How to Sharpen Bush Hog Blades

Blades get dull and ineffective for cutting after long periods of use. Once you find that your blade is no longer doing a good job for you, maybe it is about time you cleaned and sharpened it.

Clean and well sharpened blades are so efficient that you will use much less effort to cut through even the most stubborn of bushes. Not only that, but your blade will not be clogged with debris or you down when you need to finish your cutting business in time.

To help you ensure that your bushes are cut evenly with no rugged patches, we’ve composed a list of methods on how to sharpen bush hog blades properly. Let’s dig in.

Use of an angle grinder

It is also known as a side grinder or disc grinder. With this method, you clamp the blade in place. Once you have held the power tool in your hands, you pass it over the blade until it is sharp and shiny. An angle grinder is powered using petrol engine, electric motor, or compressed air.

Use of a bench grinder

It is also called the abrasive wheel. Here, the blade is held against a stationary grinder. This is a more dangerous method, and one should exercise extra caution. The grade of the grinding wheel is adjustable as per the specifications by the user manual.

Manual sharpening

You can sharpen it manually using a diamond stone or whetstone, or a ceramic mug.

Once you’ve chosen the method that is most convenient for you, follow the steps below with regard to each method.

Sharpening using an angle grinder

  • Remove the blade from the bush hog

This enables you to have control of the blade as you do your cutting. It keeps the hog from falling out from the blade, which could cause serious injuries in the form of cuts or scrapings to your hands. 

How to remove the blade

Wear heavy-duty work gloves for your hands’ protection and goggles to protect your eyes.

Tilt the cutting deck to access the underside.

With an impact wrench, remove the bolt and washer while holding the blade in place.

  • Fix a grinding stone disk into your angle grinder. Ensure it is well attached to avoid falling out, which could result to serious injury.
  • Using a vise, secure the bush hog blade to a workbench or any flat surface you may have.
  • Clean the blade to remove any leaf or plant debris.
  • To roughen up the edge of the blade, pass heavy-grit sandpaper over it.
  • Start the grinder and smoothly using perpendicular motion; pass it along the blade edge, in line with the angle of the blade.
  • Keep the motion even to ensure uniform sharpness of the blade. Level up the nicks and cuts on the blade. Be careful not to round off the corner of the blade where most of the cutting is done.
  • Repeat the motion until you obtain a visible metal which is shiny and smooth on that one side.
  • Once one side is done, remove the blade, turn it onto the other side, and again hold it onto the workbench with a vise. Repeat the process.

Sharpening using a bench grinder

  • You also begin by removing the blade from the bush hog. This is similar to the first step of outlined above, when using an angle grinder.
  • Ensure the blade is clean and free of leaf and other plant debris. A wire brush can be used to achieve this.
  • Start the bench grinder.
  • While holding the blade at an angle of 45 degrees, move it smoothly and lightly against the grinding wheel, along the blade’s cutting edge.
  • Keep the pressure and motion even to ensue even sharpness of the blade. Be careful not to round off the corner of the blade where most of the cutting is done.
  • Repeat the motion until you obtain a shiny, smooth blade on that one side.
  • Once one side is done, turn the blade over to the other side and repeat the same process.

Sharpening using the manual method

  • Decide at what angle you will sharpen your blade at. The most common angles are between 10 and 30. It is, however, advisable to use an angle of between 17 and 20 for durability of the blade.
  • Use a very small amount of mineral oil to lubricate your diamond or whetstone.
  • On the rough grid of the stone, drag the blade across at an angle, in the opposite direction in a way that it will be roughly ground.
  • Continue grinding until you reach halfway through the blade, then turn it to the opposite side and repeat the same process.
  • Once you are done with both sides, turn your grinding stone to the other side and sharpen both sides of the blade once more, using a finer grit.
  • You can continue until you achieve your desired level of sharpness.

Using a ceramic mug

In case you cannot access all the above equipment, you can also a ceramic material on your mug as one of your hacks. The ceramic material is strong enough for use in sharpening your dull blade. You will grind using the bottom part of the mug.

