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Reel Versus Rotary.


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#1 Endo OFFLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2012 - 04:01 PM

I am thinking about adding a reel mower to my arsenal. Looking at a pull behind from 6-10 foot wide. 5-7 gang. I am usually happy with my 455 with 60 inch deck but would like to try the reel style. Mow around an acre and a half mostly flat with few trees.

What are your guys thought on them?

#2 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2012 - 04:07 PM

The two problems with the walk behind reel mowers are;

1. They will jam on sticks and debris. The yard has to be well maintained.

2. Historically, they were not made to mow at the height most folks mow at nowadays. Whether that is an issue with the golf course mowers, I don't know.

Edited by LilysDad, August 28, 2012 - 04:08 PM.


#3 HydroHarold OFFLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2012 - 05:43 PM

..and adding to what Lily'sDad sez, you'll be mowing OFTEN in order for the reels to cut clean and not leave weed tops and long strands of grass. They did have their place before bigger lots and gas rotaries took over. And rotaries took over because reels just aren't practical if you miss your mowing schedual.

With this thread you have evoked a memory from deep in my past... Waking up as a kid on Saturday morning and hearing the chorus of hand pushed reel mowers going all through the neighborhood. Would I go back? NO WAY, I love my JD!

#4 Gtractor OFFLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2012 - 06:08 PM

Best of luck to you but I give you two mowings before you park them and just use the rotary deck that is under your 455.

:itsok:

#5 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2012 - 06:35 PM

The local Prison uses reel mower, it's a lot safer, and all the Inmates have is time, lots of time. LOL

#6 Bruce Dorsi ONLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2012 - 06:47 PM

Reel mowers are very expensive to have sharpened.

Reel mowers do not like stones, even pebbles.

Reel mowers require more care than rotaries.

If you want a wider cut, perhaps you should look into the tow-behind rotary mowers that can be offset to one side to supplement your existing 60" cutting width.
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#7 bh115577 ONLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2012 - 07:31 AM

I work on reel mowers full time. A lot of them and they do require more maintenance and a certain "feel" to properly adjust.

Unless you have a good bit of extra time, money, and shop space on your hands, I'd recommend a rotary.

#8 Cvans OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2012 - 09:49 AM

Rotary's are the way to go. I would advise you to by a small reel mower first and give that a try. Go ahead and sharpen it and adjust it and see how you get along with that. If you enjoy working with it then go ahead and invest in a larger gang mower. Reel mowers can do a reel :p nice job for you if your yard is as smooth and clean as a golf course.
Gas powered reel mowers were the rage when I was growing up. We had a neighbor that was loading his to take in for repairs when I happened by. I asked why he was taking it in and he said that it quit working. This gentleman was not mechanically inclined so I took a look at it. There was a stick caught between the reel and the cutting bar. This was a high end consumer grade mower and all it took to stop it was a stick. So keep your yard clean if you decide to try one.
The following is not my mower but one just like the one I mowed with for years when growing up.

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#9 skyrydr2 ONLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2012 - 04:20 AM

Never mind the maintenance, you need to cut almost every other day because the grass grows faster too .Why? Because they cut much cleaner so the grass heals faster from the cut and continues on its quest to produce seed. A nice sharp rotary will do almost as good a job but not perfect . Also they leave a mess.... and you need to sweep after. They won't mulch or bag either .
I have one, takes a lot of tractor to pull it too.

#10 Toolpartzman OFFLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2012 - 06:13 AM

I have to use both, because of the grass variety I have--Southern turf grasses-like some golf course varieties need to be cut shorter than a rotary can and some varieties need to be cut at 3 1/2 inches or more and std reel mowers cut best at 1" , even shorter.

I have to use a rotary on my new sod as my Gravely will rip the sod out in a heartbeat until its established.I had to hot-rod it a little by adding wheels to the roller to raise the bed knife. Even so its only 2 1/2"

Edited by Toolpartzman, September 07, 2012 - 06:13 AM.


#11 poncho62 ONLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2012 - 06:31 AM

I bought and restored this because my dad had one when I was a kid

Posted Image

I havent used it in 2 years...too much hassle
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#12 GTTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2012 - 06:36 AM

As far a quality of cut nothing beats a reel mower that is properly maintained and adjusted since the cut is like using a pair of scissors instead of a machete.

As pointed out by several others the two problems with a reel type mower is it takes a lot of maintenance to keep it cutting properly and the area needs to be mowed more frequently since the front roller and bedknife tend to lay the grass down if it gets too long leaving a lot of uncut grass.

If you want a manicured lawn, have a grass variety that works well with an under 1" height of cut and have the necessary tools and skill to keep the mower properly maintained and adjusted then the reel mower is a great machine.

After 20+ years working on golf courses no grassed area looks as good as a properly maintained green, tee or fairway. Too bad I no longer have the funds to play golf since I retired though.
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#13 Toolpartzman OFFLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2012 - 07:02 AM

I bought and restored this because my dad had one when I was a kid

Posted Image

I havent used it in 2 years...too much hassle

I like that---What make is it ?

#14 Cvans OFFLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2012 - 10:44 AM

I've never seen a rider like that before. Interesting machine. Thanks for the photo and more information would be appreciated.

#15 bh115577 ONLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2012 - 11:58 AM

That looks like a National.
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