One of the least known team members who makes your grass look so good is our Blade Technician. Sharp blades make cutting grass easier by reducing blade resistance during mowing. One of Signature’s Blade Technicians is Valentine Trejo. Valentine sharpens one set of 150 blades every day, six days a week to keep all of his branch’s mowers equipped with blades each day.
A Blade Technician’s day begins around 1 pm. He enters the shop where he’ll find his large stack of mower blades from the day before that need his attention. It is his responsibility to sharpen this second set of blades by the time the mow crews return for the day.
The Blade Technician is equipped with many types of personal protective equipment to keep him safe while performing the blade sharpening. He wears cut-resistant gloves, spark-resistant sleeves, and a helmet with a face mask to protect his eyes and face from metal shavings and sparks. He carefully guides each blade into a stone grinder. The grinder table has an opening where the blade can be inserted to meet the stone for sharpening. The stone also has a guard around the top of it to ensure nothing will get caught as it rotates; it is set at an exact angle so that both sides of the blade will have the same angle once sharpened. If this angle is off, even a little bit, the mower will not cut properly and the balance of the blade will affect the mowing performance.
After all 150 blades are sharpened in this manner, and the mowers have come back to the shop from their day of work, the Blade Technician proceeds to remove all of the used blades from the mowers. He then installs the newly sharpened blades onto the mowers. Mowers do not usually get back from their day of work until around 7 pm, so removing and installing all the blades goes late into the night. The next morning, the mow crews arrive to find mowers that are prepared for another full day of mowing.
One set of blades takes three to four hours to sharpen, and then another four to five hours to reattach the sharpened blades to the mowers. The sharpening, detachment, and attachment process is repeated every day.
When asked why this process is done so often, North shop foreman, Ricky Torres, replied, “the grass blades bend and split, then turn brown if the blades are not sharp enough.” Ben Boyd, Vice President of Operations adds, “a cleaner cut heals faster, making the turf plant less vulnerable to disease.” The green sheen and clean cut seen when looking out over lush turf would not be achieved if it were not for an extremely sharp mower blade, thanks to our very hard-working Blade Technicians. We are grateful to have such skilled people performing this little known, but important job.