King-O-Lawn Edger

fescuedreamJuly 26, 2008

Ain't she a beaut? :-)

This edger was built and sold sometime during the Nixon administration, before I was even a glint in my father's eye.

Some of my earliest memories as a toodler are of my dad using THIS VERY MACHINE outside our home in California, with the occasional sparks flying up (that makes an impression on young minds!)

After two years sitting idle in my garage, and having replaced the engine with an identical one from an old King-O-Lawn reel mower, I finally found the correct belt size yesterday and used it for the first time since 1985, when my father used it (I was just a boy then). The old engine is still there, and will be kept around for spare parts.

It runs well and produces a clean edge, though the blade will need replacing - it was due for replacement 20 years ago! Plenty of sparks did fly, however, as edges that had never been cut had a virgin groove cut into them. I removed 5" of turf in some spots over pavement.

There's something kind of special about using the very machine that provided some of the very earliest childhood impressions.

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itsjoeyboy

OMG !! I have the same edger, I think Mine's a little older .. and some of my earliest memories are of Dad using it on the front yard while I used the matching front throw king o lawn mower. He said that edger was a little too dangerous for me to use. Although he did finally let me use it when I was about 12 or so .. Mine is all red, and instead of a sticker on the handle bar plate, mine has the King O Lawn guy and name forged into the a die cast plate. I'll see if I can take a pic ..

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 9:13PM
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fescuedream

Please do! So you had the reel mower too - the same I type I took the engine from for the edger. Didn't keep that reel mower as I've already got a newer Tru-Cut, and the mower (which dad got for $10 from a garage sale, perhaps to show me up for paying $200 for the Tru-Cut) was pretty well used up. The edger has plenty of life, though.

Dad calls it a "California-style" edger. Not sure what he means by that, but even though I'm in rural Washington my property near the house has plenty of straight edges that meet either concrete or railroad tie borders.

The edger seems like it could be a pretty dangerous machine in young hands, and needs eye protection during use.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 8:11PM
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ggoyeneche

I think the edger is a little later than you think. You should be able to get the numbers off the flywheel shroud, the last set will indicate the year of manufacture.

The reason I believe it to be newer, is that the engine side cover was made for the extended camshaft, but had a plug in the side cover from the factory. This is the round feature at about 2:00 o'clock from the crankshaft. The plug would be removed, an oil seal installed, and then an extended camshaft with 1/2" output shaft would be replaced.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 10:08PM
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itsjoeyboy

Ok .. still working on the pix .. However .. the King o Lawn mower that we used was super old .. I think it dates back to the 30's or 40's if they go back that far .. it was soooooo old it didn't have a recoil starter .. it just had a reel where you wraped a rope around and pulled. If you watch the movie " The Great Gatsby " with Robert Redford they show one just like it toward the begining of the film ..

Joe

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 12:05AM
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fescuedream

ggoyeneche, the engine is not original.

It's from a King O Lawn reel mower.

The pulley was special ordered and attached last week.

The original is still around and has the shaft like you described.

joey, don't think I've ever seen a starter like that.

That must have been a really old mower!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 12:28AM
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mx_spaceace

I believe my edger is a bit newer than the one pictured above, mine has only one wheel in front. Used it just the other day and edged the sidewalk and curb for about a city block. I burned up a new blade in the process. Lowe's home improvement carries the blades for this edger (9x2) in stock for about $5/ea.

However, while trying to replace the blade this morning I stripped out the shaft. Does anyone have a parts diagram/owners manual or link to one?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 11:36AM
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ggoyeneche

Getting parts for King O'lawn is somewhat problematic. They went thru bankruptcy at least twice that I'm aware of, and the remaining assets were sold to a company called Ardisam who makes othe lawn equip, but doesn't say anything about the King O'Lawn product. They are located in Wisconsin.

There used to be a mower shop called Kim's in South Gate, CA who carried King O'Lawn parts, but I'm not sure he's still viable, and whether he has any KOL stuff. I moved out of Los Angeles in 2000 and my last contact was before that.

As for rope start, It used to be pretty common to hack off the recoil housing and put a rope pulley and nut on the flywheel in place of the starter clutch. Some commercial equipment such as Trimmer and Power Trim came with rope start, and many professional gardeners preferred rope because there was less to break and go wrong. Rope breaks; you tie a new knot and off you go.

If your engine has a left-hand fine thread on the end of the crank, it came with rope start. If it has a right-hand coarse thread it was originally made with recoil. Some folks left the stub shaft sticking out; I always cut the stub off flush with the threads because I thought it looked better.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 1:13PM
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mx_spaceace

I made contact!!! i was able to order some parts for my edger Model 216-4 that they still had wherehoused.
if you need parts they still have a few.. contact:

Ardisam
1690 Elm St
Cumberland, WI , 54829-9486
Phone: 715-822-2415
FAX: 715-822-4180
Email: info@ardisam.com
http://www.ardisam.com/contactus.asp

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 3:33PM
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flyswatt

I've got one like pictured (almost) mine has just oun wheel up front. The old thing does a pretty good job. I need a belt for it, if anyone knows the size I would appreciate a come back.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 7:56AM
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ggoyeneche

Belt should be 4L270

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 2:48PM
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cmscogins

my father recently passed and left me with one of these edgers. I have a few questions if someone could help. I am assuming this is a 2 stroke engine so I will have to premix the oil/gas, is this correct? Also it says to add oil to the crankcase, how do you do this?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 7:19PM
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ggoyeneche

Have no idea which engine you have. You need to post model and type numbers from blower shroud.

