Greens Monitor verses Randomes Ajax

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Warpa
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Greens Monitor verses Randomes Ajax

I've been looking at used Greens Monitor mowers and just read the history on them in this website. From what I have read the Greens will give a more favourable cut over the Randomes?

While the Ajax are 2 a penny I have no idea of a working Greens mower with grass box, any ideas?

RansomesRob
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Hi Warpa.  Not had a Monitor

Hi Warpa.  Not had a Monitor to be able to help you with a comparison to the Ajax but a couple of years ago I bought what was advertised as a Greens Monitor which turned out to be a Greens Zephyr that had 8 blades and, should you be interested to know, that gave a great cut. Of course, not a proper comparison to the Ransomes Ajax which has less blades. I expect there will be someone in the club who will be able to help you with a proper comparison. Cheers. Rob 

 

Warpa
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They look like nice mowers,

They look like nice mowers, why are they always hundreds of miles away when you find one! 

AUTO CERTES 1
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Tell me about it Warpa I've

Tell me about it Warpa I've just travelled a round trip of 440 miles from Godalming to Welshpool to get a Certes mk8. 

Triumph66
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I have a Ransomes Ajax Mk

I have a Ransomes Ajax Mk Five and a Greens Junior SM model which I use on my lawn. The Greens is a really heavy mower and cuts well but in truth both mowers are just as good though I tend to use the Ajax more as it is easier to lift down the steps onto my lawn.  I will try and get some photos posted up.

cwj123
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The zephyr is also more of a

The zephyr is also more of a weighty mower,the box also.I personally like my Webb Witch as it light , a fine cut mower and also 12" cut. 

Warpa
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I think I may keep a lookout

I think I may keep a lookout for one. The webb wasp I like the look of too, so may also 'have' to have one of those. If I end up with more than one I may keep one at my mum's and give her front lawn the same care and attention mine gets so it dominates the close she lives in.

The Certes is the mower I'm really keen on, but if I found one for sale I couldn't afford it at the moment unless pricing was under 3 digits which is highly unlikely.

Lee Smallwood
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I'm not ashamed to say that

I'm not ashamed to say that the not-wife cuts our small back lawn with an electric Bosch,  I've given her every mower I've bought home, various makes of hand mowers, sidewheels,, motor mowers electric and battery,  she is my market research into using my mowers. Conclusion,  petrol ones are a no no, struggles to start them,  battery ones are a no no, she struggles to remember to charge them,  most hand push roller mowers are a no no as she struggles to lift them in and out the shed and Sidewheel mowers are a no no as she struggles to stop at the edge of the lawn without driving it deep into the mud/mulch border and damaging the blades, cheers luv, I'll repair that later.  So for the not-wife, she can have the little Bosch that I got given for nothing, hope she doesn't run over the cable.

Out of all the mowers I've bought home She actually loved the 14inch JP maxees, she said it was 'smoother' to use than my Ajax, easier to manoeuvre than the Zephyr, and made a nicer noise than the Witch and the handles are nicer, it was still too heavy for her to get in and out the shed so without a doubt her favourite is the little blue Dudley Works Vantage, it's light, easy to push around and leaves nice little stripes  from the skinny Back wheels.

Keep an eye out for the unusual and you may find the perfect mower for yours or your mum's grass. 

BTW, the Vantage is a no no as I don't want her to use it, it's far to nice.

Warpa
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Lee I'll have a look at the

Lee I'll have a look at the JP maxees as it has a cutting width I may prefer. In the ideal world I'd have a large bank balance, a large workshop, be retired and have a large lawn front and rear. The only downside I see to these old mowers is when it gets damper late autumn, I'll have to revert back to the flymo I have unless a push cylinder mower works in the wet?

 

Edit, I cant find a 14 inch maxees only 12.

stonethemows
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The thing is you shouldn't

The thing is you shouldn't really be cutting when it's wet anyway.

Regarding references to having a nice light machine, and lawnmower sales people have long been just as guilty, to achieve the best result what you actually need is a machine with a bit of weight and solidity. This is even more so if those nice stripes are desired. The Ransomes Ajax was found to be the best hand powered roller mower by Which in the 1959 season, being trialled with a Zephyr, a Maxees which were  both dearer, and a Webb Wasp amongst others.

