Backlapping : Mostly used to touch up edges on bedknives and reels by spinning the reel backwards and applying grinding compound . Grinding is a preferred method but some courses may be limited by their resources and backlapping may be the cost effective option . Also grinding is time consuming to do especially if your the only mechanic . I'm lucky to have grinders to use if needed but have to plan my time wisely to do it . But I will still backlap on occasion to touch edges up . In the past years courses have been more aggressive on applying top dress to greens/tees/fairways causing rapid wear on reels and bedknives . I know for us techs it can get to be labour intensive at times but our job is to maintain the cutting equipment to the best of our time and resources . A lot of the time I can get away with facing the bedknife and backlapping the reel to bedknife surfaces.
I'm using the Neary backlap machine here . If you don't have a backlapper I have done it with a large gear driven drill . Just make sure you don't go to fast . Most machines have an area to attach a socket on the reel . On this machine I slid the drive cog off to lessen some drag . Triplexes /fairway mowers have on board back lap systems and you should be able to find instructions on them in the operators manual . Most run at idle while back lapping.
I'm applying backlap compound while the reel is spinning up and away from me . I use a paint brush but you should be using a long handle brush . I only backlap for 30 seconds to a couple of minutes . If you can't get the cut back try front facing the bedknife . If you backlap for more than five minutes it's time to grind .
Afer a rinse and slight adjustment to light contact ( my preference )It should easily cut news print . A sharp front faced bedknife really makes a difference . You almost have to think of the reel as a paddle picking up the grass and passing across the bedknife were all the cutting is being done .
This is what it cut like before I backlapped . Notice the ragged edges and tears . It does the same to the grass .
This kind of cut leads to healthier grass with less chance for disease.
A little video of the sites and sounds . The water is to rinse / spread the backlap compoud and you should clean or wipe of the reel lands the best you can before checking the cut . I had a comment on you tube stating the reel is going the wrong way but if you watch the coupler which is directly attached to the reel is going in reverse . I think we are seeing an optical illusion .
Before back lapping ,the cut strip ( newsprint ) should just pinch in between the reel and bedknife . You don't want to be to tight . After your done lapping you may have to readjust cut .