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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Ajax rear roller


First time poster!

Could anyone please advise me what colour the two large split rear rollers would have been originally. They are obviously rusty, but with a good wire brushing have come up ok, and have very small traces of red which I have removed. I am not sure whether to leave as is, or paint, although I guess the paint would only wear off.

Thanks in advance.....


Lee Smallwood Tue, 26/01/2021

Hi Martin, 

Welcome to the forum/club,

I've made the mistake as a novice restorer to paint the rear rollers, black or silver depending on what I had lying around, but as you say, it doesn't last long on a machine in use, so after previous threads about the subject, keep the outsides unpainted but treat with a metal protector, I think owatrol is the right one but if wristpin is reading he might suggest something better, I'm not sure if the red you refer to is on the inner surfaces on the rear roller, I think it depends on the year and make of mower, but I paint the inside the colour I find when cleaning up the surfaces, mostly green, not to say it hasn't been painted previously. For my display only mowers I now spray the outside of rollers in a matt black, I can here the tutting from other members but its my preference,  what Ajax are you working on? 

Yellowduck Tue, 26/01/2021

Hi Lee

Its an Ajax Mk4. I wanted a mower for the front garden as it's too small for the Honda rotary, and I thought I may as well refurb it (but it's costing more than I thought as I am a bit of a perfectionist).

The red paint I mentioned was remnants on the rear rollers which I guess was painted years ago by a previous owner, but agree with you about leaving unpainted now they are free (more or less) from rust.

I probably won't do any other mowers, as my main interest is refurbing old pedal cars. 


wristpin Tue, 26/01/2021

Paint of any sort on the roller of a working machine is unlikely to last but if any will, a two pack epoxy may. Jawel do a limited colour range of two pack non iso that goes on well with a brush or small disposable roller. I also find their two pack primer to be a good hard wearing base coat for steel grass boxes.

For plain or ribbed steel or cast rollers I either leave them as is or give them a thorough scrubbing with rotary wire brush and then a brush applied coat of Hammerite Kurust which dries to quite a pleasing smooth black finish not unlike gun barrel blueing.

I’ve never tried  Owatrol for a working roller but perhaps it is a touch glossy and I’d think that,  even when thoroughly dry, a bit soft for that application.


toRRa Fri, 29/01/2021

Would a thin layer/sheet of rubber (+-3mm) be recommended to apply over the track of the rollers in OP's case?


Reason I'm asking is I was thinking of doing the same for my mower. Sure it will slightly raise the HOC overall by the rubber's thickness but I don't cut at the minimum height in any case, so this is a non-issue.

hortimech Fri, 29/01/2021

There is nothing to stop you doing this, but I can think of a couple reason why it might be a bad idea, it will be extremely hard to successfully bond the rubber to the roller and it would be very susceptible to tearing in use.  

mikehpw1 Fri, 29/01/2021


i noticed you've mentioned Jawel paints before wristpin, I spray and have used thetheir 2 Pack non iso on a few occasions. Whilst happy with the finish they appear not to be petrol resistant. I spilt some on my Atco tank and it went straight through to the undercoat. I took it up with them but after a brief conversation about mixing etc they just ignored my emails. Discussions with other manufacturers about non iso versions of their 2K pants more or less confirms that they fall a long way short of the real thing. I'm going to try 1K synthetic enamel next time.