Meg-Mo swinging blades -- first impressions

  
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quicksandfarmer

quicksandfarmer

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Jinma 354, purchased 2007
Installation was simple -- lift the mower, take off the old blade with an impact wrench, put on the Meg-Mo. Here's one old blade and one Meg-Mo:

IMG_20210916_112216633.jpg


My mower is basic, it's a Husqvarna 42" lawn tractor. It has star-shaped spindles. The Meg-Mo was custom made but does not have star-shaped openings, instead it's a circle that fits over it. Part of me worries that it won't stay attached, but part of me recognizes that the star is a weak point on the spindle, it's made of soft metal and when it deforms the whole spindle has to be replaced. Time will tell.

I put the new blade on with an impact wrench. The disc is about 1/4" steel and it's pretty hefty, about 50% thicker than the blade it replaced. With the thickness of the disc and the fact that the swing blades hang down the cutting edge sits about 3/8" lower than before. I always mow in the highest position and often wish I could mow higher so we'll see if that's an issue.

One thing that was a little disappointing is that the blades don't swing 360 degrees, because of the wings they can only swing about 60 degrees from their cutting position.
 
  
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quicksandfarmer

quicksandfarmer

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I did three tests. My place was a dairy farm for generations and then it was a sod farm for a while, grass grows really well here. However, to keep it grass it needs to be mowed at least once a year or it gets taken over by briars and eventually forest. I have five mowers that I regularly use -- a push mower, a rider mower, a flail mower, a drum mower and a rotary rough mower. If the grass goes more than a month or so without getting cut it gets so tough that only the rough mower and the drum mower can cut it, it jams and breaks the lesser mowers. I like to have mown trails through and around my hayfields, and I usually use the rider mower for that. As I noted in the other thread, so far this year I've broken two mower drive belts, three spindles, one mower pulley and two blades on the rider mower. That's pretty much all from overloading in tall grass. I've also pretty much given up on using the flail mower because it will jam in the tall grass and when that happens things break.

First test: this is a patch of grass that I mowed once in May and haven't since. It's not as tough as a spot that wasn't mowed all year, but it's pretty tough. It's hard to photograph grass but it's about 18" high, with seedheads. In my experience this would break a rider mower or a flail.
IMG_20210916_145636289_HDR.jpg


For comparison's sake, I did two passes with the rough mower and four passes with the rider mower with the Meg-Mo. Meg-Mo is on the left:
IMG_20210916_154335394_HDR.jpg


Closer up. It cut it all, but there is some striping . Notice that there are very few clippings on the Meg-Mo side, whereas the rough mower side is covered in clippings. It mulches a lot finer and throws the clippings a lot further.

I'm pleased, I frankly can't believe my little mower cut that stuff at all.

IMG_20210916_154342747.jpg
 
  
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quicksandfarmer

quicksandfarmer

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Test #2: This was easier, this is a patch of grass my son had been mowing all summer until he left for school three weeks ago. So about three weeks worth of growth, maybe 9" tall:
IMG_20210916_112827550.jpg


Here's the after picture:

IMG_20210916_114926481_HDR.jpg


Looks like a lawn. It gives a nice cut, clippings are mulched. If anything it's a little shorter than I like. The mower is noticeably quieter than the old blades. When you first engage the mower it takes a second to come up to speed but after that it doesn't feel like it's straining.
 
  
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quicksandfarmer

quicksandfarmer

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Test #3. This is the side of a hillside. This is the only spot that hasn't been mowed at least once this season, because I broke my rough mower on a hidden rock in here a few weeks ago. So it's tough grass plus some tall deciduous weeds:

IMG_20210916_151140692.jpg


Once again I did the rough mower and the Meg-Mo side by side. Rough mower is on the left in the after picture:

IMG_20210916_154502783.jpg


The Meg-Mo really kicked ass in this section. Note also the muddiness in the rough mower section. We had heavy rain last night, the ground was still wet, and the tractor and the rough mower really chewed things up, the lawn tractor was much gentler.

There was one point going up the hill where the lawn tractor didn't have enough traction to push through the tall grass and I had to back up, go around and get it from above. But there was also a spot where the tractor lost traction pulling the rough mower!
 
  
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quicksandfarmer

quicksandfarmer

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You may notice there was something on the ground in the last picture. I tried to upload a picture but TBN is getting cranky. Anyway, it's a stick, a big mower-breaking stick. I ran it over with the Meg-Mo and didn't even know it was there until I went back to take the picture.

So overall I'm pleased. The blades do exactly what I wanted them to do, which is use my lawn tractor as a small rough mower. I'm thinking of getting one for the push mower too now.

The big question is durability, whether the blades will hold up, and whether I'll kill my lawn tractor (faster than I normally would). I'll see, and when I know you'll know.
 
 
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