Inspection & Dismantling

It is easier to restore a mower if you dismantle it and work on each part separately.

You can then clean each part, put right any problems and repaint it before reassembly.

Most nuts and bolts can be undone using ordinary spanners.

Here, the bottom blade is being removed from one of the side frames.

Most nuts and bolts should be reasonably easy to remove. 

However, with old machinery, there is a good chance that some will be difficult to remove. Causes might include:

  • parts corroded/rusted together
  • damaged threads on nuts and/or bolts
  • threads blocked by paint and/or rust
  • components are out of shape

A closer look should reveal the cause of the problem. 


Seized parts can present a potential problem. You need to free the part but you will not want to cause any unnecessary damage.

If you are having problems removing a seized part, be patient. There will be a great temptation to force a spanner or to hit the offending part with a hammer or some other tool get something to move. We have all been there and we have all probably regretted the ensuing damage.

Most problems can be solved by removing excess rust and paint from threads and by applying lubricating or penetrating oil.

For advice on some other common problems, see the special section on freeing seized parts.

On the Patent Chain Automaton the most serious problem was that the large sprocket on the rear roller was seized on to its shaft. The only way to get it off was to drill out the small metal key that holds the sprocket on to the shaft. A new key will be needed later.

The bottom blade was rusted beyond repair and will need replacing later. The holes on the sole plate for the mounting screws will need to be drilled out and retapped.


Image of rear roller showing sockets where teeth for pawls are located.

As you dismantle the mower, make a note of how the parts fit together and where any loose items such as springs and washers are placed. This image shows the rear roller and the location of the teeth that engage with the pawl on the main axle to drive the mechanism of the mower.

All of the components after dismantling of the mower.

It is worth taking a photo of the components after you have finished dismantling the mower as a record.

Keep small items such as nuts and bolts in temporary containers. This prevent them becoming lost or rolling off the work space. Plastic trays for supermarket fruit and vegetables are ideal.