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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

New front rollers from wood

Dear reader,

This has been a tricky since we started restoring lawnmowers; how to source en restore nice front rollers?

There are a couple of ways to get what you want. More modern ones from stainless steel; easy available from AED rollers

Or the classic ones from wood, like beech. On older mowers the wooden rollers tend to be worn out or rotten and need to be replaced. On our previous project, a Atco Commodore B17, I bought 2 table legs of beach for about €18. Using my neighbours lathe I got 6 rollers of 55 mm out of the 2 legs, a bit of wood oil on it and they looked and worked great. But sourcing good, dense wood for work on a lathe is pretty expensive and hard to come by. So I tried a different route: rolling pins, you know for rolling dough.. Anyway I visited a couple of shops which sell them and they where to expensive of didn't have the wanted diameter of minimum 55 mm or both... Back to the computer I did some looking around the Internet focusing on the diameter and found these:…

I ordered 2, under €9 together, they came in today, looking very nice and promising. I will start modifying them to the desired 4 rollers for the Atco Commodore B14 (our current project) shortly and will make pictures on the progress.

Regards, Henno


wristpin Thu, 20/06/2019

I used rolling pins as a source of wood for rollers three or four years ago but went off the idea due to the unknowns and mis information of buying on line - variable quality of timber and inaccurate dimensions.   Like you I found have that second hand and scrap furniture is a good source of quality timber . 


Henno Fri, 21/06/2019

Iam going to try Ikea a couple of times now. Quality to specification is usually pretty constant at the flatpack company.

Henno Fri, 21/06/2019

The same picture is used on the dutch site. It is the same item as was sent to me, only on the picture of Ikea it has been treated with wood oil. I mostly looked at the dimensions (6 cm diameter) and the grain of the wood used (tough stuff like beech). And since the implements also can be used for resolving / escalating of relationship / marriage issues, my guess, it should be ok. The ones I received look very well. They do not have bearings on the spindle that some very expensive once have, but in this case I would have to discard that so it is a plus.

The handles on both sides are just pushed on the spindle, easy to remove. 2 Plastic plugs in the roller act as "bearing".

Plus side is if you have an Ikea store near you or you are passing one while travelling you could look for yourself in the kitchen utensils department and checkout the quality for yourself.

wristpin Fri, 21/06/2019

I was looking at the rather “iffy” grain structure visible if one enlarged the image. Nearest Ikea to me is 40+ miles and not a very nice journey so I think that I will stick with either the second hand furniture or the offerings  from the local turning centre which are, actually, quite reasonably priced.

Henno Fri, 21/06/2019

Understandable. I have a secondhand shop behind us but they mostly want steep prices for the stuff. I will make some close-up pictures of the wood when transforming them into rollers.

Antbr123 Fri, 21/06/2019

I have to admit to taking the expensive option when restoring my JP's.  I use a local turner who has wood blanks and knocks them out at £25/set.  I have taken about 4 sets to him now and reviewing the woods on the original rollers he found that most were beech with the occasional Oak.  He strongly advised against any other woods due to durability and moisture ingress.  Oak actually performs better than beech in that respect, due to the grain structure.

Rolling pins - an interesting idea - except they hurt my head - when I bring mower bits into the house!  I have noticed when earning browny points when washing up that they do absorb water quite quickly and hence wonder about heir suitability for sustained use on a mower.  My fathers mower rollers lasted 58 years and no doub here are others which have lasted longer.

gtc Sat, 22/06/2019

Ikea's description on their website here in Oz is:


Roller: Solid birch, Solid beech
Rod: Steel, Galvanized
Handle: Solid birch, Solid beech, Polypropylene plastic

wristpin Sat, 22/06/2019

Ransomes seemed to favour beech and Atco oak. Oak is definitely more durable and less prone to wood worm. All my homemade rollers and also any ones being refurbished are left submerged in a wood preservative, such as clear Cuprinol  for a couple of days.

When yacht varnish was solvent based I used to thin some right down and soak rollers in that, and then when dry give them a full strength coat,  but the water based stuff is useless for rollers.. 

Milton Keynes … Sat, 05/03/2022

I notice there is now someone selling rollers on eBay. Searching "wooden mower rollers" should take you straight to them. It's not as creative or as cheap as making your own but they certainly look the part.


wristpin Sun, 06/03/2022

OLC members have no need to look further than a member’s advertisement on the back cover of Grassbox.

RansomesRob Sun, 06/03/2022

Hi Milton Keynes Mower Bloke. I have had 4 or 5 sets of rollers from the site on E Bay you mention. It is fellow OLMC member Mike Floody, great rollers and great customer service from Mike, I can thoroughly recommend using him. Cheers. Rob

olcadmin Sun, 06/03/2022

Mike is also listed as one of the suppliers on this site.

I have put a lot of time in to listing these suppliers. I hope that members do use them!