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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Hello from a new member

Hi guys just wanted to say a big hello from me as a new member.

I'm currently a Gardner working for myself but always been interested in the older mowers.

I'm looking for my first project what would you recommend? I have experience in working on cars so cannot wait to start

merryman Fri, 25/08/2017

Thought someone with more experience of mower restoration than me would have jumped in, but to start with something basic, Suffolk/Qualcast 35s or 43s depending on size of lawns you are cutting. They were made from 1960s to late 90s, so they, and parts for them, are plentiful. The early, cast iron engine is regarded as better than the later aluminium ones, and the Zenith carb better than the DelOrto. If your gardening requires the use of more exotic machinery, such as bowling greens, circa 24" mowers by Ransomes, Webb and Atco can be bought for little money but spares, should you need them, are going to cost a lot.

Seb Fri, 25/08/2017

It depends what age of mowers interest you, you could go for something early, like a Greens Silens Messor or Atco standard, or something more modern, like a ransomes Ajax or suffolk colt.

It also depends on if you plan on just doing the mechanical work to get something working, or if you are planning a full repaint restoration.

If the Latter, I would always recommend starting with a push mower, my first restoration was A 1920s 8" Brill cutwell followed by a Silens Messor.

however pushmowers generally need very little work to get them working, so for a mechanical project, a motor mower is probably best. An Atco Standard is a lovely machine to start on, very easy to work on and spares can be found, or going a bit more modern, ransomes made some nice motor mowers in the 30s, more modern than that and your looking at suffolks, atcos, ransomes or JPs from the 50s and 60s, of those JP and ransomes are probably of the best quality

my best advice is have a look round and find something local at a reasonable price, then have a go at that, if you don't get on with it, sell it and get something else

wristpin Fri, 25/08/2017

Depends a bit whether you just want to stand back and admire your handiwork or use it as your regular mower.

If you want a useable classic motor mower I'd suggest a Suffolk from the 50s or 60s  - cast iron chassis and engine, simple to work on, plenty of parts available  and reliable enough to use as a working mower. Something a bit larger and heavier, a Ransomes Marquis in either 18 or 20" cut.  Push mowers - you could do far worse than a Ransomes Ajax or Qualcast Panther  - both simple and plentiful.

A few classic Suffolks

 

Punch_Drunk Fri, 25/08/2017

I second everything Wristpin says, having just completed a 1960's Suffolk Punch as my first classic mower project, I can say that its ideal, if you looking for an old petrol model to restore (and actually used in my case) as there are plenty of parts both new and second hand floating around on the web, both from specialist suppliers, and vendors on internet action sites. I replaced quite a few components such as bearings, piston rings, exhaust valve a new clutch friction lining, and everything bar the casting on the Zenith carburettor! That's apart from the normal faire such as gaskets etc. All were sourced in the aforementioned way, and now have a practical useable machine, which makes cutting the grass a just a bit more of a pleasure. In fact I was surprise with just how many parts are out there if you Google hard enough.

Nigel

merryman Sat, 26/08/2017

Whilst I like the looks and engineering on those old cast iron framed Suffolks, as someone who used nothing else from about 2010 to last year, when the cylinder wore out, as a "user" they leave a lot to be desired. I don't think I ever engaged the drive to the rollers, except to move the machine from one lawn to another. The drive, when engaged, being "fixed" to the cylinder, makes them extremely difficult to control, a fault it shared with a Green's Zephyr I rebuilt several years ago, except you couldn't disengage the Zephyr's drive from that of the cylinder at all, though it did have a cone, rather than centrifugal clutch for the engine. On a very large lawn it probably wouldn't matter as much, but you wouldn't buy a 14" Punch for a large lawn.

wristpin Sat, 26/08/2017

Whilst I like the looks and engineering on those old cast iron framed Suffolks, as someone who used nothing else from about 2010 to last year, when the cylinder wore out, as a "user" they leave a lot to be desired. I don't think I ever engaged the drive to the rollers, except to move the machine from one lawn to another. The drive, when engaged, being "fixed" to the cylinder, makes them extremely difficult to control, a fault it shared with a Green's Zephyr I rebuilt several years ago, except you couldn't disengage the Zephyr's drive from that of the cylinder at all, though it did have a cone, rather than centrifugal clutch for the engine. On a very large lawn it probably wouldn't matter as much, but you wouldn't buy a 14" Punch for a large lawn.

All a matter of technique and a sensitive throttle finger - perfectly useable IMO - and thousands of others!