TheSwede 2021

Cool season member lawn journals
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TheSwede
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Location: Stockholm
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 6000sqft
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TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

The base facts:
A Stockholm suburbs (about the same latitude as Juneau, AL but located in Sweden, Europe) 100% KBG lawn, reel mowed @ 16mm (5/8") with a 2007 Toro Flex21.

The past:
2019
2020

Progress (and proud moments) 2020:

Started the season like this:
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Ended the season like this:
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Again. Cannot stress how helpful this forum has been in achieving my 2020 results. Could not have done this without the knowledge and willingness to share tips, tricks and war stories from all the knowledgable people in this stellar community!

Goals 2021:
  1. Persuade wife that it is a good thing to do a full reno the back yard.
  2. Do a full reno of the back yard.
  3. Put down edging stones to define the lawn areas better and make it easier to mow.
  4. Sand level the front lawn to make it smooooth.
  5. Build a greenhouse in the front yard.
  6. Get a new job.
  7. Work my way back to playing golf in the 70s.

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

OK, so let the games begin...

First thing is to service my Flex21. It leaks oil from the transmission, and the 11 blade reel will have to be replaced. It is worn down and it's not really a good match for my 1/2" HOC goal, let alone the 5/8 HOC I mowed at in 2020.

So, I insulated the garage last summer but it has really filled up with junk during the winter months. I've been looking for a decent 2nd hand workbench that is built like a tank, but I ended up buying a new one. A bit more expensive than I would have liked and perhaps a little smaller too, but it is sturdy and it was in stock so I bought it.

Next step was to assemble the darn thing (it weighs in at 230lbs so I had to ask my neighbour for help holding the parts in position).

After that I spent 2 hours making room for the workbench and paving way for the Toro, and then again asking the neighbour to help me move the workbench into its final location. Did I mention I borrowed my neighbours trailer to get the workbench home? No? Good thing I also aksed him to help move the refrigerator to its final position in the garage (in very close proximity to the workbench). As it happens it was full of beer, and now it is pretty much empty. But I can borrow that trailer whenever I want. :)

So, the idea is that the Flex21 will arrive through this canyon of junk, and be positioned somewhere between my 4 golf bags and the treadmill, for disassembly:
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Then I will (actually I'll ask my neighbor :)) lift it onto the workbench for disassembly. I'll have to pull the gearbox apart almost completely to be able to replace the worn out parts... After that I will charge on with replacing the reel. Going from a worn donwn 11-blade to a brand new 8-blade will complicate things. I'm planning to remove the groomer assy initially and use the extended HOC kit for the first mows. Plan is to start with high HOC (+1/2", and then mow the lawn @ 1/2" and groomer attachment).

Anyways, there's lots of parts that I have ordered to convert from groomer to High HOC, and at the same time fix the leaking gearbox, and I realized today that I am missing a vital part that will cost me an additional 50 bucks...
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Besides that, I've invested in a grow tent for cannabi chilli... Anyways the chillis are sprouting and growing as well as some pumpkins and herbs.

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

OK, so planned to work on mower sunday night, but got stuck watching The Players instead (=golf!).

Fast forward to today -let the games begin...removing the gearbox:

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After about 1 hour of ample amounts of penetration oils some heat and the use of impact drivers I managed to dislodge all the screws and thread the gearbox and then some out of the mower and put it onto the workbench.

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Need to take a step back and figure out if this little fella actually needs to be removed for what I need to do with the gearbox -I tried to remove it, but this guy is stuck. Real stuck. If needed I will escalate tomorrow with a torch and another try with the impact, but for now, I will leave it marinating in penetrating oil over night hoping I can convince it to loosen up tomorrow.

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

So, this is the state of the lawn right now. Frost that melts away with the morning light. Beautiful!

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When it comes to lawn mower service, the short shaft is done... The shaft bearing hadn´t siezed but it has not been properly fixed to the shaft so the shaft has been worn down. So anther $100 needs to be spent...
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Otherwise i handed in my resignation today (a 90 day notice (!) as is common up here). Landed my my dream job yesterday. It ticks each and every box on my list and then some. The process started over a year ago but due to COVID and an aquisition it wasn´t agreed upon until today so it has been an excrusiatingly long process. But now it is done. :D :D :D

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Wiley
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by Wiley »

@TheSwede those end of season pics were on point! Good luck this season.

