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Magnetic blade balancer question


dhoadley

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I'm looking (I'm always looking) at a magnetic blade balancer. Used, in good shape, but the "guide wire" off the side is missing. I figure I could make one up, but what does it do? Thanx, Dave

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4 hours ago, dhoadley said:

That's the rod, but what does it do? How does it work?

From the fine print on @Bill725's link:

"... for checking the straightness (tip tracking) of lawn mower blades ..." 

See the 1:25 mark of the video in the link to see exactly how.  

 

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9 hours ago, dhoadley said:

That's the rod, but what does it do? How does it work?

If you scroll down in the link Bill posted, there is a video.  I'll be honest Dave, I don't use the gauge rod on mine very often at all.  

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14 hours ago, ShaunE said:

If you scroll down in the link Bill posted, there is a video.  I'll be honest Dave, I don't use the gauge rod on mine very often at all.  

I clicked on it but never scrolled down. Had no idea there was a video there. :$

Thanx, Dave

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On 12/30/2021 at 9:33 AM, Wilbur643 said:

I have one for sale if you interested, would have to ship but it small and shouldn't be much. $70.00 + shipping.

Sorry mine is the whole balancer not just the rod. $70.00 for the rod would be a bit much.9_9

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I use a large SMOOTH nail held in my fingers. Place the nail through the mounting hole of the blade and roll the nail back and forth a bit to find TDC of the hole. If the hole is a bit rusty, slide the nail back & forth to knock rust off. The blade will, of course, roll to the heavy side. To check yourself, turn the blade one half turn and check again.
I used to clean my blades of real good before sharpening and balancing, but then I thought about it.
Lets look at car tires a bit. When driving a car on dusty roads, the inside of the wheels get a thick layer of dust on them This dust will level out and self-balance the tire. I've taken wheels with thick dust on them and spun them on out balance machine and they were perfect. Wash the tires off, spin again, and often times they were out of balance. The vibration of the wheels would distribute the dust in a way they self-balanced. 
Now drive that car through a puddle or in the rain. The dust gets wet, you park the car, the mud then runs a bit. So the next time you drive the car the wheels are out of balance. 
Back to our lawn mower blades: As they are spinning and grass clippings & juice build up on the blade, the same thing happens. So rather than chipping that dried stuff off, I leave it be, sharpen the blade, and balance it on my nail. 
At the lawn mower shop I worked at, we had a blade balancer (don't recall the brand) and my nail method worked as good as it did!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry, but I have to disagree with HICK.  The nail method is only a rough job of balancing.  I could easily cheat on a nail and call an unbalanced blade good.  I am not saying you can't get a pretty good balance on a nail that will be good enough for a typical homeowner/DIYer, but I will argue all day against it being as good as a Magna-Matic.  A Magna-Matic blade balancer is awesome in how accurate it is.  It also needs to be used properly for the most accurate results.  I used to use one all the time, and the little arm can reveal a blade that is not flat, even though it looks OK sitting on a bench.

Obviously this all comes down to expectations and budget.

A straight, balanced blade is obviously going to give the best cut and allow for the best blade spindle bearing life.

Balancing a blade with debris on it is absolutely not acceptable.  That debris is not going to be evenly distributed on the blade, and is subject to getting knocked off /wearing off when mowing, which will then throw off your "balance" - regardless of using a nail or a real balancer.

When I had access to the Magna-Matic, I would get my blades for my 18hp Sovereign in top shape.  First step was to fully wire wheel it to get any debris off it.  2nd step check straightness.  3rd step was to sharpen it with a flap disc on an angle grinder (this will open up a debate by itself).  4th step was balancing - this came down to using a hand file as needed for removing material and finally finishing the fresh edge off with a quick swipe of emory cloth.  Everyone here knows that mower blades are not and don't need to be sharpened to a razor edge - right?  They don't, and that edge won't last long anyway.

There would be no way to justify my sharpening and balancing process in a shop setting for what labor rates are. Save the sharpening/balancing money and just buy new bearings a couple years sooner......

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, TimJr said:

Sorry, but I have to disagree with HICK.  The nail method is only a rough job of balancing.  I could easily cheat on a nail and call an unbalanced blade good. 

Balancing a blade with debris on it is absolutely not acceptable.  That debris is not going to be evenly distributed on the blade, and is subject to getting knocked off /wearing off when mowing, which will then throw off your "balance" - regardless of using a nail or a real balancer.

There would be no way to justify my sharpening and balancing process in a shop setting for what labor rates are. Save the sharpening/balancing money and just buy new bearings a couple years sooner......

 

 

 

Well, I've been using the nail method now for 40 years or so, and NOT cleaning the  blades completely off. And yes, one CAN cheat the method, but WHY? It only hurts yourself!  Knowing how to "cheat" it also enables you to make sure it IS accurate.
As for the debris, I explained in my post how it IS evenly distributed and self-balanced.  Even if it did throw debris off, the stickiness of the grass clippings will soon rebalance it.
As for replacing bearings, I've mowed the equivalent of 1 1/2 sections (960 acres) of lawn in 20 years on this two acres, and have replaced ONE set of bearings in the 48" deck, and that was shortly after I got it. When I sold it a couple years ago they were still solid.
Is my method as good as the Magna-Matic? Probably not.
But neither is it the disaster you predict.
Oh, and totally agree with the flap disc on an angle grinder, and no to the razor edge.
Peace.

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On 1/15/2022 at 6:43 PM, Hick said:

As for replacing bearings, I've mowed the equivalent of 1 1/2 sections (960 acres) of lawn in 20 years on this two acres, and have replaced ONE set of bearings in the 48" deck, and that was shortly after I got it. When I sold it a couple years ago they were still solid

@MrSteele has also made the statement that his way is the correct way for the past 50 years using a cone balancer but he has also replaced bearings WAY more often than you obviously have.  Largely blaming the country of manufacture of the bearings.  There are many varying "opinions" on this topic.  Very similar to "Hey, what is the best oil to use?"

I guess the bottom line is that there are many "opinions" on the correct way to sharpen & balance blades.  My dad never balanced a blade in his life that I can remember & never replaced a spindle bearing.  I myself use a multi directional blade grinder with a magnamatic balancer & sharpen them to a razor blade finish.  I scrape & pressure wash the blades prior to sharpening so there is NO debris on them at all.  I've replaced all the bearings in all my decks upon purchase but never have replaced them again.  

So I guess we have ALL been doing it correctly for 50 years???

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On 1/18/2022 at 10:34 PM, ShaunE said:

 

So I guess we have ALL been doing it correctly for 50 years???

If it works, don't fix it! B|

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