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DrBoost
DrBoost PowerDork
5/14/13 7:41 p.m.

So, our lawn mower bit the dust. Engine locked up tight. My wife was pushing for a reel mower (see what I did there?) and I said that'd be fine, but she needs to cut the grass at least half the time. If it were up to me I'd buy a Snapper or something and be done with it, so if she wants an old manual mower, she's gonna have to help. So, I bought a Fiskars Reel Mower to give it a try. Our lawn is about 1/4 acre or so and I told my wife it'd be torturous to do it with a reel mower. The mower came in today and I was wrong. It's no harder to push than any other non self-propelled mower I've used. Consider the fact that there's no vibration makes it easier.
Here's the run down.
The mower came shipped in a box with minimal assembly required.

Basically, attach the handle and adjust the blade as needed. The blade adjustment was simple, contrary to what I'd red on the 'net. Simply loosen two bolts per side, the two hex bolts seen below.

Then just turn the adjusting screw to raise or lower the non-moving blade.

What you are doing is getting the stationary and moving blades to the point where they don't touch, but almost. You test it by using a strip of paper and spinning the wheels by hand

Here you can see the moving blade in comparison to the stationary blade

Once that's done, a squirt of oil here and there and it's off to mow! This mower has a flywheel to store energy. The idea is that if you hit a patch of thicker grass the flywheel will allow you to go through the patch without any more effort by you, but not loosing momentum of the blades. It works!! The grass was long today and I hit a 2' long patch of thick, longer grass and the only difference was more clippings being thrown in front. The stored energy from the flywheel did the trick. Nice. Speaking of the clippings, they are thrown in front of the mower so they get mulched to a limited extent.

Yes, I did take action shots of a lawn mower

Pluses? For $200 I don't have a motor to maintain and I do have a mower my wife will use. It's quieter than pushing my old mower with the engine off! I can cut the grass any time of the morning or evening and not disturb the neighbors, and there's no emissions unless I've had Taco Bell recently.
Any downsides? Yeah. You kinda need to be on top of your lawn cutting a little more. This does have height adjustment (a surprise) but I don't think it'll go through very tall grass. I think 5"-6" tall or so was the max IIRC. Another reason to keep on top of the lawn maintenance is because it's not really a mulching mower per se. It throws the clippings in front of the mower so they do get cut twice, but that's it. It's only 18" wide, but that's not a big deal. The biggest downside is that it it won't cut dandelions. I'm not sure if it's because they are too tall, or round. So, I'll be looking for a natural dandelion preventative.

Not sure how much interest there is on this forum for this, but hey, here it is.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/14/13 7:44 p.m.

That's actually good to know, we'll probably end up with a reel mower - the lawn at the new place is pretty small and one less engine to maintain is a bonus.

DrBoost
DrBoost PowerDork
5/14/13 7:55 p.m.

While wheeling my old John Deere to the curb I realized that the Fiskars is as easy to push on the grass as the JD was on pavement.

donalson
donalson GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/14/13 10:51 p.m.

funny... we're moving out of the apt and into a house sometime next month and need a mower... I've been doing research on mowers and that is exactly the one i've had my eye on...

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro SuperDork
5/14/13 11:55 p.m.

I bought the model down from that one last month and I'm lovin it!

It's maybe added 10 minutes to my lawn mowing time and less maintenance.

Shawn

jere
jere Reader
5/15/13 12:12 a.m.

I have a reel mower... taken apart in and not in use. I stopped using it because it wasn't cutting the high stuff, and I would have to switch off between the gas mower. I haven't taken it to the scrap yard yet, I really want find an old MTB and make the reel mower a bike mower, or maybe a go cart mower. If that happened I wouldn't care about the dandelions anymore. The other nice thing about these are they take up so little garage space. You can just hang them up on the wall

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic Dork
5/15/13 1:46 a.m.

How often does it need sharpening?

DrBoost
DrBoost PowerDork
5/15/13 6:55 a.m.

Fiskars says the blades, if adjusted properly, will never need sharpening. I don't know if I believe that, but I figure if it needs to be done every few years I'm ok with that.

Enyar
Enyar HalfDork
5/15/13 8:16 a.m.

Neat! Now if I could only find a place with a lawn...

That_Renault_Guy
That_Renault_Guy HalfDork
5/15/13 10:43 a.m.

We switched to a reel mower two years ago and have been more than happy.

The only negative so far is that I can no longer use the "it's an ozone action day, I'm not allowed to cut the grass" excuse.

davidjs
davidjs Reader
5/15/13 10:48 a.m.

