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"Old fashioned push mowers"...

Post in 'The Green Room' started by keyman512us, Jul 4, 2007.

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  1. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Hey all...
    ...Something I have been meaning to "get to" is to asking around the forum if anyone "has recently invested in" an old fashioned "push type mower" and if so....where to find one.
    First let me explain the situation...with the amount of lawn I have to take care of...a "gas job" isn't worth the space it takes up let alone the cost. The old push mower I current have (came with the house...go figure) is very old and "getting tired". It's so old I doubt it can be fixed. I keep my eyes open at the flea markets and yard sales...but I guess people just don't think anyone would buy one. Buying on Ebay??? The shipping charge would probably pay for a gas job.

    Just wondering if anyone knows "where to find one"....Are they still being made???

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  2. mgambuzza

    mgambuzza Member

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    Yes - the reel mowers are still available. I live in the city of Syracuse, and when I moved here I was amazed 15 years ago the amount of people who still did their lawns with these - but considering the size of some of the lawns it was more than adequate (and you can cut it anytime without violating the city's early morning "noise variance"). If you have an Ace hardware nearby here is a link:

    http://www.acehardware.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=1260273&cp=1254884.1255125
  3. mgambuzza

    mgambuzza Member

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  4. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    They show the mower being used for about 2 seconds but it's only a "close-in" shot of the wheels and the rest of the video is "Lars" telling you about it. GREAT video EXCEPT for....drum roll......... they NEVER show Lars using the mower from a full-view so you can't see how easy or hard it is for him (or will be for you) to use it.......clue to the uninformed at Clean Air Gardening who made this video..........let us see it in action!!!!!!!
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    When I grew up my experience with reel mowers was limited to an old tank at our summer lake cottage that sat all year until we arrived to clean up the property. That reel mower was a total bear just to get it moving. To me as a kid the thing seemed to weigh a ton.

    But that isn't the case with the newer reel mowers, especially if they are kept sharp and oiled. As long as the grass isn't allowed to grow to a foot tall before mowing, they work very smoothly. Our neighbor when we lived in Seattle had a reel mower and loved it. We did too, it was quiet.

    Here's a site with instructions, comparisons, and yes, some videos.
    http://www.reelmowerguide.com/

    And a sales site with a bit more info. I think Sears used to sell them too.
    http://www.reelmowersetc.com/
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I'm thinking a couple of goats would get the job done.
  7. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Oe sheep, for that " added benefit" Woot, I hear the banjos playing :)
    Der der derderderderder der der :)
  8. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    If you are fortunate enough to live in a large enough community to support a sharpening shop, I'd start there, or alternatively, but not as likely a small engine repair shop. The Sharpener shop will frequently have folks bring mowers in to sharpen and when they find out the cost, they opt to buy a new power mower. The shops, being thrifty will buy the hand mowers cheap and tune them up and resell them. I've paid as little a $30 for a great mower in the past.
  9. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    BB...
    ...Seeing as I "live in the shadow of CITY HALL"...and I already have an outdoor boiler (first and oldest in the city) living in the 'heart' of downtown...the 'barn' I built outback already makes people shake their heads..."How do I get to your house???" To which I reply "Get to Brazells' Packy store (package store=liquor store...its a MAss thing lol) look for the barn...work your way over from there..." If I put goats out on the front lawn...the boys in white with the butterfly nets would be coming for me...lol ;)

    ...I'll stick with a push mower. :)
  10. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    LS....
    ...Err Umm, I wasn't kiddind when I said the mower was old...It might not be your grandfathers Oldsmobile...but it could definately be his mower....that he was pushing, when he "wore short pants"....

    I just looked it over..."Philadelphia Lawn Mower Company-'K' model, roller bearings patented 1915" the thing is so old, the roller os made of wood!

    I'm going to take everyones' advice...and go shopping. lol

    ...The old one is probably headed for Ebay...or a museum. ;)
  11. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    Testament to manufacturing quality. You may be surprised what can be done with it. I think a trip to a sharpener will bring a smile to your face. When gramps comes out of the back to look at your classic and says, "Used one when I was a boy, what a great machine. Have it ready for you in two days." If you get it up to snuff, you may need to keep it inside to protect it against theft.
  12. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    I bought one when I bought my first house in 97...just walked into Sears, picked one off the shelf and took it home...I think it was $25-25 at the time.

    I grew up with one...used to mow about 1/3 of our 2.5 acre yard with the sucker...it was so old it had all metal wheels and the roller behind the blade was wood (like your I guess), but it worked every time.

    I don't use it anymore becaue my yard is too big now and I don't have the energy or spare time of a ten year old anymore...just want the job done and move onto the next task before I run out of daylight.
  13. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    I've kinda thougt that way too but...

