into a house with a slightly larger lawn I'm planning on buying an electric bagging lawnmower from Costco. I may keep the reel mower for some days. I've read that the scisor cut is much better for the grass than a rip cut of a circular blade. It may be better for my fresh sod, and apparently the clippings are good for the lawn as well. I keep mine pretty sharp with a sharpening kit, but I still have to go over the yard twice to get an even cut.

    I don't like the idea of cordless electric lawn mowers. They are heavy because of the (expensive marine) battery and there's no way they have the torque of a plug-in mower. Kind of like electric drills compared to cordless drills. If you don't mind an extension cord a plug-in electric can be had for less than $200.
     
  10. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2000
    Messages:
    3,813
    Likes Received:
    0
    We bought one for our first house which had a small yard, maybe we bought a cheap one... but it would leave random long blades of grass sticking up.

    I think the key was to mow often.
     
  11. Mark Fontana

    Mark Fontana Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 1999
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Mark
    I have been using a Scotts Classic 20" reel mower to mow my suburban yard for the past four years, much to the amusement of my neighbors; I have not seen anyone else nearby using this type of mower. My lot size is about 180x80', with about a 4 foot raised hill in the back. If the yard were any larger, I would probably not bother with the reel mower.

    As others have said, you can't let the grass get too long. I usually have to mow twice a week from late April through June... then every 5-7 days through summer.

    You can't get as close to trees, edges etc. as you can with a power mower. I use a corded string trimmer to clean up the edges about every other mow.

    Having the reel mower sharpened by a shop with the appropriate equipment every 3 years or so is crucial. (There's a special machine for this and the DIY sharpening kits don't compare.)

    A light coating of silicone spray lubricant before each mow will help a lot (works better than WD-40).

    Reel mowers only cut when moving in a forward direction. So for an obstacle like a tree, it's best to keep the mower moving by going around and around in a spiral. Otherwise you spend too much time just going forwards and backwards in a small area.

    Based on observing my neighbors, it takes me about 20-30% longer to mow my yard than it takes them to mow theirs (similar yard sizes).

    For a nice result with a reel mower, it helps to overlap adjacent cuts by 1/2 the cutting width so that you hit each blade of grass from two directions. I don't mind doing this if the weather is pleasant.

    It definitely feels healthier to not be breathing gasoline exhaust. It is a good workout too, really not much harder than pushing a non-self-propelled power mower.
     
  12. John Giddens

    John Giddens Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2001
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Greg Rakaska,

    There is a current discussion about the B&D cordless here http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=190472

    As to your questions,

    How long does it run on a charge?

    After 4+ years of ownership I'm not sure because I've never ran out of juice lol. I probably have close to an acre of lawn to mow.

    Any idea on battery life, how many years do they last, etc?

    At least 4+ years so far on mine, otherwise I have no idea. I'm actually surprised it's lasted this long, who knows how much longer it will last.

    Can you get replacement batteries?

    Sure. At the Dewalt service site you will find an exploded view of the mower with the part numbers and their descriptions along with prices. The 24volt battery is $121.14 however I believe you can find the exact same battery elsewhere like an Interstate Battery Store for less.
     
  13. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 1998
    Messages:
    726
    Likes Received:
    0
    My parents own a near ache lot in town, and as kid I used to mow it all the time using a reel mower.

    Keep the blades sharp, adn the gears oiled and you will have no problems. BTW, Lee Vally sells sharpening kits for ALL reel mowers as well.
     
  14. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,030
    Likes Received:
    0
    Funny. I'm getting ready to sod my "yard" it's about 15' by 25' with about a 5'x5' block taken up by the front porch, so I've been considering a reel mower. I wondered about the wheels being set so far out from the blades, that might be the dealbreaker [​IMG]
     

Share This Page