  • At a 20 degree angle (You can measure angles with an angle guide), pass one side across the ceramic grit severally.
  • Flip the blade on the other side and slide it across the grit.
  • Alternate the sides and keep grinding until you achieve the required sharpness.

Must Things to Do Before and When Sharpening a Blade

  • Wear protective equipment and create the right environment

This includes putting on gloves your hands and wearing goggles to protect your eyes. Moreover, use shield plates to protect yourself from sparks. Additionally, ensure sufficient ventilation and dust control to prevent too much dust inhalation.

  • Check for problems in your equipment that might prevent a smooth sharpening, such as cracks and chips.
  • Perform a small test operation before the grind to determine if there is any issue that would make you not have a smooth sharpening process.
  • Always have a first-aid kit available because at times accidents happen even with the highest form of precaution.

What Not to Do When Sharpening a Bush Hog Blade

  • Do not go beyond the maximum operation speed specified on the wheel. Avoid changing grinding wheels or doing your test operation without proper information or training.
  • When carrying out your test operation, have the necessary avoid touching the grinding wheel or standing in front of it, in the direction the wheel is rotating.
  • Do not perform your grinding in risk-prone areas where the sparks could light up a source of fuel.

After sharpening your blade:

  • Replace it on the bush hog using the same bolt and washer. It should be well fitted and tight as it could be more dangerous if it falls out now that it has become sharper.
  • Before using the blade hog, lower it into position and start it up, making sure it moves freely.

Sharpening your bush hog blade is vital in extending its lifetime. A blunt blade could string tough stalks along while cutting, which mostly wrap around the bush hog gear boxes, destroying the inner seal.

If this happens, you will need to purchase a bush hog gearbox rebuild kit. In case you notice that your bush hog blade has high vibration, windrowing and streaking, it is a sign of bluntness and a call to sharpen it.

In the event that you have issues with sharpening the blade yourself, no worries as there are tractor service departments that will do it for you.

Here you will also have the bonus of being advised if your bush hog blade is due for replacement, so that you can purchase bush hog replacement blades.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I maintain bush hog blades?

Bush hog blades can be maintained by:

  • Proper lubrication to avoid rusting of inner parts that leads to problems such as bolts becoming difficult to remove. First wipe off the grease fitting before applying fresh grease and also rotate the shaft to make sure you have greased all the areas that need it.
  • Regular inspection of the blades to ensure they are sharp before cutting and not bent or cracked.
  • Learn how to properly remove bolts to avoid destroying the bush and also follow the rules of sharpening a bush hog blade so that you do not over-sharpen the blade. 

How do I sharpen bush hog blades without removing the blade?

To sharpen without removing the bush hog blade, you will use an angle grinder. First, put the grinder lock off, and get your protective gear on (your gloves and goggles).

Once you are ready, put it on and grind the last 6-7 inches of your blade smoothly until you achieve your desired sharpness.

How often should I sharpen bush hog blades?

You should sharpen your blades whenever they get dull. When you notice you are using too much power to cut your bush or the bush looks rugged after cutting, it is time to sharpen your bush hog blade.

Should bush hog blades be tight or loose enough to swing? 

Both blades should swing freely from the pivot point. It should, however, not be too loose.

The fixing should be tight enough to allow the blade to move freely. This will enable them to bounce back after hitting a hard object while cutting.

How do I remove a bush hog blade bolt with ease?

The blade bolt has a key which fits in the side of the hole in the blade-holder. It can be knocked out just after removing the nut and lock washer.

If this fails, you can apply heat on the blade holder so that it expands, and then hammer the bolt out before cooling takes place.

When do you know it is time to replace your bush hog blade?

Of course, if they break you have to replace them. Otherwise, you constantly need to check your blades for any damage. If it is worn out, bent, or too nicked, you should replace it. In addition, if it too rounded or losing length, it is due for replacement.