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

Wiley wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 8:55 am
@TheSwede those end of season pics were on point! Good luck this season.
Thanks, @Wiley -it was lots of hard work, good climate, this forum, and some luck, but with the result I had last season I am absolutely pumped for the coming one!
Last edited by TheSwede on Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

Quick update:
I was a bit slow ordering parts for the mower due to another project I'm planning so I am still waiting for the shaft, bearing and some small parts needed to put it all together.

So, the other project...well I guess it is time to build a pool in the back yard! In a way it is a stupid, stupid project, because I really do not need to take on any more economic risks right now, but having resigned from my current job, I need something to focus my energy on in the following months or I will mentally implode!

Pool projects where I live are fairly expensive investments -very expensive, compared to most other countries, actually. The digging is expensive if you need to get rid of the land fill (which I need, since the guy that built the property in 1978 did a perfect job of filling out the property to pretty much ruler flat).

Pools aren't really that common up here (even if they are gaining popularity, especially last year with covid preventing us from travelling to warmer countries) so the total volume of pools sold is fairly low which keeps the price for the material at a premium price point. The cool climate and short summers means you'll need external heating, insulating the pool, and materials that can cope with the low winter temperatures. There are regulations on enclosing the pool area and covering the pool to prevent accidents, and since the market volume is low, it is *insanely* expensive to get even a simple pool cover that fulfills the regulations.

There are still some things that needs to be sorted, like finding someone that can do the digging, and making sure I can get the material needed for the pool before the end of the season. The plan is to pretty much go all in and do a fully insulated 13x26ft concreete pool with air-to-water heat pump and swim jet, pray that the digging will be smooth, and then somehow miraculously find a buyer on the russian black market for my retinas and my good kidney so I can get the pool cover I really want. If pools are expensive up here, pool covers that are approved from a regulatory standpoint and that are designed to cope with the typical snow load we get up here during the winters, are *insanely* expensive. We're talking the equivalent of a pretty decent car. Anyway, this is pretty close to what I aim for (of course I won't be able to see it when it is finished because my retinas will have been "donated" to some russian oligarch, and I'll spend the rest of my life on dialysis :lol: )m but the size of the pool, the deck and the cover is pretty much spot on what it will look like, I guess:

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

Some progress on the Flex21...

Got the parts I needed, disassembled the gearbox, pulled out the differential assy and replaced the worn out axle. Cleaned everything

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Then it was assembly time. Got the new shaft for the diff assy sorted real fast. No problems whatsoever.
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Put all the newly cleaned parts back into the gearbox and started to put the right cover in place. Did not close. Lots of shafts that needs to be seated and I struggled for a while before I discovered I had put the friction band on backwards. Doh!
After correcting that blunder everything slipped nicely together. Then I discovered a little washer on the workbench that looked very much that it was supposed to be on the inside of the now assembled gearbox... It was the thrust washer for the reel drive shaft that I had forgot to put in place before closing the gearbox covers. So, I had to pull everything apart again (wasn't easy) and put the thrust washer in place and then close the thing up again:

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Yesterday and today I spent working in the garden. Parts of the hedge surrounding my property needed to be replaced, so I spent the last two days digging the old hedge out and replacing it with new plants. Hard work, but now 80+ hedge plants are in the ground and hopefully will grow up and blend in with the rest of the hedge in the next few seasons.

Lawn is starting to wake up. and it wakes up fast. Need to put down the first spring app of prodiamine tomorrow because temps are rising fast now:

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g-man
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by g-man »

Wow, it is so clean that it looks like it is new.

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

g-man wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:29 am
Wow, it is so clean that it looks like it is new.
Well, I was a bit concerned about the wear on the moving parts considered how much the gearbox leaked, but the parts inside the gearbox was pretty much mint condition. It was the bad bearing that had done the most damage it seems. Anyway, the gearbox is back on the mower:

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Need to remember to fill it up with oil, though.... :)

Next thing is to rebuild the cutting unit:
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New 8 blade reel instead of worn down 11-blade means I need to remove the groomer assy and put in a High HOC kit to be able to cut higher than 1/2", which I need to do, at least in the first part of the season. So, groomer assy removed and old reel disassembled:

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Hope to put the new reel in place tomorrow, when kids and wife are asleep...

