Brill manual reel mower, continued
I now have a second mow under my belt with the Brill manual reel mower. As expected, it was much easier than the first time around. With the grass starting shorter and following the terrain closely, the second cut had about half the binding problems. I expected almost no binding, but alas, such was not the case.
First, the grass grew quite a bit faster than usual. In previous weeks the grass would start at 2.5" after cutting, and hardly grow by the next week. This time it started at 1.8", and parts of it grew half an inch or more. We'll see how the grass adapts in coming weeks to its shorter cut. Second, the parts of the lawn which would only cut nicely in one direction (East to West) with the push mower continue this curious behavior.
One note on overlapping cuts: with a normal (gas, electric) mower you only need to overlap a couple inches of cut between rows. With a push mower, I read a recommendation to overlap your rows by half. So far this appears to be more of a requirement than a recommendation -- there are enough missed blades of grass on a single cut that you need to go over it twice. Since the Brill's total mowing width is only 15", at 50% overlap you're getting an effective cut width of 7.5".
At this point it might seem that cutting the lawn with scissors would be faster. In the end, however, I find that I can work with the push mower quickly. It certainly doesn't take longer than wrangling a corded electric mower. I'd guess that it takes 33% more time than a gas or cordless electric mower, given a medium-size lawn.
My conclusion from week one remains unchanged: I'm not as impressed as I hoped, but I'm willing to keep going and keep an open mind. Mowing with the Brill push mower is generally a pleasant experience despite its drawbacks. I'll keep posting updates here.
UPDATE: I have since switched to a Scott's Classic reel mower, which I'm a lot happier with.