The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Clean points

Craftsman points close up detail

Our new Craftsman lawnmower is a lot easier to work on than its older cousins.

It only took a bit over an hour to take it apart, clean the points, and put it all  back together with no parts left over.

It's still a little rough to start, which I suspect is due to a slight warp in the blade. These blades have a more complex twist to them so they can work as a mulcher and throw the grass cuttings back towards the bag. It's this complexity that seems to make it more sensitive than most mowers and I would have to say gives it a disadvantage for folks like us who have the occasional stump to work around.

Of course this problem should work itself through as we continue to delete the stumps and level out the mowing area.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Lawn mowers do tend to be simple but a nagging problem after hitting something like a root or part of a stump is very difficult or failure to start. If this happens make sure you check the key on the shaft for the flywheel as it is made to shear when something hard is hit. It doesn't take much deformation of this key to make it hard or impossible to start. Make sure you replace it with the RIGHT key as putting the wrong one in defeats the safety purpose of the key. They are made of fairly soft metal and are easily damaged. It should go in without the use of tools. Wood can be used to make sure it is seated in the keyway, if necessary. If you don't have a blade balancer, use a a bolt larger than the mounting hole with its end ground to a taper, or used a washer larger than the hole with a piece of string up through the hole to check for balance. The washer should be edge to the hole, not flat. It should be as horizontal as you can get it when sharpening it. Do not make the blade knife sharp as it will dull very fast and get out of balance and cause much vibration in the machine. Just grind enough to get the edge reasonably smooth and get the ruff nicks down to balance it, no knife edge.
Comment by vester Sun Apr 11 22:24:36 2010
It sounds like you're on to something! That would make so much sense, and I don't think Mark knew to check it. I'll have to ask him to peer under there --- I threw a fit after he fixed it when I discovered I still wasn't strong enough to start it. :-)
Comment by anna Mon Apr 12 07:46:22 2010

Thanks you so much for sharing this information vester.

In case anyone out there is curious. A Briggs and Stratton fly wheel key part number for this mower is 222698 and the blade number is 189028. that's for engine number 123K02 series.

Model number for this Craftsman mower is 917.388571

Stay tuned for how the fly wheel puller tool works out in the near future.

Comment by mark Mon Apr 12 16:21:53 2010

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