Assessing the Damage
In the case of lawn mowers, one of the main non-engine-based malfunctions is a broken handle resulting from rust or overuse. It is a good idea to assess any damage to the lower part of your handle where it connects to the mower body as the metal around this area tends to strain due to the increased pressure exerted by the opposite (unbroken) arm. If the handle pops easily out of the grooves at the bottom, buy an extra set of pipe clamps to cinch them up to the main body of your mower. Note: This will make it difficult to adjust the height of your handle, so be sure that it is at a comfortable setting before tightening the clamps.
What You'll Need
- 3' aluminum rod (make sure its diameter is smaller than the lawnmower's handle, since it needs to fit inside the hollow interior)
- Weatherproof duct tape
- Flathead screwdriver
- Four 1-1/4'' pipe clamps
Using Pipe Clamps
These nifty little devices work wonders for basic home repairs, but they can be a little tricky if you have never used them before. The screw that is used to tighten the clamp around a pipe (or lawn mower in this case) does not detach from the metal band, it stays in place and incrementally tightens or loosens depending on the direction that it is turning. However, the metal band will loosen to the point of detaching from the adjustment mechanism if you are unable to slip the attached clamp onto your handle. From my experience, the best way to tighten a pipe clamp is to start with a flathead screwdriver and then switch to a wrench once it begins to tighten.
Making the Splint
- First, you will need to measure and cut the aluminum rod so that it spans the length of the broken area of the handle. To do this, shove the rod as far as it will go into the lower half of the handle (Fig 3).
- Make sure it is in all the way by taking a hammer or rubber mallet and gently tapping the protruding tip of the aluminum rod. This will ensure that the rod will not slip down into the bottom of the handle and past the fractured area, thus rendering your repair useless.
- Once the rod is in as far as it will go, mark your cut area 3-4 inches past the break into the upper part of the handle (Fig. 4).
- Take the rod out of the handle, make your cut, and then replace it using the previous method.
- Insert into the upper half of the handle when complete.
Cinch It Up
Now that your aluminum rod is in place, you will need to secure the two sections of handle surrounding the rod by pushing them as close together as possible and wrapping the entire areas in duct tape. It might be best to get another person to either do the wrapping or hold the pieces in place to avoid a sloppy taping job.
With the duct tape wrapped around the damaged area, your mower handle should now feel secure; however, don't skip the pipe clamps as the tape will wear down soon without some additional support. Attach two of your pipe clamps on either side of the break and make sure they are close enough to wrap around the aluminum rod underneath the metal exterior of the handle.
With your main break repaired, push the mower around for a few minutes to make sure that everything is functioning properly. As I mentioned previously, double-check the connections at the lower part of your handle where it meets the body of the mower. If this area is strained or slipping out of the grooves, simply wrap another pipe clamp around the handle and the body by inserting it through one of the adjoining slots (Fig 6).