Original engines were Briggs and Stratton, although some had Tecumseh. All were 4 stroke using gasoline only as fuel, and oil in crankcase for lubrication. Oil level is checked by removing plastic plug at front or rear of crankcase cover. Engine must be in level condition (you may need to adjust front wheel temporarily to level machine). Correct amount of oil is to be full to almost over flowing. Oil should be SAE 30 signle weight.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 11:10AM
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cmscogins

that did the trick, thank you very much

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 7:38PM
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tstebbins4_hotmail_com

How much is the 'king o lawn edger worth?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 12:31PM
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ggoyeneche

Whatever the market will bear. Put it on Ebay, and see where the bidding stops.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 3:08PM
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earthworm(6 Pennsylvania)

Sadly, the King of Lawn edger goes the way of the Packard, but NOT the Chevy Vega path...which is good.
I need a decent edger, what is "out there" on the market that is as good, or at least works ?
No "Chevy Vega" for me...

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 10:45AM
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ggoyeneche

Not to differ with you, but I never considered King O'Lawn a "Packard" or even a "Chevy". "Vega" or "Pinto" does come to my mind.

I grew up in Los Angeles, and KOL was from South Gate, Tru-Cut (Starlite) was El Monte, Trimmer in Gardena, McLane in Paramount, and Power Trim in Compton. KOL was always the cheapest and frankly that showed in their construction. Weakest links were die cast aluminum in the cutter head and in the bracket which held the sliding arm. When either of these broke, you took the engine off and junked the rest. Everyone else used cast iron or steel construction. They also self threading fasteners were everyone else used nut & bolt construction. When a fastener stripped, you either tried to replace with nut and bolt, or tapped oversize if possible.

Generally I would consider KOL comparable to cheaper edgers like the Trim-Rite, MTD, and Sears offerings. It'll get the job done, but respect it's limitations.

For home use, McLane is usually the best value proposition. The 101 and 801 models are recommended. Snapper, Tru-Cut, Deere and others have made competent machines. McLane also private labelled for dozens of people over the years (Deere comes to mind). Prices should start in the low $300's and go up.

At the top of the market, Power Trim and Little Wonder stand out. However, you're now starting at $500 or so and can run up to $800 for one with a commercial GX Honda engine. Great machines, but overkill if you're a homeowner.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 11:09AM
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PatrickJIV

WOW! Sure got a kick reading about the experiences of this edger. Now, my history: 74 years old and when I was about 16 or so, Daddy had a friend lay 2 concrete strips in the drive, as we couldn't afford to lay solid concrete. First time came to trim the grass on either side, we started w/a hatchet. He would do about 3' and then I'd do 3' on the other side. Well, this didn't last long! Told me to take a break, he'd be back in a bit. When he returned there was a brand spanking new King O' Lawn edger! He stated, "This should do the job, it cost $35! Edged both strips, both sides in about a half hour! This was around 1954 or '55. Daddy died in '71 and I got the edger. Used it this morning on my 117' of curb and it still does the job, original B&S engine. Only thing I've done is replace the filter, blade, and change the oil. Has a plate on the handle, "King O'Lawn, South Gate, Calif. Any comments?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 1:24PM
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jsa1964(5)

I just purchased a King O Lawn gas edger, model 284, serial number 0517850. I paid $100 for her...perhaps a bit high, but well worth it to me. She is in good condition, as the accompanying picture indicates, and has a 109cc Briggs and Stratton engine that fires up on the second pull every time...so far.

I too am a native of Los Angeles, and when I saw this machine listed for sale among all of the big-box DIY offerings, I just had to have it! Boy does it ever leave a nice edge!

This machine really holds some nostalgia for me, as I recall seeing more than one or two of these during my childhood. I don't believe that we ever owned one though.

I am curious about a couple of things regarding this particular one. Perhaps somebody here may be able to assist me.

Is there any date of manufacture or any other information hidden within the serial number?

Given the location of the blade angle stop holes by the control handle, it is not possible for my machine's blade to be operated in a true vertical position. Rather, it must be tilted either left or right of vertical just a smidge. Is this simply an adjustment issue or is it this way by design?

Many thanks and kindest regards,

Jeff

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:39AM
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ggoyeneche

Your edger appears to be a later one, after Ardisam took over. Since the engine appears to be original (with KOL decals), you should be able to get DOM from the Briggs engine.

The part numbers and date code are on the blower shroud, next to the carburetor and air cleaner. Briggs numbers should look like this:

60102-1234-01 YYMMDDXX

60102 is the basic model, 6 CID, horiz shaft, recoil start

1234-01 indicates specific parts, paint color, OEM manufacturer, etc.

YYMMDDXX is the year, month, and day of manufacture. XX indicates which plant engine was made.

Chances are your edger was built plus/minus 6 months of the engine build date.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:18AM
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jsa1964(5)

The numbers on the shroud indicate that the engine was built 07/23/1984 (84072303). Thanks for your assistance.

Any thoughts on the angle issue?

Many thanks and kindest regards,

Jeff

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:34PM
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ggoyeneche

I'm not as familiar with the later, Ardisam machines. Original King'O'Lawn used a bracket with a large wingnut attached to the cylinder head. It was a friction arrangement, so you could adjust to precisely straight-up-and-down.

Perhaps with a picture of the left side of the edger I could offer some advice.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 6:43PM
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