Interestingly Which also made the comment that the lightest machines were not necessarily the easiest to push !

 

hortimech
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Never really had much faith

Never really had much faith in 'which' since they tested a Mountfield against a Hayter and went for one over the other (cannot remember which, no pun intended) because it had a better engine. Problem was, they both used the same engine, a Tecumseh.

wristpin
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Never really had much faith

Never really had much faith in 'which' since they tested a Mountfield against a Hayter and went for one over the other (cannot remember which, no pun intended) because it had a better engine. Problem was, they both used the same engine, a Tecumseh.

I quite agree, as some of their test criteria, whether it be for a mower or a tumbler drier , bear very little relationship to how an average owner will use it.

My latest self inflicted Which failure was a Best Buy electric Shaver -  total C**p !

 

Lee Smallwood
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How independent were these

How independent were these tests, no-one can guarantee a little sweetener wasent added to the test for a more biased result, who knows, same engine result gave me a chuckle. 

 on the subject of different mowers, this website could be the perfect place for us collectors and users of these machines to have a comparison page, a pros and cons section, weight/ blade number section, a user's guide if you will, maybe it will help other users of these machines choose there next weapon. Just an idea. 

For me it's more the look of the machine, detailed castings, handle shape etc, the clever ideas that make using them hassle free.

Warpa
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Lee that's a bloody good idea

Lee that's a bloody good idea to have a comparison page. I'm not after a light mower, it's not what a lawn needs, it also doesnt matter if it's hard to push, but if that hard I would expect the rollers to damage the turf in damp conditions.

Late in the season the lawn has to be cut wet otherwise I'll ruin what I have if the length gets too high. I did read that the 6 blade is far better for use on wet grass and I'm sure that was info from an old ransomes guide on mowers. I guess I'll find out next season.

Antbr123
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Without wishing to appear at

Without wishing to appear at all contrarian to the notion of a comparison table or indeed to any contributors to this thread I am going to offer an alternative view which may provoke further angst or protest.  However here goes...

It might be worth considering what lawn mower characteristics exactly you wish compared in the table.  I can think of several, but I am not sure what purpose or value it would give me or other readers.  Let me explain.  Suppose a table containing the following.  Cylinder blade count...Ok...5.  Cylinder diameter...OK...5"....Cuts per yard ...OK...52....Lawnmower weight ...OK...23.4Kg (Maxees 14")...Rear Roller diameter...8".  Height of cut 3.2mm-14.3mm......so what exactly do I do with all of this data??

The point I am trying to make is a) that data collection for the sake of it becomes meaningless unless the data is applied some way.  Secondly, suppose each and every one of us were to use this data to select in isolation for what we thought was the best lawnmower...we would all fail collectively for one very obvious reason....our lawns are all different! Different geographies, soils, aspects, slope, individual personal strength and age, grass mixtures, drainage, baseline latent nutrient levels exist between us all.  Therefore to select a mower based upon criterion held in a table,without thought to its application as a tool, could lead to disappointing results because of lawn and environmental characteristics, many of which are outside of our control.

Inevitably therefore, our choice of mower becomes a personal one...its what we are comfortable using and can afford.  But statements such as "I'm not after a light mower, it's not what a lawn needs, it also doesn't matter if it's hard to push" are not universally applicable to all and sundry. If I use a heavy mower on my lawn today and cannot push it...what purpose has the lawn mower served? With record levels of rain recently, I haven't been near my lawn for weeks for fear of compaction and I have no desire to wreck my lawn based on a set of comparison data held in a table. There is a lot to be said for living by the seasons and adjusting practices to prevailing conditions and not being reliant upon opinion based upon data in a table.

The second thought is where do you draw the limits in terms of comparison data?  If you wish to go down to the level of recording epicyclic gearing giving 5:3:1 gear reduction on engine transmissions...I think you would rapidly lose readers interest!

Food for thought.

regards,

Tony

Antbr123 (Tony)
Consider grass in terms of how you would like to be treated yourself - and you won't go wrong!

