Skip to main content
Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

New member saying Hi

Good evening everyone

Im a new member who has just bought a Ransomes Ajax hand push mower. 
in very good condition being in the same family all it's life. 
It's obviously been serviced by someone knowledgable as it's clean, correctly lubricated and the cylinder and bottom plate appears good with no damage or large nicks in the cutting surface. 
I set it up better than it was (someone clearly was cutting a tapered lawn!) and gave the lawn a cut. 
turned out very well and pleased with the results. 
mine concern is the grass only falls on the front edge of the box and most falls on the lawn, why is this?

there appears some form of curved deflector which has a series of shallow pressings across its length. This is fitted between the rear of the cutting cylinder and rear roller. 
it only really just just a out from the main carriage, should this be further over the top of the cutting cylinder to better deflect the cuttings into the box?

ive read that back lapping may freshen up the cutting edge but recognise this isn't a substitute for a proper grind.  I don't think it needs that quite yet, especially as I got a quote from the local mower company of £93 for that and the bottom plate and that was me dismantling and providing the 2 parts. Painted was another £20!

Anyone know of a company near Fareham who can grind this for reasonable cost? I found someone on eBay who will do it for £30, which is more what I was looking at!

The mower only cost me a fiver so I have a bit of budget to play with

looking forward to engaging with you all. 

DJD Wed, 12/05/2021

Hello RussT, welcome to the club forum.

I'm retired now, but the last time I took a cylinder into my big local regrind depot. I was quoted and charged £2 per inch on the 24" cylinder, the bottom blade was extra of course. 

I used to get my workmate from the 1960's to do a few too on his little machine, but at trade rates of £1.50 an inch, it was decades ago, most firms want the clean disassembled parts in their hands and a quote of £2 per inch is almost universal nowadays. Plus bottom blade a separate charge of course, no one can carry out such work of quality at any less I believe.

There are folk still around using a piece of aluminium extruded metal clamped to bottom blade which uses a strip of coarse carborundum paper, mostly on electric machines, but they work best I'm told using a new bottom blade every time.

A good machine deserves getting right and spending a bit on if you expect to use it for the purpose intended, the difference on a sharp and well set up machine is a delight to use, compared to hard work and a poor cut.

Lee Smallwood Thu, 13/05/2021

Hello russ, welcome to the club, without seeing photos, it's hard to establish if there anything wrong with the throw plate, it sound like it may not be sitting right in the mower, or has been replaced in the past by a previous owner and isn't quite right, adding photos is quite easy, choose file, upload and then insert, if the photo is in the text box it'll be in the thread.

Regarding backlapping, I've only done this a few times just to have a go, I was pleased with results, but it takes time to do it properly, bit of a messy job and the paste can be quite expensive. No substitute for a proper regrind, but again, this needs to be done properly for best results too. Setting the mower up properly will also add to the efficiency of the cut, front roller brackets can wear giving alot of play to roller spindle, moving mower around whilst pushing. See if you can add some  Photos of the throw plate, and the mower as we love to see new members machines.

For now. Lee

RussT Thu, 13/05/2021

Thanks DJD so it seems £4.50+VAT may be an industry standard. 
Question to be answered I feel is why is the kit on eBay only quoting £20 plus postage for the cylinder and bottom plate?!

thanks again for the advice and I have posted pics as links to my Dropbox below


RussT Thu, 13/05/2021



Thanks for your advice

I have attached some images below. These may not show the thrower plate in any great detail but hopefully enough for an opinion. 
I have a parts catalogue and the manual. Whilst it shows the thrower plate there is now reference to its operation or set up. 
Hopefully you can advise


PS please let me know if you cannot see the images

JackClap Thu, 13/05/2021

Hi Russ, Welcome to the forum.

Can't see the images in the post but could view the dropbox ones via the link. This page should show you a way of having the images in the post.

I saw the mower you have purchased advertised and thought it looked in good condition for a fiver.

There are quite a number of garden machinery companies locally (I'm in Eastleigh) which you could try for sharpening prices, although I haven't used any of them myself so can't recommend one in particular. New Forest garden machinery advertise on their website at £49.50 + VAT so may be slightly cheaper. 

I have recently used the guy on ebay you mentioned and I am happy enough with the results. I think the reason he is cheaper from what I can tell is that he is retired and just doing it from his shed. I would certainly as you mentioned have a go at back lapping first. 

With the deflector it shouldn't be further over the blade, it looks correctly fitted in the images. But double check the two bits below.

There are grooves the base of the deflector should be slotted into.

Then there is an indent on each side at the top of the deflector which should be pushed back into the grove, can require a bit of force to get in all the way in.


wristpin Thu, 13/05/2021

No sign of any images here, but from what I can remember of the Ajax,  the deflector/throw plate just slides into raised lugs in the chassis side plates and has no independent adjustment. The ability to throw the grass into the box depends on - the throwing ability/ diameter of the cylinder,the speed of the cylinder, the volume and density of the clippings and the gap between the rotating blades and the throw plate. So a cylinder that has been ground many times will loose out on two counts , reduced diameter and be further away from the throw plate.  Not much you can do about that but you can trim off less at a time, push the machine faster and only mow when the grass is nice and dry. Add to that a nice sharp cylinder and bottom blade, correctly set and your machine will cut as well as it can for its age and condition .

DJD Fri, 14/05/2021

I bought a biggish trade tub of back lapping paste in the nineties ands haven't even opened it up yet!

Never found a use for it I suppose, I bought six machines from a father and son who who spent many hours using the stuff on them, but two years later most of those machines got recycled. Still can't think what made me buy them!