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Old 06-26-2013, 10:20 AM   #1
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But, I'm sure it looks that way to anyone driving down the street.

I just can't mow in a straight line. Last week I mowed shorter than the neighbors, down our property line. It was wavey. A few days later the neighbors lawn service came and they mowed it perfectly straight.

Today I trimmed my long hedge and stood back to admire my work and thought, holy cow, is that ever crooked.

Is there a secret to working in a straight line or is it some internal thing that some ppl lack.


Last edited by Startingover; 06-26-2013 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:47 AM   #2
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Try this. Pick an object out in the distance like a tree or post that lines up in a straight line in the direction you want to mow. As you mow, walk towards that object and you'll get a straight line. On your return trip, follow the wheel marks from the prior trip.

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Old 06-26-2013, 10:56 AM   #3
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People have different natural abilities when it comes to orientation and direction.

My wife does nothing straight (very interesting), will not use a map and cannot follow the MapQuest she requests. She hates being given directions (N.S.E, W) even though she has a compass in her car. When I hold a finger in the air and ask her "What is this? -Says nothing and I tell her it is UP). She navigates strictly by landmarks and memory and if given direction like go on I35 to I94, she keeps calling me asking if she can turn off at different directions.

She refers to me as being half Norwegian and half homing pigeon, because I always get where I want to go. When traveling to different cities or countries, I immediately go to the telephone book and look at the local map and I feel comfortable.

There are a wide range of differences in ability to determine orientation between people. I have a harder time on a cloudy day because there is no references or shadows.

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Old 06-26-2013, 11:07 AM   #4
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Mount a compass to your mower. Pick a bearing and mow that course out keeping the north arrow "in the box". Once you have one straight row done the others should be easy to follow. Or use the compass and run a back azimuth which is an "about face".

If you cut your 1st course out at say 140 degrees, then when you cut back you should be on a heading of 320 degrees.

This is a little extreme. But I am just trying to sell my Cammenga Compass.

I have a :
1. Cammenga Tritium Lensatic Compass.
2. Lanyard
3. Carrying pouch w/ belt clip

This is not new but has a Tritium date code of Jan 07, 2008. If you've been researching this type of compass you know the tritium remains luminous for about 10-12 years. The body of the compass is in excellent condition.

Last edited by hammerlane; 12-05-2013 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:29 AM   #5
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all good advice.

I'll try focusing on the end of the section I'm mowing. And I'll stop daydreaming when I'm mowing.

As for direction, at least I have a good sense of direction.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Startingover View Post
I just can't mow in a straight line.
In motorcycling it's called target fixation:
look at the tree and you'll soon run into the tree.

Quote:
Is there a secret to working in a straight line or is it some internal thing that some ppl lack.
Look ahead of where you are and to where you want to go.
Slow down if needed.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:34 AM   #7
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I think I've always looked down at the ground when mowing so I don't run over anything, like a branch or once a wheel that came off my garden cart.

Once these thick short black pieces flew up in the air and I realized I'd run over a snake.

Last edited by Startingover; 06-26-2013 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:33 PM   #8
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Long hedges can be especially tricky since you are usually trimming them head on and not looking down their length.

A good old fashioned string line can come in handy to at least establish your line. You will need a couple of tree stakes on either end to string it high enough.

I don't think I have experienced problems with straight lines but know some visual perceptions really changed dramatically when I started wearing continuous lenses.

I appreciated the Norwegian comment as, although born of German American carnival workers, I was adopted and raised by Norwegian Americans. Humorless lot! Lousy cooks (Nobody says, "Let's order in Norwegian food tonight!) but great bakers. I have always been able to look at a map, memorize landmarks and get around easily. Even did it for our country as a cartographer advanced into countries we were never in, officially, for a time earlier in life.

I am not bad at straight lines but learned early on my perception is always rendered ridiculous if points of line are measured, or something like a square is taken to a right angle so never trust myself to cut anything without a straight edge. Never wacked mowing straight though so my heart goes out to you. I am sure the neighbors are truly disgusted by the way, and don't even notice those on your block that do not mow their lawns at all?

Seems to me, mowing a lawn is rather like a bad haircut. It will grow back and only show the mow lines for a day? One solution, mow it at angle? Or get a mowing robot that will just spend the day going over it in random directions until, hopefully, the electronic boundaries you set for it, keep it from mowing other lawns in the neighborhood. One did get loose in Champaign Urbana and I found it hilarious.

If you have a smartphone, you can get all sorts of compass and GPS apps. Most suggest GPS accuracy of one meter but I happen to know, they often render position much more accurately than that and closer to 10cm.

Last edited by user1007; 06-26-2013 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
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But,
I just can't mow in a straight line.
Do you mow with a walk behind or a riding mower.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:04 PM   #10
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self propelled, walk behind, and I walk really fast.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:31 PM   #11
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Don't feel bad... My uncle always mocks me when he's over about how bad I am at cutting grass... Perfect lawns are for old guys with no hobbies.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:19 PM   #12
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tatertot, that's so funny.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I think I've always looked down at the ground when mowing so I don't run over anything, like a branch or once a wheel that came off my garden cart.

Once these thick short black pieces flew up in the air and I realized I'd run over a snake.
Ew.

Worse than when I decapitated the vole.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:13 PM   #14
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don't look at the front of the mower and grass try looking up once and awhile to a straight fixed point tree,line in the sidewalk...slow down a bit
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:21 PM   #15
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Double cut diagonally and you will not see the wavering because it gets lost in the pattern. Especially good for long, thick or heavy lawns.

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