Warpa
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Tony it's not the stats on

Tony it's not the stats on each mower that are needed but peoples opinions on ease of use, quality of cut, easy to adjust etc. I'm a carpenter and am on tool forums where people ask advice on which version of a tool may be best, the same applies to what you intend to use those tools on, a bit of soft wood or some mature oak, once a week occasional use or house bashing using MDF day in day out.

I can offer my advice on the Flymo I use, how easy it is to adjust height, how soft the steel is that they use for the blades, height of grass it will cut etc. Pushing a heavy cylinder mower in wet conditions is not what this forum is about, I'll find out the limits of what I can and cant do with an Ajax, the same I did with a flymo, this is not a lawn expert forum although I bet a few have a very good knowledge (if there are greens keepers here I'd love some advice on levelling hint hint)

I might also add that most agree the Certes is probably the best push mower out there, but would be useless on 99% of peoples lawns.

Antbr123
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Warpa

Warpa

I think we are in agreement although I would comment that opinions on the ease of use of a particular mower or mower type are entirely subjective.  You may be younger, bigger and stronger than me and hence hold a different opinion about a particular mower than one that I might hold.  But as the saying goes in PM's question time in parliament...may I direct my learned colleague to my previous statement in which I stated that the choice of mower becomes a personal one. And...be prepared to accept that your choice may not be right first time....that's part of the joy of understanding old lawn mowers.

Regarding levelling of lawns...a good beginners guide can be found in Dr. D. G. Hessayon The Lawn Expert.  Dated but still relevant to today.  It also offers opinions on mower choice but very generic. Top dressing is used to level a lawn and a number of good videos exist on You tube.  Here are a couple I dug out after just a minutes research.  Regarding top dressing have a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi-gKccD5m4 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_pztDe9jpshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXNK8JTmPHE

Tony

 

 

Antbr123 (Tony)
Consider grass in terms of how you would like to be treated yourself - and you won't go wrong!

hortimech
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Top dressing is not used to

Top dressing is not used to level a lawn, it is usually used after hollow tyning, it gets sand and nutrients into the root area.

The weight of a hand propelled machine should have little effect on how hard it is to push. If it is hard to push, then it is set on too hard and/or it requires regrinding.

There is a correlation between the number of cylinder blades (and cylinder size) and how you should use a mower, the more blades, the more often you should mow and the lower you should cut. Most people cut their lawn too short, they go out once a week and cut it as short as possible, they do not have a lawn, they have a grass patch. If you want a lawn, you will need to cut a few times a week, using a cylinder mower and feed the lawn at least twice a year. If you want a lawn like a bowling green, then be prepared to cut every day, using a multi-bladed cylinder mower, set to approx 3/16" effective cut height, you will probably also have to feed the lawn at least every month.  

Antbr123
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Hortimech,

Hortimech,

I agree with 99% of what you say - and some might view what I am about to write as semantics, but top dressing can be used to fill minor hollows in a lawn thereby levelling it.  It may require repeated dressings (ie at least twice a year)  over a couple of years and by altering the mix of sand/loam provide a suitable foundation and seed bed for over-seeding.  But I agree top dressing will never be successful in filling deep hollows where more drastic action is required.  Furthermore top dressing should never be applied to a depth where it buries the grass blades which is what is required to level deep holes/hollows. It should ideally be applied under dry conditions, levelled with a board and them raked in using a lute, finally allowed to settle for a couple of days and then  finally watered in. Repeated layers will gradually fill hollows as well as feed the lawn.  

I think a distinction needs to be made between restorative actions and maintenance actions and most top dressings would be regarded as maintenance, whereas levelling a lawn I would regard as being a restorative action, and under ideal situations should not be required if the lawn is laid properly in the first place....unless children, dogs and squirrels have intervened!!

At least - it seemed to work when I did it....

Tony

Antbr123 (Tony)
Consider grass in terms of how you would like to be treated yourself - and you won't go wrong!

Warpa
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I have the dated lawn expert

I have the dated lawn expert book and it is a good guide, but only a guide. My lawn passion is what bought me here and into the world of old push cylinder mowers, my lawn got to the stage that even a razor sharp rotary flymo blade caused more harm than good cutting at 3/4 two to three times a week. I did scarify, top dress and over seed with a nicer blend of seed and I do have a lawn level rake.

