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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

New member and new (Old) mower.

Hello everyone. I'm new to the forum and new to the old lawnmower scene.

I'm in the Teesside area and have always had an interest in old machinery, having owned or currently own a variety of garden / horticultural machinery, stationary engines etc.

Anyway, I've just bought a Ransomes 20" Auto Certes. The idea being that my 12yo son and I could restore it over the summer (I need to get him away from the computer games and phones that all the kids seem obsessed with these days).

I've probably bitten off more than I can chew with this one. So last night, I joined the club and the forum in the hope that you kind folk can impart some of your wisdom onto this project.

Simply put, I don't know where to start with it.

It looks like its going to need to welding around the front end as the side plates are thin and corroded.

The engine has very little compression and looks like it had an electronic ignition unit fitted in the past.

The grassbox has been hopelessly repaired and patched over the years.

There are probably a lot more faults than listed, but at least the pull start works.

I'll try to upload some images.



wristpin Fri, 04/05/2018


The old thing does look a bit rough but the carburettor arrangement suggests that the engine was made towards the end of the F12 production. 

 It does occur to me that as a first project something a bit more basic in a better state of repair might stand a better chance of holding your son’s interest. Perhaps start with a Suffolk, Atco or  Qualcast  and keep the Ransomes as a more advanced project. 


Geoff Fri, 04/05/2018

Hello there and thank you for your reply.

I have to admit, that crossed my mind too.

If you guys were to start a restoration like this, would you have the parts shot blasted, or would that be too harsh?  Would bead blasting be better?


wristpin Sat, 05/05/2018

Quite honestly I would walk away from something with chassis rot like yours. Much sounder machines sell in the local collective machinery sales , some times for less than a tenner and I’ve scrapped totally sound chassis having stripped out the mechanical parts. 

Bead blasting is more for removing light rust and polishing rather than paint stripping. Good “shot blasters” use a variety of blasting media suited to what they are presented with but I suspect that any form of blasting on your chassis will reveal a bit more corruption than is immediately obvious.

 Returning to my first post, the Auto Certes is a green-keepers version of a Marquis and has various additions such as a blade clutch - expensive to replace, if worn. There’s a lot to be said for starting with a more simple machine and one with a ready supply of parts, both new and used.

This Marquis cost me £5 + buyer's premium at the local auction last summer and I probably spent another fifty on blasting and paint.


Geoff Sat, 05/05/2018

Oh dear, I paid £55 for this mower.
I should have done some research before hand.
looks like I’ll have to restore it now and try make a good job of it too.
think I’ll strip it down and take the rusty parts to a local shot blasting firm and see how hard they laugh at me.
Feeling a little embarrassed at the moment.
your mower looks amazing by the way. If I can get mine to look a fraction as good, I’d be really happy.