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  14. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    ...Can't really really say how much life is left in it...lol

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  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Hmm, looks like it's been a long time since it's been lubricated or sharpened. Those blades look duller than a butter knife. Too bad about the cracked housing. If it's as rusty on the inside as it is on the outside, you prolly be due for a new one. The new unit will weigh about 50% less and will cut like a dream as long as it's well maintained.
  16. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    I think it could be fixed personally. I'd be willing to bet it could be rebuilt and work like a dream. However, time, money, etc. all factor in. To me there is little that is nostalgic about working with old tools. A tool is a tool, if it's in great shape it matters not the years of use, but how it works right now. If when rebuilt it would be superior to anything on the current market, then yeah, it might be worth rebuilding. However, as others have pointed out, you can get a new one that will mostly likely be lighter and maintained easier. I saw a nice one at Lowes just the other weekend for $30. Don't know if it was a special order/return or something, but I would have been tempted to purchase it if I had a smaller lawn. I still went over and played with it for a few minutes. It even had a collection bag in the back.

    -Kevin
  17. Burn-1

    Burn-1 Feeling the Heat

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    I had one of these at the yard at my old house. They work great but you need to make sure both the reels and the scissor bar stay sharp.

    Also, this actually cuts the grass unlike a rotary blade which rips it. As such, the grass tends to grow a bit faster so you really get your exercise if you have one.
  18. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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  19. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    we had one when i was very young , they actually do a better job of cutting grass than blade type mowers, greenskeepers on golf courses would agree im sure , they do a beautiful job at our country club (motorized versions), not only on the fairways but the grounds around the manor house (the home of sarah winton ,patrick henry's wife, who is buried on the grounds) beautiful place really.
  20. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    My gran'dad had one that had all kinds of adjustments, it cut like golf greens. As a kid I did his 1/2 acre every Saturday. With slopes and gardens and several retaining walls. The current owner thinks he can do it with a power mower. Nope. He tried to each me how to flat file the sweep and blades at the age of 10, he was way too optimistic.

    My sister did her yard with one and said it was worth about two for one in the health spa. My "yard" is natural, so I don't screw with mother nature.
  21. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Well an update...
    Today I had a "good find" at "The Ranch" (Rietta Ranch flea market) today. Usually by noon "all the good finds are gone"... not today though.

    Lucked out..

    Found this "Rally" reel mower... for $20 bucks.

    Anyone have any experience with this model???

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  22. restorer

    restorer New Member

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    Nope no experience, but even in the pics, of you tune it and have it sharp, you will spend more time explaining why
    your lawn looks so good, than it takes you to cut it. On another web site I participate in that would be a "you suck",
    for the very good deal.
  23. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    UR...lol ;)

    It was kind of funny...after I "left the ranch" I stopped by my aunts' house...my cousin was there...and pretty much said the same thing...lol She checked out the cheapest model at HD...for $75 bucks.

    Aparently "old school" is "back to school" these days now that gas $$$ are rising.

    I think next I'll keep my eyes open for an electric one..lol Bet those are "starting to get a second look too".

    I love...and hate going to that flea market though. This find...I think "the man up-stairs might have been smiling upon". First time I went up there this season and "the little voice guided me". If I go up there late (anytime after noon...best deals are from 7AM on...people start packing up around 11AM) I usually "wander through the 'back section' because those people leave first...most people are too lazy to walk around to the sparsely set up area.
    But anyway, the guy I bought it off of is a 'regular' (like a lot of the 'dealers' are). He does estate cleanouts mostly. "But always has treasures".
    ...It's a local attraction on Sundays in "this neck of the woods". Free admission, lots of parking and a good sized field for the 'dealers' to set up in (think it's like 9 acres of tables not including the snack bar and barn). Good exercise (walking around) and meeting with people.

    Lots of old fashioned "vintage tools" too. ;)

    All in all it was about a $75.00 day (rarity for me..."spent big bucks"..lol). $20 for the lawnmower, $15 for a "Jet Pump" ('Teel water pump' driven by a 1/2HP DAYTON motor...new addition to the 'rainwater system'..lol) ;) and $40.00 'Cristmas in July' purchase. Definately an Impulse buy... from one of my favorite dealers there (another 'train man'...) $20 bucks a piece (ready for this?) Salvage RR crossing lamps (Made by Gen Rwy Sig) in mint condition! They still have the 'tunnels' and don't so much as have a scratch on them.

    I started a collection about 11 years ago (have been collecting interesting railroad artifacts for about 23 years now) of "pretty much signal stuff"...traffic, rail etc. I went to a local scrap yard to buy some structural steel to build a trailer. Walking through the yard I saw some scrap that "got me seeing red". Everything from 'bugallows' (Instrument cabins) right down to the gear inside them. I paid $0.20/lb for items "The junkman was all too happy to be rid of (cast iron relays with thick glass housings) that honestly 'belong in a museum'.

    ...Think I'm gonna hold off on "telling the little woman all about todays trip to Rietta" ;)
  24. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    I've had a half dozen or so push mowers, I finally threw out my collection and kept a sears Craftsman, was my favorite complete with catch bag.

    The ones with plastic rear rollers which I believe I see in the pictures don't fair as well as the ones with wood rear rollers. The plastic gets brittle over the years, and hitting a rock, or pulling it backwards the nipples of the rear roller can break off and pretty pointless afterward. In the old days, you used it by pushing them forward several feet brought it back a couple, then pushed it forward several feet again in sort of a rocking forward motion. If your rear roller is plastic you don't want to do that, and probably want to avoid pulling it backwards as much as possible, it's your weakest link. I must say, looks like a good buy looks better than any used one I've seen.
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