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5 Steps to Assemble a Flat-Pack Lawn Mower

Updated on July 9, 2017
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Friends say I have "green-fingers" and the garden certainly seems to respond to my efforts. I enjoy observing wildlife and being outdoors.

Your Grass Lawn Needs Regular Maintenance

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How to Assemble a Flat Pack Mower

Step
Comment
1. Read the instructions.
Saves you making silly mistakes.
2. Empty out the delivery box.
Check nothing is missing.
3. Put small parts into a bowl.
Stops you losing screws, nuts and bolts.
4. Re-read the instructions.
Make sure you understand the order of construction.
5. Construct the mower.
Congratulations on completing the job.

How Hard Can Home Assembly Be?

The world is divided in two; there are people who find flat-pack assembly easy-peasy and there are those who do not. I am definitely in the second group. The very phrase “flat-pack” sends me running for cover. But into every life, a little rain must fall. Last week I found myself having to tackle an unexpected, but absolutely necessary, home assembly of a garden lawn mower.

My old lawn mower had died of overwork. The new one was delivered promptly. The sun shone. The rain fell and the grass grew (a lot). One fateful morning, I knew that today was the day I had to mow the lawn or nature would triumph and I would be buried by an unruly green sward.

I opened the cardboard box containing the mower. Quelle horreur! The machine was in bits. I would have to put it together myself. There was no one I could call on for help that day, so I would have to do the job myself. After all, how hard could it be?

Before I describe my efforts at flat pack construction, take a look at the video below. It shows an expert demonstrating how to assemble a similar corded lawn mower to mine. He makes it look fairly easy, but even he struggles a couple of times during the build. See if you can spot some of the steps he should have taken to make the task easier.

Black & Decker Electric Corded Lawnmower New Set Up

Step One: Read the Instructions

It sounds so obvious, but very few people do it. Read the instructions before you start.

The expert in the video above takes a perfunctory look at the manual. Then he puts the booklet down unread and proceeds by guesswork. He runs a gardening business using similar machines every day. He has the skills and experience to bluster his way out of this DIY difficulty, but many of us do not. It only takes a few moments to check the instructions and this helps to avoid making mistakes later.

However, this is where I hit my first problem. I bought a Black and Decker 15-inch corded mower. I have a small lawn so this is a good low cost option for my back yard. The lawn mower is made for an international market and so rather than produce multi-lingual instructions, Black and Decker provide a diagram. As you can see from the sheet reproduced below, the drawing shows lots of numbered, but unnamed items together with some magnified areas.

Instruction Diagram For Self Assembly Corded Mower

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Step Two: Empty Out the Delivery Box

I started by identifying all the parts shown in the diagram and then matching them to the assorted bits and pieces in the box. I used the floor of the garage as my working area so I had plenty of room to spread out. The old adage about not working with children or animals is very true when you are attempting to complete a flat-pack job. There are always some small items like screws or that could get lost if you have a playful cat or a curious toddler in the vicinity.

The main part of the lawn mower with the electrical cord and wiring comes ready assembled for safety reasons. The only parts that need attaching are the handle struts and the grass cutting bag. This may not sound much to do, but you will need to insert handle locks, and tighten screws, nuts and washers to make the whole caboodle work. Each component is well packed to prevent damage while shipping. Every tiny screw is securely sealed in its own plastic wrapper. Make sure at this stage that you have all the required parts. If anything is not there, you need to contact your supplier asap.

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Step Three: Put Small Parts into a Bowl

Once you have removed the tiny screws etc. from their polythene coats they can be easily mislaid. Get in the habit of putting them into a small bowl or container that you keep in a set place off the floor. There is nothing more frustrating than a small washer you had just a moment before is now nowhere to be seen. Make it a routine that if you unscrew something, you immediately place the item into your “safe” place.

Step Four: Re-read the Instructions

Yes, I know you have already done this step, but you need to do it again. If you do not, you will most likely miss something obvious. In my case, I slotted together the three parts that formed the mower handle. I screwed the handle firmly onto the main body of the mower and then tried to attach the starter mechanism. No way would it fit! I was forced to undo all my hard work and reread the instruction diagram.

After examining the instruction diagram closely, I could see the two sides of the handle were not identical as I had assumed. There was a right side and a left side. One had screw holes drilled into it for the starter device, and one did not. My mistake was that I had assembled the handle back-to-front. This meant I had wasted the last half hour and needed to reassemble the handle again from scratch.

Step Five: Construct the Mower and Admire Your Handiwork

Completing a flat-pack job should be straightforward. If you are using kit from a reputable manufacturer, the holes will be pre-drilled in the right place and all the necessary screws and parts will be present in the box. Usually you get what you pay for. If you pay very little, then expect to find crudely formed parts or holes that are misaligned.

If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions (or diagram) to the letter, and have a little patience you will be able to construct your lawn mower unaided. I certainly needed patience, but that was my own fault as I tried to cut corners and did not follow the instructions exactly. You can learn from my mistakes and be a success first time. Happy mowing!

What a Difference a Mow Makes

An English lawn in July. The area on the left was mowed twice between May and July. The area on the right had not been mowed at all that year.
An English lawn in July. The area on the left was mowed twice between May and July. The area on the right had not been mowed at all that year. | Source

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