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

OK, so what about that Prodiamine app I was planning? Think I can safely hold off a day or two with that,,,,


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Regarding the cutting unit rebuild I did get the reel out but the wear sleeves that I planned on reusing (they are actually pretty expensive) are absolutely stuck on the old reel. I just cannot get them to move no matter what I try, so I'll bite the bullet and order two new ones instead. Also, one of the seals on the side plates was cracked so I'll order one of those as well.

I did manage to mount the new bedknife, though. The screws holding the old bedknife was in really bad shape so I was a bit worried I would not get them out but they all unscrewed nicely.

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Cleaned up the bedbar to get the new bedknife to seat properly...

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The bedknife that was mounted was a 115-1880 microcut optimized for 1/16-3/16" HOC which is way shorter than what I aim for, so I will mount a low cut suitable for 3/16-1" (4.8-25.4 mm), With an 8 blade reel to compliment the low cut bedknife I think the after cut appearence will be way better than last season with the 11-blade and microcut bedknife. Notice that the microcut is shorter and much much thinner than the low cut:

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Bedknife mounted. Now waiting for the missing parts so I can assemble the cutting unit, remount it on the mower and get everything diled in for 2021 season:

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

Did the first spit app of Prodiamine today, and started up the irrigation system for the season. There's no rain forcasted for the next 10 days and I need to water the Prodiamine in. Will do the other app in a month or so. Lawn looks good and is greening up way faster than my "lawn-ignorant" neighbors´ lawns:

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When it comes to the other projects there are some major setbacks. Wife got Covid-19, so we're all in isolation. Wife is barely noticing any symptoms which is very fortunate, and I tested negative (which is kind of mindboggling since I've spent pretty much 24/7 with her the last couple weeks). Little guy can´t go to daycare so he's with us 24/7 and he is getting seriously boooooooooooored now, so it is a bit of a challenge to juggle his needs for attention and stimulation between two full time and then some, jobs.

I must say both our empolyers have been very understanding and supportive of our situation. You kind of know that you're working for a truly great company when your managers directors boss (!) devotes well over 5 minutes of an executive Zoom meeting that your little one happens to bomb out of boredome while dad is holding a very important presentation, and the managers directors boss encourages the little guy not only to demo the latest lego build but also wants to watch him hit some golf shots in the back yard.

If everything goes as planned, we'll all be back to normal tuesday morning when the isolation period (hopefully) ends.

The Flex21 parts have arrived, but I can't pick them up due to the covid isolation restrictions, which sucks. The pool project is on hold since I can't find anyone to do the digging, which also sucks. However, none of that matters. What matters is that my wife, I and my son is still doing OK in this pandemic. Stay safe.

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

The Flex is back together! Just hoping I didn't mess up the assembly of it. Next step is to double check everything, Then check everything again, and then start it up to see if it will actually cut.

Anyways, assembly went pretty smooth. It took me about 3,5 hours to pull out the side plate bearings and seals, clean them up and check them, pack them with grease, put them all together (with new seals), mount the new reel and bedbar w. new bedknife, mount high HOC kit and get the cutting unit back on the mower.

The most confusing part of the assembly was that I removed the groomer assy and I had to reuse some nuts and bolts from the groomer, but also a few new ones I ordered, so it took me a while to figure it all out. Maybe the beer I enyoyed while assembling it had something to do with it beeing a bit more confusing than it needed. I don't know. :)

Side plates disassembled and cleaned up:
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Sideplates assembled, bearings packed and new seals mounted:
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Wear sleves allready on replacement reel, and soothing beer opened:
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Bedknife about to be mounted:
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Bedknife and reel mounted:
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Everyting assembled including new bushings for the frame link assy:
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Cutting unit back on the mower. Fingers crossed I havn't messed up :) :

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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by nikmasteed »

Hope your wife and the rest of your family are doing okay! Wishing a speedy recover with few/no symptoms for her.

It's been neat to see the disassembly/reassembly of the mower!

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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

Thanks @nikmasteed! We’re all feeling well and since about who hours we’re officially not in quarantine anymore.

Only had a little time for the Flex21 today but I have checked everything and it seems to work as it should. Didn’t have time today but tomorrow I’ll hopefully adjust the bedknife, back lap and set the HOC. Lawn is actually growing now so can’t wait to try it on the lawn!

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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

OK, so the baby is lapped and ready to go! After closer inspection the 8-blade reel from R&R is both spin- and release grinded from the factory. It seems they paint it after the grind so it only needed a slight backlapping with fine lapping compound and it cuts *perfectly*.

