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Tractors Big ones, small ones, old ones, new ones, buying, using, fixing...you get the idea.

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Old 06-12-2017, 01:11 AM
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Default What Is The Difference?

I have two Scag Zero Turn Mowers, not exactly tractors in the true sense, but still indirectly in the family so to speak. One is a Turf Tiger with a 61 inch cut and the other a Wildcat with a 52 inch cut.

The 61 inch cut requires three 21 inch blades with a 5/8 inch center hole.

The 52 inch cut requires three 18 inch blades also with a 5/8 inch center hole.

Looking on the internet for the most durable and HD (Heavy Duty) blades I can obtain in width and thickness of the blades, I found a multitude of blades with thickness ranging from .119 to .312 inches thick. Their widths varied from 1 1/4 inches to 3 5/8 inches wide.

The styles included:
Hi-Lift, Rolled Hi-Lift, Notched Hi-Lift, and ditto for Medium-Lift & Low-Lift Blades. Bagging, Upper, Lower & Standard Mulching, Standard, Straight, Toothed & Flat (or Sand) Blades.

Flat or Sand blades are routinely sharpened on four sides and are reversible more or less doubling their life. They also require less energy to be spun by the engine, but each reduction from the Hi-Lift Blades down to the Flat or Sand Blades eject the grass clipping from the discharge shoot with less force. I like and use the Flat/Sand Blades and they are more than adequate at expelling the cut grass from the mower, but do so less violently, and stir up less sand and dust in sparsely covered mowed areas, which gave them the name Sand Blades. Sand also does less damage to these blades being flat, without any lift or wings to help drive clippings and other substances from underneath the deck housing. (I no longer purchase the notched and toothed blades, because they wear down the fastest, and are among the more expensive types. I use mulching blades in the fall to shred leaves, rather than rake them.)

I know probably more information than necessary, but to the crux of my question above. As long as I use three identical blades of the proper length what difference does it matter if I use a 3 1/2 wide 21 inch blade that is .250 inches thick, (or in an 18 inch length for the other machine), even if the manufacturer labeled them for a Grasshopper, Kubota, Toro, or something else.

Some things that will fit a piece of equipment, like spark plugs, oil filters, etc may not be in the equipment's best interest to be used, even if a few bucks are saved, at what these units cost. However with blades, if they fit properly (proper length & correct center hole) what else matters?
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Old 06-12-2017, 06:34 AM
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No knowledge, just logic:

-thicker, wider blades will take more abuse, like hitting rocks, but probably give a coarser cut
-thicker blades are heavier and will take more power to get going, but less power to keep spinning (more momentum once moving). Mower engine probably plenty powerful to handle the extra load.

Are you using it like a Brush Hog, manicuring putting greens, or something in between?
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:10 AM
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Doc, I have a 4005 John Deere 40 HP 4WD, I purchased new just before I retired. I have a Woods brand HD rotary mower for the larger stuff. I purchased the 61 inch Scag to mow at Mothers while she was still living at home, while I was still employed.

My time was always limited and If I needed the rotary mower, the disk, or plows were on the tractor. Besides the rotary mower does not cut grass that nicely, nor maneuver in tight places very well, so by purchasing the Scag, I reduced a lot of wasted time in switching equipment, mowed the property quicker and had a much nicer looking mower area. I certainly do not abuse the 61 inch Scag, but I won't say grass is all it has ever cut. It was purchased back about '05.

I use the rotary mower and one of the tractors, Dad had a 25 HP Kubota 245H he left me, but the Kubota is actually a little light for the rotary mower, so I usually use the JD with the mower, and use the Kubota for plowing. (The 61 inch Scag has a 27 HP twin cylinder Kohler engine and the 52 inch has a twin cylinder 25 HP Kawasaki engine as compared to the Kubota's 3 cylinder 25 HP engine.) Old Privet hedge is a scourge or blight on the property down home as well as wisteria and I do cut both with the Scag. The thicker heaver blades hit harder, maintain their cutting edge longer and are just all around more durable because they are HD blades. For grass and light lawn weeds, I would say the HD blades make as smooth & clean a cut and any other blade, if not better. When used for cutting the wisteria and young privet naturally there will be much more debris left, and the looks will vary with the sharpness of the blades I suspect.

The JD was purchased in '08, and the 52 inch Scag in '10. The 52 inch has never cut anything more than lawn grass & weeds, except when the boy mows concrete with it. (I do shred leaves with both in the fall, having plates to cover the discharge chute of each mower.) The boy & youngest daughter both live within 8 or 10 miles by roads, and the 52 inch is used to cut their & my lawns plus the old gents property across the street from me.
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:53 PM
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Some what like said... My experience with my 25hp, diesel JD and 60" belly deck was that standard type aftermarket blades were my best bet.. They were thick enough to stand up to the terrain, sand, rocks, and multiple sharpening. I had an extra set on hand ready to go. I kept a real old ratty set to do first time in the spring mowing, then switch to a "summer" set.. Swapping out as needed.

It came with a new set of Parana (I think it was ?) blades. They were not special enough to be worth the trouble or money replacing with same. I had another set or two of hardware store supposedly compatible blades.. NOT worth the trouble. JD blades were too expensive for the kind of life I could expect from any kind of blades.

Occasionally I cut things up to about 1 1/2 - 1 3/4" diameter.. And did some mowing of small plots in rough pasture that eventually were food plots. It would do it easily enough, but very slowly.

The only time I had any trouble was the day I wound up the 25" dog cable when mowing for a neighbor. NOT a funny event that does make a funny story now.

My 5 cents of experience..
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:48 PM
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Mated blades (all same style/type) of the proper length with the proper diameter size center hole, is all that really matters in my opinion. The style or type is just personal preference, or what one has learned provides the best performance & life.

I doubt anyone that has ever mowed can deny wrapping something around a blade(s) and/or spindle(s), Tim. Even later I can't relate any of my experiences as being that humorous, although they might have been to someone else.
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