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HOC Bar on a Budget!

If you are purchasing or planning to purchase a Reel mower, you'll want some kind of HOC Bar for your new purchase. This tool allows you to check your mowers HOC. This is very important, as you want to ensure both sides of your Reel/bed knife are at the same level before cutting any turf.

There are some very nice professional bars available for purchase, but most start around $100.00+ if you can find one... Most new Greens mowers come with a basic HOC Bar like the one pictured below.


The HOC bar above inspired me to make one myself. I went to my local hardware store and purchased a Mending plate, a couple nuts and a large flat headed bolt all costing less than $5 USD.


Using the holes already in the mending plate I attached one of the nuts using some epoxy. The bolt was threaded on to ensure the nut didn't move while the epoxy was curing.


Now, to ensure the bolt can be "jammed" in place for accurate measurements I used the second nut against the first to create a tight fit.


Choose your desired HOC and measure from the Plate to the bottom of the bolt head.



You'll lay the mower back, and place the HOC bar flat against the front roller (or wheel) and the rear Drum (or wheels). Adjust the Mowers HOC as needed to achieve your goals! :green:


A few extra tips:
Be sure to buy a mending plate or other material that's the correct length for your mower. Buying a mending plate too short will result in inaccurate HOC measurements.
There are many material options out the for the Bar, be sure to choose one that is firm, and has little to no flex.
 

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I'd like to add, using a die set to thread your own hole into the bar is a more secure and reliable way to set the HOC bolt in place. J_Nick has done this for his HOC Bar. I'll definitely be following his lead, and using a die to cut out some threads in my HOC bar sometime in the future.
 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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For those with a groomer attachment, I ran across a variation of this style HOC bar here. It's the same concept, but adds an additional bolt head spaced appropriately to engage the bottom edge of the groomer blades. The groomer depth (relative to HOC) would be the distance from the HOC bar to the bottom of the bedknife bolt minus the distance from the HOC bar to the top of the groomer bolt.

 

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I recently made the transition from a cal trimmer to a Jacobson greens mower w/groomer. I have my HOC set at .400 and groomer set at .100, using groomer every mow. What is everyone using as their groomer height? Every time I mow I get alot of un-cut runners lifted on top of my Bermuda. Maybe I need to adjust to only 50% HOC? Thoughts? I can post pics tonight.

Thanks.
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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I have mine set at .125"(50% HOC) but I'm still waiting for my lawn to completely fill in all the way. If you are lifting stolons, you may be too low.
 

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OState_Patriot said:
I recently made the transition from a cal trimmer to a Jacobson greens mower w/groomer. I have my HOC set at .400 and groomer set at .100, using groomer every mow. What is everyone using as their groomer height? Every time I mow I get alot of un-cut runners lifted on top of my Bermuda. Maybe I need to adjust to only 50% HOC? Thoughts? I can post pics tonight.

Thanks.
I have it set at .15" and my HOC is at .3". Like mighty said, yours might be too low. I tried lowering it but like you, I started pulling too many runners. I think 50% below HOC is great. I'm sure you can push it lower but I think it also depends on if you verticutted and thinned out the canopy to begin with. Have In mind that I have celebration Bermuda and it is a courser grass than tifway.
 

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I'm going to have to build one of these quickly. This was me today struggling using a level and some calipers to verify bench HOC.
For some reason no matter how I rotate it, it won't save. Sorry for the head tilt :wacko:
 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Yes - for mowers like the JD 220E and Toro Flex 21. A standard mower like a Greensmaster 1000 doesn't have the rear roller on the cutting unit, so the HoC bar must span from the front roller to the rear drum drive.
 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Another cool thing about the JD 220E is once you know each side is set to the same HOC, that linkage takes care of raising/lowering the HOC of both sides at the same time. Each side of my Greensmaster has to be adjusted independently, every time.
 
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