Too bad the mother nature has put spring on hold up here with temperatures close to freezing, so I'll have to wait another few weeks before doing the first mow...
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On the lawn care equipment side I decided to go a bit bananas yesterday. It all started with the leaf blower I bought last fall. I have a lot of Makita equipment so I bought a Makita leaf blower that takes 2x18V batteries. Turns out that my batteries where pretty much done after the house reno, so all I got from my 3Ah batteries was a 6 minute window of leaf blowing.

So, turns out one of the dads at my sons preschool, that I have connected with, is a Makita key account manager...and boy is he good at what he is doing :lol: , so now I kind of upgraded with 6(!) new 18V, 6Ah batteries, a dual quick charging station, a DUX60Z multi trimmer with all the accessories (I mean all of them -the cord grass trimmer, the edger, the cultivator, and the hedge trimmer attachment), Got a *really* good discount, but still way more money that I had planned to spend (but I don't care :bandit: ).

Just to complete the lawn care equipment buying bonanza in a grand way, I decided I needed the "IDECH Power Rotary Scissors" attachment as well. So it is on its way... :smile: :ugeek:

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

It's cool for the season but I can't hold myself. I just gotta mow, and so I did...

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Realized the reel did not engage fast enough, it took several yards before it got up to speed... The play in the linkage to the reel clutch is significant since the unit is old, but after I tensioned the wire and some lubrication of the wire i think we're good. Will try again in the next few days.

Pool project is not progressing the way I want it to and I think I am going to pull the plug for this year and come up with a more realistic plan for next year. I probably could get it done this year but the demand for pools is so high right now that the contractors can pick and choose at their will and the rates are high. Way high... I like it the other way around so I'll bide my time and see how they respond later in the summer or in the fall...Kind of sucks not to get a pool this year, but it is a decision I am more than willing to take, considering the cost and availability.

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TheSwede
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

The makita DUX60Z arrived today together with the 6 batteries and the dual charger. Compared to my current trimmer it is a beast. I attached the IDECH Power Rotary Scissors to it and...man...I'm in trimmer heaven! The DUX60Z has three power levels and at the lowest power level it ran for a few seconds and then stopped. Middle level, however works wonderfully. Higest level is a bit too fast I think, but it actually runs perfectly on that setting too. Still waiting for the edger and the hedge trimmer attachment, but they are on their way according to the shipping company.

Since the pool project is on hold, wife figured out a way to prevent me from being able to relax this summer as well. We're building a greenhouse!?! Still not sure the greenhouse she has selected is available but it is not looking as bad as the pool, for sure. Just to make it complicated she wants one of those greenhouses that are not glass all the way down, but have a say 2 ft brick wall and then glass. I love the look of it, but it is just soo much more complicated for me to buld (but I mean, it looks soo good I just cant resist building one :)):
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So, with that said, greenhouses also seem to be hard to get these days...time will tell... :)

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Stuofsci02
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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by Stuofsci02 »

Looks like a good start to the season!!

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Re: TheSwede 2021

Post by TheSwede »

Stuofsci02 wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 12:41 pm
Looks like a good start to the season!!
Thanks @Stuofsci02 -it has been a great start of the season. Spring had a minor setback today with 3C temps, heavy rain w. snow (!) and 20+ m/s winds in the gusts, but otherwise the lawn is doing great and I have the backlog filled up nicely.

Personally, however, I *really* whished that I had read the weather forecast before I booked season's first golf round for this morning :lol: . Fingers like popsicles after first hole, rain starting to seeking its way in under my raingear after 15 minutes, on one of the more exposed greens by the sea the ball literally blew off the green due to the wind gusts, and when we finally made it back, the restaurant is closed due to COVID...

Regarding the greenhouse I have now ordered it and they say it will be delivered in 3 weeks. So, now I am trying to source rustic looking bricks for the dwarf wall my wife wants. It turned out much harder than I anticipated -it the southern part of Sweden the climate is good for using concrete, stone or bricks for building houses. Further north, where I live, wood is the natural choice nowadays so bricks are hard to get, and with most opting for the typically strict, clean, minimalistic swedish design language, rustic is simply not available here, it seems...

However, have a collogue that is based in the very southern part of Sweden and he said his brothers wifes husbands cousins family (or something like that) has been in the brick making industry since the early 1700 and they have a massive amount of unused hand made vintage bricks done in the early 1900 that I might be able to buy for a really good price.

Fingers crossed!

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