Report on my brand new Deluxe Light push reel mower

Happy Earth Day everyone!
First of all, I just want to mention that I have found Usenet, and the ability to search past posts with sites like Google, to be just an incredible resource for consumers. Nothing beats getting first hand reports from the actual users of products.
For the past five years I've been cutting my lawn with a rechargeable, cordless, electric mower from Toro, which I bought used from a local lawn mower shop. I went that route because I live in a small townhouse which doesn't have a garage; thus, I can't use a gas-powered mower (no safe place to store the mower or the gasoline). The mower worked well, but unfortunately, at the end of last season, the motor started giving me problems. I took it in for service this spring and the estimate to get it fixed was more than what I paid for it originally--it needed a new motor. This was more than I wanted to pay, so I started looking for alternatives.
Last season I noticed that one of my neighbors was using a push reel mower. This stuck in my mind, and when I realized I wouldn't be using my electric mower this season, I started researching push reel mowers in earnest. Using Google I found a lot of useful past posts from Usenet on this subject. There seemed to be a number of good reports on the mowers from American Lawn Mower Company ( ) , so I decided to buy their "Deluxe Light" model. Some of the deciding factors were quality construction, reasonable price, ability to set the maximum cutting height at 2 1/2 inches, 5-blade design, and relatively light weight (27 lbs. for the 18" wide model). I ended up buying mine from; one minor irksome factor is that American Lawn Mower Co. rebrands some of their mowers which are sold in retail outlets; I wanted this specific model, and I didn't want to buy a mower in one of the large hardware chain stores only to discover it was slightly different from what I thought I was getting.
The buying experience from Amazon was painless. I bought it on a Friday, and it shipped the very next day (I didn't realize that Amazon ships some items on the weekend!). It arrived three days later in good shape. Shipping was free. I paid $99.85 for the mower.
I had to assemble the handle, which comes in 5 pieces. This required two tools--a small adjustable wrench, and some needle-nose pliars to push some "E" rings onto some short, notched, posts which hold the very ends of the handle on the main body of the mower. It took me about 40 minutes to assemble the mower. It went relatively smoothly. My only complaint is that as I made the last few turns to tighten the nuts on the bolts on the handle, I inevitably ended up scraping some of the "powder-coating" from the handle itself, which has an attractive matt-black finish. However, almost all of the nuts are on the underside of the handle, so this isn't really that noticeable. The instructions were easy to follow, and no components were missing.
I used my mower for the first time today. Many of the posts I read cautioned that twigs can interfere with reel mowers, so I spent an hour yesterday afternoon raking my yard so it would be free from this winter's debris.
I found the effort required to push this mower to be minimal, although it was slightly more than I expected. About 25% of my lawn is on a very slight rise, and I found that I almost had to jog up that portion to get the blade moving at the necessary speed. Other than that, the effort was about the same as with my old electric mower. Part of the reason for this is that the reel mower is less than half the weight of the heavy electric mower. On the other hand, there is a little extra effort required with the reel mower because it is the person supplying the power to turn the blades.
I have a couple of "nooks and crannies" in my lawn which I couldn't mow adequately with the reel mower--I just couldn't get enough speed going in the confined areas. However, I just bought a Black and Decker "Grasshog" 12-inch, 18 volt rechargeable trimmer/edger, and it handled these small areas just fine.
There was one small area of my lawn in which the reel mower had a problem with tall grass. For some reason, the grass in this area was much taller than the rest of my yard--I did not measure it, but it may have been over 4 1/2 inches tall. There were a few clumps left of taller grass when I was done--that section looked somewhat uneven. I ended up trimming the clumps with my electric trimmer; had the area been larger, I simply would have mowed over it again at 90 degrees to the first direction.
When I was done mowing, I took a few minutes to clean the mower. I turned it so that it was resting on the right wheel (thus, the left wheel was positioned vertically above it). I then wiped down the cutting bar and each of the five blades with a paper towel slightly dampened with water. After getting as much minute grass debris and juice off these metal parts, I then wiped them down with a paper towel saturated with WD-40.
So, that's my report for now. I have found the Deluxe Light reel mower from the American Lawn Mower Company to be a sturdy, solidly-constructed mower. It was fairly easy to assemble. Overall, it is easy to push, although a little bit of extra effort is required to push it up a slight rise. It has a problem with overly tall grass; but I knew this going in--it just means that I will have be very regular in my mowing. So far, so good--I will post another report later in the season after I have used this mower for several months.

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