Thursday, August 22, 2013

Low Mowing Heights Require Precision Setup

As Adam Garr said in his video in my last post, "Fast greens don't just happen".  It takes a lot of work and dedication on a lot of fronts to keep the greens performing properly.  In addition to the verticutting and topdressing that we do to the greens on a regular basis, Steve Bloom, our trusty equipment mechanic, has to keep the reels cutting at an extremely high level in order for us to maintain the greens at the proper height.  Our new Jacobsen Eclipse 322 with their 15 blade cutting reels provide a superior cut and with daily backlapping and adjusting, our mowers are always ready to go.

In order to insure our greens are maintained at their highest potential Steve daily backlaps the mowers and checks their contact and height of cut before they are sent out the next day to mow.  

   From time to time the reels can no longer be backlapped to get that high quality of cut and they have to be ground to sharpen the blades and true up the cutting edge of the reel.  Since it was pouring rain all day on Monday Steve and Willie took the lead and ground the reels on all three greensmower triplexes. 

Here Steve is grinding one of the greensmower reels on our bench grinder.  The process takes off just a little bit of the reel with each pass of the grinding stone leaving the reel sharp and true across the entire surface of all 15 blades.

Also during the process of grinding the reels Willie replaced the bedknife with a brand new one.  The reel and the bedknife work just like household scissors and cut the grass as they come into contact with one another.  As with dull scissors or a dull razor, dull blades or bedknives don't cut grass very well and can lead to weakened plants making them vulnerable to insect and disease invasion.

Video of How a Reel Cuts Grass

Freshly ground reel and shiny new bedknife ready to go.  Makes me happy!!!

Once the reel is done in the grinding room it is remounted on the mower and a light contact is set getting it ready for backlapping.

Although the reel has been freshly ground and the bedknife is fresh out of the box the two need to be matched or "married" together through a process known as backlapping.  In the backlapping process the reel is spun in the opposite direction of its normal mowing operation.  Backlapping compound is applied to the reel to fine tune the contact and the sharpness of the reel.  Backlapping compound is really like "liquid sandpaper" and puts that finishing touch on the sharpening process.

After the reels have been backlapped, they are washed off to remove all the excess backlapping compound and then the mower is set up on the Golf Lift so the reels can be adjusted.  Here Steve is using an AccuGuage to set the height of cut, which is currently set at 0.130".  He will also adjust/check the height of the groomers, which are currently set at 0.115" and check to make sure we have 0.002" of clearance between the reel and the bedknife as recommended by Jacobsen.

 Once the reels are set the mower is ready to go mow some grass.  It takes a lot of effort and dedication to keep the mowers cutting at the high level that we demand and I am grateful to have a dedicated and committed staff.

Great Work Steve and Willie!!!

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