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Push Mower

 
                                        
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OK Paul,

I love your web site, however with you recommending pushing one of those monsters and telling people it is easier to push one of those than it is to use a push power mower? OK, now that statement makes me wonder about you. I think someone has brainwashed you at an early age about pushing a reel mower vs. on pushing a mower powered by an engine or motor of some type. Did your mom or dad tell you this and give you a cookie or a heath bar every time they told you it twenty-one times?  I use to mow my papa's lawn from the time I was around seven years old until I was eighteen year old. We lived in Fullerton CA and in San Jose CA and my dad and others felt it necessary to take care of a  dichondra lawn. GRRRR!

I hated that blasted stuff and the only way he said I could cut the crap was with a reel mower. That funny little lawn could really get thick and was quite a chore for a little guy like me to mow. I would have to get a running start on the cement sidewalk, driveway of something mowed for about ten feet to make it to the other side without stopping because of, Not enough power in the kid. lol Finally when I was 18 and moving out he purchased a gas powered reel mower. While I admit I have not put a load cell on the bars of a push mower and checked to see how much weight it took to push through the grass of a one inch trim of normal grass. I'll bet the power mower is a lot less. I have used both myself and I know it is a lot easier to push the one that cuts the grass with a four horse engine through the grass. Nice try though. lol I love your Web site. It is really full of so many useful things. Thanks for taking the time to build it and sharing the information with us all!

Best Regards,
Dent

dribble on!
 
paul wheaton
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(sorry for the delay, I'm getting caught up on lots of stuff ...)

with you recommending pushing one of those monsters and telling people it is easier to push one of those than it is to use a push power mower? OK, now that statement makes me wonder about you. I think someone has brainwashed you at an early age about pushing a reel mower vs. on pushing a mower powered by an engine or motor of some type. Did your mom or dad tell you this and give you a cookie or a heath bar every time they told you it twenty-one times?


Let's fiddle with a bit of math. 

You will admit that a manual mower is lighter, right?  Would you be willing to say that the manual mower is probably three times lighter (maybe more)?

Assuming that is the case .... 

Would you then say that pushing the manual mower around and no grass is being cut is twice as easy as doing the same with a gas mower? 

When you mow low, I have to agree with you:  this is going to be damn near impossible.  At the very least, it will be freakishly frustrating.  If you take a traditional manual mower and set it as high as it will go, it will still be terribly difficult - much harder than using a power mower.  But .... if you mow at a height of at least 3 inches, it turns out you usually are not mowing much grass.  I would speculate that mowing at 3 inches would be about seven times easier than mowing at 1.75 inches (the maximum height for the old school manual mowers). 

If you let your lawn grow to 6 to 12 inches inches tall, the manual mower is going to do a really lame job and it's going to be a lot of work.  But!  If you mow every couple of weeks when it is 4 to 5 inches tall, the manual mower will be easy to use.  Easier than a gas mower.

And if you are mowing short, you will need to mow two to four times more often.  So if you mow tall, you won't mow as often, and the manual will be easier.



 
                                        
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Hmmm?

OK, all things being done from a control of 3 inch high lawn, with 30 blades of grass per square inch, with each blade being 1/8 of an inch wide by 1/100 of an inch thick. I came up with this after looking at the Kentucky blue grass growing on my front lawn. Looking at the rolling mass of a push reel mower with the blades being set up with the proper tolerance and sharpened. We will use a power reel mower with 6 blades and a push reel mower with 6 blades each geared 11 to 1. We can push the un-powered mower without grass at X pounds of force on the handles. Then we can take the power mower with out grass and push it. This may be a problem because I have never seen a power reel mower that did not have a powered drive system. There are so many variables involved with rolling mass I suppose all I can say at this point is, HELP! If we un hook the drive and just push the mower it will take more X to get it rolling because of the extra weight of the engine, but because of the extra weight it would maintain a constant speed with less power. I am not a mathematician, so I need someone who is to continue with this problem because my head is starting to hurt. I used one of the push mowers for years because my pop used one when he was a kid and honestly I think it was some kind of a get even thing or learning thing. You know, if it was good enough for me by golly, it is good enough for you type thing. I do know when he took over the lawn mowing chores he purchased a power reel mower. lol He never again said anything about the push mower being a good thing. Mowing one of those dichondra lawns proved to be more of a problem because it was thick and the blades were a half an inch thick too. I am not sure what kind of grass that stuff is, but it looks more like clover with one leaf. The one thing a reel mower has going for it is the perfect cut. The rotating blades cut on an anvil and pull the grass in to the blade and anvil for a nice straight level cut. That must be why they use them on the greens of a golf course. It would be interesting to see how much power it take to run each of the mowers, but I will never use an un-powered mower again regardless of the outcome. I may convert mine to battery powered electric so I can charge it with my solar power or water/wind powered gen, but that is another story. All in all the amount of power used to push the mower across the lawn is more than I want to do and while there may be people who want to use those nasty things, I am not one of them. I also have a lawn that is over one acre, so it ain't-a-gonna-happen. lol Cheers!
 
