File Sharpening For Your Yard

When it's time to clean up outside and do the yard, certain tools are commonly used no matter where you are. But I'm not talking about gardens and gardening tools. I'm talking about the yard itself. If you've got a lawn, you'll probably own a lawn mower. If you have trees in your yard, you may have a chain saw, even an axe.

What's your plan when your blades become dull? When the lawn looks unhealthy after you've just cut it, when your chain saw is taking too long to do its job, when you're forced to keep swinging away with your axe because it's just not cutting right? Well, you know it's time to sharpen those blades up. Believe me, you don't need to buy new blades. You needn't go to a professional blade sharpener. Not everyone likes, or is able, to turn their blades in for professional sharpening once or a few times a year, anyway. You can do the sharpening yourself, right at home with your own hands using a sharpening file. It'll be the fastest sharpening because you'll be doing it yourself, right there where you are.

It'll be the cheapest sharpening because you won't be paying anyone to do it. You won't be spending gas money to go drop them off to a professional and you won't have to buy new blades or chains. Isn't all that worth it? A sharpening file is lined with strong cutting ridges, commonly called teeth, which are used to abrade, or smooth, metal or wood. They can be found in one of three general classes from coarsest to finest: coarse, second-cut and smooth.

The coarse grade file is meant to remove a lot of metal, like when you've got to reshape a blade edge that has been dinged, nicked badly or banged up. The smooth grade file is meant for edges that need to have a nice smooth finish, usually the last step in sharpening. The intermediate second-cut grade falls between the two. Your choice will depend upon just how sharp you want your blade to be. When your newly cut grass looks shredded, torn up and unhealthy, it's time.

To sharpen a lawn mower blade, a bastard file is recommended, although a flat medium file may be used. The bastard file grade falls between the coarse and second-cut file, just one cut finer than a coarse grade file. And it does a fine job of sharpening lawn mower blades. If you prefer, there are special rotary blade files that can be used. If home owners are fortunate, there are trees that enhance the look of their yard and home. Periodic use of a chain saw becomes necessary, in this case.

To sharpen the many cutting teeth of a chain saw, round files are used. Sometimes they're called chain saw files. Chain saw teeth come in different sizes that are specified in the owner's manual, so be sure to check and use the appropriate sized round file. Just as chain saws are necessary at times, there are some jobs for which an axe is perfect.

If you've got a fireplace or lots of trees in your yard, you know what I mean. Working with a dull axe will make you tired and frustrated, repeating strokes that aren't getting you anywhere. That put's you at risk of becoming injured. You'll have to make it sharp. Sharpening an axe is done in three stages. The first stage is meant to cut back the bit (axe edge), primarily if it's damaged and needs to be reshaped.

The second stage is meant to smooth the bit to help it cleave through the wood after the initial cut. These stages may be done with an axe file or a crosscut file. The final stage focuses on razor-sharpness. Tough working axes don't need this.

But for those that do, an axe file, a flat file or smooth grade file will do the trick. Whether you have a lawn mower, a chain saw or an axe for maintaining your yard, you can do the fastest, and cheapest, sharpening job ever by doing it yourself. And it really isn't hard to do. It just takes a bit of time, patience and practice. You'll be developing a very useful and money-saving skill.

If you do it right, your blades could last your lifetime. Be careful. Happy sharpening!.

Len Q. is a master blade sharpener and an adventurer who strives to protect the natural world. If you would like to learn more about ▪ Knife Sharpening: How to Sharpen Knives, Maintain and Store Them ▪ How to Sharpen, Maintain and Store Lawn Mowers, Chain Saws and Axes ▪ Sharpening Gardening Tools ▪ Tests for Sharpness, Sharpening Angles and Much more Find it here at

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