I have a probably 20 year old one that "conveyed" with my town house (found it in the shed). It still works fine, and I use it probably half the time I cut my lawn. I've been using it for almost 9 years now, with absolutely no maintenance other than a light oil on the moving bits. I'm afraid to touch (and mess up) anything else. My only complaint is that it can't get closer than 3 or 4 inches to tall obstructions, so I end up breaking out the weed whacker (and doing the whole lawn with it) about every other time.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UberDork
5/15/13 11:45 a.m.

All my family that lived in Chicago had those back in the 1950's-1970's. Since all the front yards were 20'x20'; this is all you needed. My dad taught me as a kid that one key is keeping everything oiled up and rotating freely.

bikerbenz
bikerbenz New Reader
5/15/13 8:42 p.m.

I just finished perusing the forums and switched over to Slickdeals and a reel mower is one of the first items I saw.

http://slickdeals.net/permadeal/95176/sellout.woot-fiskars-17-staysharp-push-reel-lawn-mower

psteav
psteav Dork
5/16/13 9:22 a.m.
jere wrote: I have a reel mower... taken apart in and not in use. I stopped using it because it wasn't cutting the high stuff, and I would have to switch off between the gas mower. I haven't taken it to the scrap yard yet, I really want find an old MTB and make the reel mower a bike mower, or maybe a go cart mower. If that happened I wouldn't care about the dandelions anymore. The other nice thing about these are they take up so little garage space. You can just hang them up on the wall

I had the same experience trying to use a reel mower when I lived in the big city. It wouldn't cut the high stuff...BUT it didn't have a flywheel (I was using the Home Depot $99.00 special). If I were un-lazy enough to get out there and mow more than once every ten days, it probably would have worked fine.

914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/16/13 11:41 a.m.

Enyar
Enyar HalfDork
1/8/14 3:25 p.m.

Time to give this puppy a bump. I really really like the idea of a push reel mower but I have a few concerns. I'm moving into a rental next week (boooo house buying didn't work out) and there is a small yard to take care of. The lot is 7,200 sq feet, but after you factor in house/porch/shed/driveway it's not that much grass. The good part for the mower is this lot has almost no trees (wish it did) which means no sticks/roots. The bad part is I live in Florida and grass grows like crazy here, especially during the summer.

What do you think? Reel mower able?

turboswede
turboswede GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/8/14 3:37 p.m.

Yep, just keep on it (meaning mow it fairly often) and make sure the mower blades are sharp.

Enyar
Enyar HalfDork
1/8/14 3:45 p.m.

Define "keep on it". Once a week or more than once a week.

DrBoost
DrBoost PowerDork
1/8/14 5:22 p.m.

I find it ironic that I'm typing about my lawn mower as I prepare to go outside to rake 2' of snow off my roof!! In the peak growing season I'm mowing our .3 acre lawn once every 4 or 5 days or so. It'll have no problem with your lawn. The secret is though, not to let it get too long. With this particular model the bar with the lift handle (see the second pic) will just push grass over that's too tall, then it won't get cut.
Time to go outside to the balmy 12 degree night....

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro UltraDork
1/8/14 7:53 p.m.

Once a week will do it.

I live in a rainforest, you can hear the grass grow in B.C.

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
1/8/14 8:32 p.m.
Enyar wrote: Define "keep on it". Once a week or more than once a week.

In OK, if I want to prevent the Bermuda from creating a ton of thatch (it's a gas mower with a mulching blade too) during the spring/fall I have to mow every 4-5 days.

Otherwise the thatch builds up and starts messing with the yard.

Jack
Jack SuperDork
1/9/14 10:01 a.m.

I grew up with a reel mower, but it was powered with a 5 HP B&S horizontal shaft. Nice mower without a deadman's throttle. Think about that. It only got away from me once, but it's a scary thing to try and chase down.

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 SuperDork
1/9/14 12:07 p.m.

When I was in Jr High some friends and I took a gas powered reel mower and used it as a base to build a go-cart. We did have a shield to protect us from the blade. Bypassed the governor. Learned that coffee cans on the exhaust will make it louder or at least seem louder. Neighbors never complained of us driving it on their lawns for some reason.

bludroptop
bludroptop SuperDork
1/9/14 12:33 p.m.
Trans_Maro wrote: Once a week will do it. I live in a rainforest, you can hear the grass grow in B.C.

Man, I dunno... I must have mutant turf or something.

Once a week is about as long as I can go with a gas mower. I generally cut every 4-5 days in the peak growing season, else I have to slow WAY down to keep from stalling the mower.

I'd love to have a reel mower and I have a tiny yard, but I'd have to cut every other day without gas power.

Enyar
Enyar HalfDork
2/27/14 8:59 a.m.

Update, I ended up buying the same mower pictured above and it rocks. Best feature, your friends will be interested and want to give it a try. They practically mowed my entire back yard this past Sunday giving it a try.

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