I have read that I will only get a level lawn using sand, but there is confusion over what type of sand to use. It's not massively un level but will look like the Rockies when pushing a cylinder mower over it.

Dwarf perennial rye

Creeping red fescue

Chewings fescue

Slender creeping red fescue 

Smooth stalked meadow grass 

Brown top bent

Antbr123
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Hi Warpa,

Hi Warpa,

Use dried horticultural washed sand - not builders sand as it contains too much salt.  Mix with loam soil and compost.  But if you are feeding regularly (I do it once a month in the spring with summer feed (High N) and change to autumn feed in August)  Ratios of sand, loam soil and compost could be 1/3:1/3/1/3, but if you are filling hollows only you could increase the sand/loam content and decrease the compost (reason is you will overseed anyway and apply fertilisers later).  Build up the hollows slowly and it may take a couple or more seasons. Quickly looking at your picture, I would estimate 2-3 bags maximum (25 Kg) should be sufficient when mixed with loam soil and compost. Cut your grass low, apply the mixture, brush in vigorously and level using a board/rake or lute. Then I roll it using a light mower.  You do not want to compact it. You will quickly see where the remaining hollows are.  Then water and leave for a week to settle. Then you can over-seed and I finally riddle loam soil over the top of the seed.

Your grass mixture looks fine, but it depends on the ratios, and a good source of seed is Hurrells Seeds (on t'internet) who do some good seed.  Because of the dwarf perrenial rye and meadow grasses, which are courser grasses, be careful of repeated low mowing.  The bents and fescues can tolerate this better so I would gradually over-seed with finer grasses to crowd out the course grasses. But it is difficult to do.  If you have children or pets, then these courser grasses will withstand wear and tear better.

A cylinder mower should enhance the lawn compared to a flymo. I mow 2-3 times a week at least during the growth spurts in the spring and late summer and always at least twice in different directions. Never leave grass cuttings on the lawn as it builds up thatch. My biggest improvement was found using professional grade fertilisers and weedkillers and not those peddled by DIY stores.  Grass is a hungry plant! I use a Scotts hand wind fertiliser spreader (about £30 which will cover your area in about 15 seconds but gives an even spread.  Its a good investment and can also be used for seed spreading.

One final thought - it has been extremely wet this Autumn - which will have leached out alot of fertisilers.  It may pay to fertilise a couple of times before Spring using Autumn/Winter feed to replace what has been leached out.

Hope that helps,

Tony

Antbr123 (Tony)
Consider grass in terms of how you would like to be treated yourself - and you won't go wrong!

Antbr123
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Hi Warpa,

Hi Warpa,

Use dried horticultural washed sand - not builders sand as it contains too much salt.  Mix with loam soil and compost.  But if you are feeding regularly (I do it once a month in the spring with summer feed (High N) and change to autumn feed in August)  Ratios of sand, loam soil and compost could be 1/3:1/3/1/3, but if you are filling hollows only you could increase the sand/loam content and decrease the compost (reason is you will overseed anyway and apply fertilisers later).  Build up the hollows slowly and it may take a couple or more seasons. Quickly looking at your picture, I would estimate 2-3 bags maximum (25 Kg) should be sufficient when mixed with loam soil and compost. Cut your grass low, apply the mixture, brush in vigorously and level using a board/rake or lute. Then I roll it using a light mower.  You do not want to compact it. You will quickly see where the remaining hollows are.  Then water and leave for a week to settle. Then you can over-seed and I finally riddle loam soil over the top of the seed.

Your grass mixture looks fine, but it depends on the ratios, and a good source of seed is Hurrells Seeds (on t'internet) who do some good seed.  Because of the dwarf perrenial rye and meadow grasses, which are courser grasses, be careful of repeated low mowing.  The bents and fescues can tolerate this better so I would gradually over-seed with finer grasses to crowd out the course grasses. But it is difficult to do.  If you have children or pets, then these courser grasses will withstand wear and tear better.