paul wheaton
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It sounds to me like all of your experience is based on an old school manual mower that could cut no higher than 1.75 inches.  Further, in your experience, it was probably set to cut at one inch.  Therefore, your experience would be ... sweaty.

I would like to suggest that you try a modern manual mower set to 3 inches, and mow after 10 days of new growth.  And experience for yourself if you think this is easier than using a gas mower.

 
Charley Hoke
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Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
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I have one of those old school mowers that I picked up really cheap. I have found that as long as I don't let the grass get too high it works very well.

The thing that I find most distasteful about gas mowers is the noise and the fumes.

I too have about an acre, or more to mow but we are slowly converting a lot of it over to garden and natural areas, great for green manure for the compost. I have an old scythe that I want to start using for that stuff.
 
                              
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geeeeze,
Love my Scotts, mow at highest setting which is pretty high. Now my lawns are not an acre or anything. we properly adjusted it and it does indeed cut better that your typical gas engine one. Dont care to do any math. Ours was a yard sale find, they are only about 80 bucks new. The craftsman models do not mow high enough. Caveat....its adjustment versus shapness which makes thes work well, also your lawn needs to be, "at attention." you know sticking up. dont mow right after the hoe down. Its pleasant to me and my neighbors. Now lets talk leaf blowers versus rakes!
Another nice quiet tool. Have a long handled adjustable pair of shears that have a handle about 3 feet long. I can walk upright and clip the edges of my grass near structures, garden. not as speedy as the weed wacker, but its nice. mine is made by fiskars. those star like edgers on a wooden pole also work well next to the sidewalk, when sharp and in adjustmentWould rather be quiet during the day so i can rock out in the evenings.
Now lets talk leaf blowers versus rakes!
The shears I have refered to are the ones at the giant link below. Wish they were better quality. They are medium quality id say.
http://www.fiskars.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&langId=-1&catalogId=10101&categoryId=10268&productId=10503&page=products
 
                                      
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paul wheaton wrote:
(sorry for the delay, I'm getting caught up on lots of stuff ...)

Let's fiddle with a bit of math. 

You will admit that a manual mower is lighter, right?  Would you be willing to say that the manual mower is probably three times lighter (maybe more)?

Assuming that is the case .... 

Would you then say that pushing the manual mower around and no grass is being cut is twice as easy as doing the same with a gas mower? 

When you mow low, I have to agree with you:  this is going to be damn near impossible.  At the very least, it will be freakishly frustrating.  If you take a traditional manual mower and set it as high as it will go, it will still be terribly difficult - much harder than using a power mower.  But .... if you mow at a height of at least 3 inches, it turns out you usually are not mowing much grass.   I would speculate that mowing at 3 inches would be about seven times easier than mowing at 1.75 inches (the maximum height for the old school manual mowers). 

If you let your lawn grow to 6 to 12 inches inches tall, the manual mower is going to do a really lame job and it's going to be a lot of work.  But!  If you mow every couple of weeks when it is 4 to 5 inches tall, the manual mower will be easy to use.  Easier than a gas mower.

And if you are mowing short, you will need to mow two to four times more often.  So if you mow tall, you won't mow as often, and the manual will be easier.








I've seriously looked into gang reel mowers for cutting pastures, but the drawback is as you've stated being the low cut height. I have never cut a lawn below three inches, and the pastures certainly need at least that height. Is their a source out there for reel mowers that cut above three inches and I've just missed it?
 
paul wheaton
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There are at least two reel mowers that cut at 3 inches.  The scott's is one. 

As for pasture management - I tend to use a bush hog.

 
Leah Sattler
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I believe kesmac makes a gang reel that mows at 3 1/4.
 
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