So I finally said screw it to my old gas mower, and decided I wanted to skip gas altogether (I hate small engines with a passion, my mower was the only gas yard tool I had left), so I picked up a discounted-end-of-season reel mower. I suppose I should probably clean it after mowing, but I'm not sure how. Is it OK to gently spray it down with a hose? Can I get away with oiling just the cutting edges after mowing, or are there other parts that need oil? Would veggie oils be suitable, or should I go for a petroleum oil? Are there any other major concerns that need to be taken care of between every use? (I know about sharpening the blades and adjusting the cutting bar, not necessarily HOW, but at least about)
Yes, you should clean it after mowing. You really need a lawnmower cleaning brush, a narrow one that gets between the blades to take off anything lurking there, and for a general scrub down of dirty parts. You could hose it down if you wanted, but you'd need to dry it off before oiling and storing it, so its not something I'd do. Check the area where the cylinder blades connect into the frame, the part which spins - quite often, grass or other debris gets wound round the spindle, and you need to clear that away each time, or you'll suddenly find the cylinder's not rotating properly or at all. As for oiling, I just use WD40, giving all the metal parts a spray, in particular moving parts, including the blades and spindles. Helps to prevent rusting too.