A cylinder mower should enhance the lawn compared to a flymo. I mow 2-3 times a week at least during the growth spurts in the spring and late summer and always at least twice in different directions. Never leave grass cuttings on the lawn as it builds up thatch. My biggest improvement was found using professional grade fertilisers and weedkillers and not those peddled by DIY stores.  Grass is a hungry plant! I use a Scotts hand wind fertiliser spreader (about £30 which will cover your area in about 15 seconds but gives an even spread.  Its a good investment and can also be used for seed spreading.

One final thought - it has been extremely wet this Autumn - which will have leached out alot of fertisilers.  It may pay to fertilise a couple of times before Spring using Autumn/Winter feed to replace what has been leached out.

Hope that helps,

Tony

Antbr123 (Tony)
Consider grass in terms of how you would like to be treated yourself - and you won't go wrong!

Warpa
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Thank you for the reply Tony.

Thank you for the reply Tony. I did think horticultural sand would be best, but the cost of leveling/topdressing even a small 60m square like mine is huge, as in hundreds of pounds unless I'm shopping at the wrong places.

Last season I used a quality sports/lawn 70/30 sand soil mix x 10x25kg bags and it simply disappeared as I poured it out. That came to around £80 and I could have used 5x that amount as it was so fine.

It comes across that my lawn is like the Himalayas but it really isnt, as it stands though a cylinder mower set low will scalp areas. I had hoped to be able to bulk buy a tonne so I could level each week or two.

Top dressing was from quality garden supplies and the seed was from lawnsmith and is their Classic grass seed. We dont have a lot of traffic but do have 7 cats. Where may I find the cheapest place to buy the same and loam? I dont mind mixing it myself, and can I add more winter feed now as the lawn looks very sorry for itself being what looks to be water logged.

Antbr123
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Warpa,

Warpa,

I have just "Googled" Bulk Top soil deliveries near Southampton and at 50mm depth covers 14 sq meters.  You only need 1cm depth - so one bag costing £36.00 inc VAT should suffice when mixed with sand and compost. https://www.hampshiregardensupplies.co.uk/garden-topsoil-bulk-bag/p428

I suggest a further "Google" for bulk washed sand or horticultural sand.  My experience is that most garden centres sell it by the bag....2-3 bags should be sufficient and the same for compost.

Yes you can still winter feed the lawn - it will aid root development anyway. Have a look at Hurrells Seeds.  They can arrange delivery.  A 25Kg bag if kept in a dustbin dry will easily last you 2-3 years.  Winter Feed cost is £38.00 excl delivery.

https://www.hmseeds.co.uk/granular-fertiliser-thomas-elliot

 

regards,

Tony

Antbr123 (Tony)
Consider grass in terms of how you would like to be treated yourself - and you won't go wrong!

Warpa
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Thanks again Tony I really

Thanks again Tony I really appreciate the advice. Is this the spreader you are referring to? I have a push along spreader already.

Antbr123
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Hello Warpa - yes thats the

Hello Warpa - yes thats the one.  It takes me 30 seconds to do one of my lawns which is 10m x 10m = 100 sq M.  I use a couple of handfuls of fertiliser at a time, setting is on medium (no 3)

Tony

Antbr123 (Tony)
Consider grass in terms of how you would like to be treated yourself - and you won't go wrong!

wristpin
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It surprises me that neither

It surprises me that neither of you lawn nerds has mentioned drainage and aeration .  Maybe you are fortunate enough to be on nice free draining soil, but if you are mowing three times a week in two directions, that’s a lot of human footfall compaction !  

My 2000 sq metres of grass ( mainly Ryegrass not lawn)  is cut ( not mown!) by Robert the robot  who is out there with a light tread every day in the season  and maintains it at a healthy and robust three quarters of an inch .  Just occasionally it gets a two directional scratching with a petrol powered lawn rake dumped by a former customer and once a year a dose of cheap 7:7:7: aka Growmore . If the grandchildren want a game  of their rules Croquet  I mow a square with wherever cylinder mower is to hand - usually a Marquis . It soon recovers  from the shock!!

As for treating it as I wish to be treated; turn that around and you will gather that the bathroom cabinet does not contain much in the way of male grooming material : some surfaces are well past improvement!

Anyway, enjoy your lawns, and when it stops raining,  look forward to a healthy, happy and productive New Year

Angus