Flail Mower Let's talk flail mowers

   / Let's talk flail mowers #5,271  
I've got a Ford 917L "Special". It's a 5' mower. I'm curious if anyone knows what makes it a "special". It has 12 stations, and 4 rows of side slice knives. The knives are attached 2ea to the station with a bolt. Maybe because it's offset?

After reading Wrench83's problem I went out to look this thing over. It hasn't been cutting very cleanly and tall (2') weeds, it will leave standing sometimes.

I think the guy I bought it from bought it at an auction and thought it was a tiller. I don't doubt he tried tilling his garden with it.

I violated all Flail Mower Rules and used a 4" flap disc to dress the knives. It didn't make much difference. I will probably order new knives.

I have 3 flails and this is the cleanest and the quietest, and is the worst cut.

Ford flail mower 006.jpgFord flail mower 007.jpgFord flail mower 008.jpgFord flail mower 010.jpgFord flail mower 012.jpg
 
   / Let's talk flail mowers #5,272  
Hello D2CAT,


I think "special" refers to the offset position of the flail mower but Neil Messick would know for sure.

Have you flipped the knives previous to this????? If not you may have a good edge on the opposite side.

The knives are a little dinged and I would check to see how much it would cost to buy a new set versus saving these knives with wet well grinder from Micromark. My dad always had a complete spare set of replacement side slicer knives (128) to replace any that were really dinged when he did the annual thatching on the 6 acre lawn that we had.

It took a lot to damage the old Matthews flail mower knives as they had a tapered knife edge and a slotted mounting hole. These knives and the tool less mounting system allowed the side slicers to become airfoils and clip the good sod grass and brush level every time without damaging the knives or when dethatching the lawn. The twin hinged air paddles aided in lifting the thatch and grass up into the collection basket all at once. through the duct that directed the clippings into the collection hopper.

The first time I dethached my lawn in 1990 using the first 36 inch lawn genie I owned with the canvas collection bag which I bought used from the dealer that my dad bought it from and then traded in for the 48 inch model which he gave to me a few years ago I ended up with 36 cubic yards of thatch and grass off a lawn of slightly less than one acre SO my lawn is long over due for dethatching and reseeding.

I need to buy 64 new thatching blades when I can afford it.
 
   / Let's talk flail mowers #5,273  
There were a pile of different Ford 917 flails over the years. Different letter designators after the name for the various iterations & they were small evolutions to the design as far as I know, not major redesigns. My 917 has the model 22-184 stamped on the serial number plate. Nothing special & it has plenty of offset. Some of the 917s came in a rough & fine cut trim. Given the 4 bars with lots of holes for mounting stations I assume the only difference was the knives that got put on.IMG_20150525_185656.jpegIMG_20150525_182923.jpeg
 
   / Let's talk flail mowers #5,274  
Serial number plate says: Ford 917L, 22 BU 6601, serial - YJG
 
   / Let's talk flail mowers #5,275  
My 917 has the model 22-184 stamped on the serial number plate.

Oh, and I assume the 84 in the model number has to do with the 7' (84") working width.
 
   / Let's talk flail mowers #5,276  
Ok, I've had my Caroni going on 3 years now..no problems at all BUT... I'm thinking I need to sharpen those little blades.. whats the best way?

I'm thinking I'm just going to do them with a hand grinder, don't really want to take them all off, but whats the best way to do this? Again I was thinking I don't really want to lay under there with it raised up in the air, so I'm thinking I'll take the PTO shaft off , lay it down and lean it over on its back to do this.

Good plan or not so much? Is there a better way? Thanks in advance!
 
   / Let's talk flail mowers #5,277  
Hello and good morning hunt4570,

Please refresh my memory, have you previously flipped the side slicer knife to the opposing side to expose a fresh knife edge or not?

If not you can simply unbolt them all and then flip the side slicer knife to the opposing side.

DO you have a finish flail mower rotor with 4 rows of side slicer knives or the B rotor with 2 rows of side slicer knives hanging on shackles?
 
   / Let's talk flail mowers #5,278  
Hello and good morning hunt4570,

Please refresh my memory, have you previously flipped the side slicer knife to the opposing side to expose a fresh knife edge or not?

If you have not flipped them to the fresh edge you can simply do that and have a fresh edge for another three years if you do not have bad spots that may damage the knife edges

Ideally you want to sharpen the knives off the machine on a wet well grinder to maintain the temper on the heat treated hardened side slicer knife edge hot grinding will destroy the temper on the knife edge and it will become brittle and damage more easily.

Micromark has their 110 volt electric wet well grinder on sale for $99.00 + sales tax + shipping and you will need an angle guide setter from woodcraft to set the tool bed angle as this wet well grinder does not have an angle indicator on the tool bed support to correctly cool grind the edge.

You can use the wet well grinder to sharpen chisels and carbide tools to maintain their sharpness.

You can also use it to sharpen kitchen knifes if you change the grinding wheel for a another wheel to avoid using the same wheel used to sharpen the side slicer or scoop knife edges.

Its safer to remove the knives and sharpen them with a wet well grinder and you will not have to fill the swear jar. I am still using side slicer knives that are over 30+ years old.

If you do take them off you will need metric box wrenches and a 1/2 inch breaker bar to obtain the needed leverage if you do not own an electric or air powered impact wrench and metric impact sockets.

If at all possible washing the flail mower rotor off with a pressure washer, steam cleaner or a garden hose with very hot water and it will dissolve the fine grass dust and then you can see what condition the exposed threads are on the mounting bolts.

If you have a fastenall store nearby you should plan on purchasing spare lock nuts and bolts.
Just be sure to take them with you to the fastenal store to make sure they provide you with the correct ones.

You should plan on wearing some heavy cotton work gloves to protect you hands in case you are exposed to poison ivy, oak or sumac oils.
 
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   / Let's talk flail mowers #5,279  
Sorry but this turned into a double post quickly:eek:
 
   / Let's talk flail mowers #5,280  
Ok, I've had my Caroni going on 3 years now..no problems at all BUT... I'm thinking I need to sharpen those little blades.. whats the best way?

I'm thinking I'm just going to do them with a hand grinder, don't really want to take them all off, but whats the best way to do this? Again I was thinking I don't really want to lay under there with it raised up in the air, so I'm thinking I'll take the PTO shaft off , lay it down and lean it over on its back to do this.

Good plan or not so much? Is there a better way? Thanks in advance!



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Hello hunt4570,

You can do it that way, you just have to drain the gear box before you roll it over and be sure to place some heavy cinderblocks or thick timbers behind it to keep the three point hitch upright and vertical.

You also need to block the roller from moving simply because its holding the entire weight of the flail mower on the roller so pounding a couple of survey stakes in the ground or using more heavy cinder blocks pushed up against the roller will work well.

If you have a small brood herd of 2" by 12"s you can lower the mower on them using the side weldments as the point where the 2 by 12's hold up the mower but the issue is having enough room to work and not filling the swear jar at the same time.
This is where I yell be sure to take the tongue hitch out of the mule so you do not bang your head and fill the swear jar with fifty dollars.
If you have not flipped the knives since you purchased it you can just do that but it depends on how much time you want to spend doing it and how full the swear jar is and having a box fan running on high to keep you cooler.

Hand filing with a very fine lawn mower sharpening block is an option but in order to do that you will need to hold on to the side slicers with a vice grip. the only problem with that is maintaining a 37 degree angle on the cutting edge. The test for the knife edge sharpness would be if it cuts news print or 20 pound bond paper.
 
 
 
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