I would greatly appreciate some help on this issue.
I was recently given a Mclean 20' 5 blade 3.5HP reel mower. I am totally new to reel mowers but love the idea of them. I am sick of the "crop circles" in my lawn from my rotary mower.
As expected a free mower comes with problems. When I adjust the blades properly the mower makes a horrible noise when I engage the reel. I tried back lapping with some valve grinding paste. I do not have a back lapping kit so the way I have to do it is apply the paste liberally to reel blades, engage the drive, and pull the mower backwards. This spins the reeel backwards. Now the racket is even worse ...and when I readjust the blades close enough to cut paper all the way across it is so binding that I can't do additional backlapping. I even tried filing the bed knife (also called the anvil?) at the edges where a ridge had developed from years of the reel striking the bed knife.
There is no adjustement for the bed knife, only up and down at each side for the reel. I don't think the mower is worth $50 (new bed knife) + $125 (sharpen reel professionally).
Any ideas on how I can fix this inexpensively? Am I doing something wrong?
Thanks much, -jack