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#116482 24/10/22 06:46 PM
Joined: Apr 2022
Posts: 2
Reuben Offline OP
Just managed to pick up my great-grandfather's old speedie-cut 16" reel mower after being in storage for the better part of 4-5 decades.

This is my first experience with a reel mower, and hopefully it's a good one!

The old quick refurb' job ensued- clean out old grease, strip carb and clean chains and points. First crank and spurted into life. Had to glue on some new cork pieces for the clutch to get it moving, but runs and cuts very well (I think?).

The only issue I've got is that the forward speed is so fast!
Is this normal for a reel mower like this?
When the mower is fully wound out, running full rpm, I have to jog to keep up!
I can pull back and have the drum skidding so it doesn't take off at mach 4, but surely this can't be the normal thing to do... Is it?

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Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 2,090
Likes: 81
Hi Reuben

I am no expert on these but what I do know is these power mowers were an item only available to the very affluent in the early days - hence those who bought them normally had gardeners/servants.

Hence a selling point was that it can "save on labour time - mow 'x' yards per minute" - without really worrying that the poor bugger behind the handle is getting pulled around

This attitude and advertised 'feature' did expend to even later models like atco and qualcast, especially 2 strokes

Joined: Apr 2022
Posts: 2
Reuben Offline OP
Hi Tyler, thanks for the insight.
I certainly see what you mean about the poor bugger being pulled around.

I also suppose that this mower was designed for already fairly well kept lawns, as opposed to overgrown "should have done it two weekends ago" lawns, enabling the fast speed to really not be an issue.

Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 7,477
Likes: 147
That is the issue with most self propelled mowers, they are designed for maintaining lawns not knocking a lawn into shape. If you are cutting longer stuff it is usually stop/start work

Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 131
Likes: 9
Apprentice level 2
That photo reminds me of the mower I grew up with. During WW2 due to petrol rationing my father converted it to electric with a sizeable electric motor from an industrial sewing machine. It had a rudimentary On/Off clutch and took off fast with the rear roller skidding :-)

What really jogged my memory was the exposed chain system. My father religiously removed any safety features on anything in his workshop as they just got in the way of maintenance or adjustments. One learned to be careful with tools......

1 member likes this: Olivia Wilson

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