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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone on here know how to sharpen the reel on a reel mower?

I have a 1956 Eclipse Rolloway which has a 25" 5 blade reel. The reel comes into contact with the bed knife about 20% of the reel's overall length. The bed knife has 4 adjustment points, and no matter what I set it at, it just does not mesh with the reel properly. I have gone to a few shops, and reel contouring and sharpening is a projected $275-350 bill. Does anyone who lives in New York State know where to go to get this done for less than $100?

I would really like to use this machine to cut grass, but it does an awful job!

I do not have any recent pictures of my mower, but have a video I took of it last year. It cut just as bad then, but it is a speedy demon of a mower.


Thanks,

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I do not have an Eclipse Rolloway Service Manual, but after some researching online, I figured out that I need to buy a special reel sharpening compound. You are supposed to brush the compound evenly on the tips of each reel knife, and with the reel spinning the reverse direction, you can slowly sharpen the reel by tightening the tolerance between the bed knife and reel. When sharpened properly, the reel should be able to cut a piece of paper along its entire length on every single knife. My machine is very far out of adjustment, so I am not sure how much lapping will do. I still have no idea what grit compound to get, and how to properly adjust the 4 screws which position the bed knife in relation to the blade??? As best as I can figure out, the inner two screws adjust the blade to reel gap, and the outer two screws adjust the relative curvature of the bed knife in relation to the reel. The lapping compound is just shy of $100 a bottle, so I may just try some Permatex valve grinding compound first, as it is only $4 a tube.

My machine is unfortunately missing the reel reverser gear, bar and chain, as well as the cast iron ear it would have mounted to. I am going to reverse the direction of the reel by removing the sparkplug and running the engine in reverse with a drill. Knowing that Eclipse had such a device at least tells me that the reverse reel speed is somewhere around the same ratio as forward reel speed. I figure that too slow of a reel speed will just make lapping/grinding take longer, and too fast of a reel speed could cause the compound to fly off of the reel. Somewhere in between must be the sweet spot! Knowing that the engine spins 2900rpm, I should be able to match that with a suitable drill. My electric drills do not spin that fast, but my Ohlsson & Rice Drillgine does! That ought to make a great youtube video!

After briefly talking on the phone with Austen, the idea of possibly having worn out reel bearings has come to my attention. I honestly do not recall whether or not my rolloway has ball bearings, sleeve bearings, or adjustable bearing carriers for the reel. I better check tomorrow and see what kind of slop there is in the reel bearings before I go sharpening and lapping the reel for no apparent gain,

I will upload some pictures tomorrow when I get the machine out of the shed and into the garage,

Any ideas are much appreciated,

Chris
 

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This is a strange question but (if) the engine has an oil pump or just "slingers" would it reverse the flow or better yet not deliver oil to it's respective areas?
:scratch:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The engine is a Briggs 8R6. It has an oil dipper on the end of the connecting rod, which is symmetrical about the rod journal, so it ought to throw oil in the same spots regardless of the way the engine is spinning. There is no aluminum in this engine, all cast iron and ball bearings!

Chris
 

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Sorry, my curiosity is getting the better of me, aren't the oil dippers directional designed to splash oil on the camshaft and I thought the 8FB, 8FBC and 8FBP were the ones with ball bearings and the 8F and 8R6 had only bushings on the mains.
 

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Hey Chris,

I apologize again for having to end our conversation abruptly over the phone.

I sent you what I have regarding adjustment and sharpening information from the Eclipse service manuals.
 

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Here's some pages right out of the Eclipse Maintenance Manual that you should find useful, and a copy of their sales sheets from 1955, or so you might like. View attachment 6537

Especially paragraph 21 that explains how to adjust that lower bar.

Paragraph 26 covers automatic sharpening.

View attachment 6529

So far as the sharpening compound, it is applied to the cutting bar, not the blades on the reel, and it shouldn't necessarily take a lot of spins to get the job done. I would take the chain off, maybe get another length of chain to make it longer and reverse the reel by hand rather than trying to spin the engine backwards and potentially causing damage to to the engine.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Five-Points, Yes the 8R6 has bushings on either end of the crankshaft. It was late last night, and I must have confused it with many of my other 8BR6's engines!

BWDBRN1, thank you for the manuals and the private message. The manual unfortunately specifies to use Eclipse brand sharpening compound which is unobtainable these days. If only it specified what grit to use!

It is great that it tells you how to adjust the bed knife and how to apply the compound. You are right, you spread it on the bed knife, not the reel knives!

I will give it a try sometime this week,

Chris
 

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I would thing valve lapping compound would work, like you suggested. At least now you know you won't be slinging it all over the garage as if flies off of the reel.

Here's a copy of the sales sheet from 1956 for your Rolloway.

View attachment 6561

And here is the exploded parts diagram and parts list for the Rolloway.

View attachment 6569

You should have tapered roller bearings on the ends of the reel shaft. paragraph 20 of that service manual tells you how to adjust them, but it's one of those things, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Here's the patent on that handle. The Eclipse handle has to be one of the most comfortable ever made. They were ergonomic before anybody knew what the word was.

Patent USD123313 - DESIGN FOB A HANDLE FOB HAND OB FOWEB MOWER - Google Patents

This is the 1959 price list for Eclipse mowers. They were pretty pricey for their day, but since they last forever, I guess they were a bargain.

View attachment 6577

You've probably seen this, but it's the dates of manufacture for Eclipse mowers.

View attachment 6585
 
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