Rake: what are there, what are they made of, and how to choose?

How to

Rake – a tool for agricultural and other types of work: collecting berries and grass, cleaning ponds and reservoirs, laying asphalt, searching for missing small things, tractor rake and much more.

Regular rakes

A classic rake consists of parts such as:

The spine – the base of the rake, which is a wooden bar or metal bar, ranging in length from 20-30 to 60-80 cm.

Tines – cone-shaped with pointed ends or twisted working tools, placed at right angles to the ridge. Depending on the base metal, the tines may be inserted and wedged into holes in a wooden bar or be one piece with a metal bar.

Handle – is connected to the ridge with a special attachment on it. For example, the familiar rake has a metal tube welded to the base of the rake as such an attachment.

In the American version, such a tube for the stem is not welded directly to the “backbone”, but is attached to it by means of a fork-shaped branch, the ends of which are welded to the ends of the base.

The main functions that the rake, a common and popular tool among gardeners and gardeners, does are:

  • Breaking up large clods of soil after the plot has been re-cultivated or re-tilled;
  • Leveling the soil;
  • Loosening the soil;
  • Removing roots and weed sprouts from the soil surface;
  • Raking up leaves and plant debris;
  • Tedding and raking hay, rotten residues.

Depending on the traction used when working with this tool, rakes can be:

Manual (garden) – the classic light agricultural tool used for various manual work in the garden and vegetable garden.

Equestrian – trailed agricultural units for raking crop residues, tedding hay with the use of horses as draft power. These machines consist of a frame with shafts, two big running wheels without chambers, 26-42 sprung semicircular shaped working tools. For management, the frame is equipped with a seat and a pedal to raise the tine. Due to a decrease in the number of horses in rural areas, horse-drawn rakes are used very rarely in recent years, giving way to more productive and reliable trailed and mounted units for minitractors and power tillers.

Tractor rakes are tractor-mounted and trailed agricultural units with a grip of up to 6 meters, driven by tractors. Like horse rakes, they are used for tedding, raking, and windrowing hay and straw. At high volume of works in large agricultural organizations, such rakes are part of the hay-harvesting complex of machines, which includes, in addition to them, various mowers and balers.

Types of garden rakes, purpose

Traditional (straight) rake

The traditional model. Straight rakes work the soil and remove unwanted debris from the area. This versatile tool has a crossbar with perpendicularly set straight or slightly curved tines.

Classic rake

A type of straight rake includes models with twisted tines turned at the base at an angle of 180°. Such tools will be more effective at loosening and flattening of overkilled soil, because it quickly breaks lumps of heavy soil and prepares the bed for planting.

On sale you can find a straight wooden rake. This variety is not suitable for tillage, and is designed exclusively to work with dry grass: the hay will not be strung on the slippery wooden tines, which will accelerate the clearing of the territory.

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Fan rake

The big difference of fan rakes is their V-shaped working part, which consists of many curved wire or plate tines. Such a tool is ideal for cleaning up crop residue and small debris.

Wire fan rakes made from sturdy wire with a diameter of at least 3mm have better stiffness than a leaf-type tool, where the working part consists of thin elastic plates (metal or plastic) that spring when small obstacles are encountered. Therefore, the wiring device is better suited for clearing a flat area with a thin and low vegetation cover, and the plate type will be useful for combing out small light debris on the relief terrain. A wire fan rake can be used for thinning and shallow aeration of the lawn; a lamella type, on the other hand, will keep young shoots of grass from being damaged.

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Interesting. In addition to models with adjustable working widths, there are many plastic fan rakes and wire rakes on sale without such a mechanism.

Rake transformers

This is a universal tool that consists of a lightweight aluminum shaft (handle), to which by means of a special fixing mechanism are attached various, included in a set of nozzles. These are the universal rake, the leaf rake, and the rose rake. Thanks to the diversity of the latter, these rakes are used for various jobs: from loosening and levelling freshly dug soil to picking up leaves, grass or debris.

Aerator rake

When caring for the lawn will be more useful will bring a rake-aerator, resembling the traditional straight rake, but different from them the structure of the teeth – they have a sickle-shaped, pointed downward shape. Such a useful device not only removes garbage and moss from under the layer of lawn grass, but also makes cuts on the surface to a depth of 1-3 cm, which will contribute to the aeration of the fund and increase the efficiency of carried out fertilization.

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Milling rakes

You can also find unusual milling rakes with a double-sided working surface in the store. They work like a windrower, but are even more functional.

The crossbar of their working part is equipped on one side with sharp sickle-shaped tines, which effectively remove moss and dead plant layer from the ground surface, and the more frequent tines, located on the opposite side, allow you to get rid of the site of pebbles, piles of earth and other small debris.

Lawn Rake

When cleaning the lawn from grass clippings, a special lawn rake will be more productive and ergonomic than a fan tool. They have a wide working part (its width is more than 0.6 m) and closely spaced tines, which tightly adhere to the grass and qualitatively comb debris out of it.

Lawn rake

The working part of such interesting equipment is supplemented with bars-bridges, allowing to grab a very large portion of the mowed grass and move it without losses to the right place.

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As you can see, such a familiar to us gardening tool as a rake is not as simple as it seems at first glance. Therefore, pedantry when choosing such toothy helpers is justified – correctly selected and high-quality tools will save you from disappointment and turn the dacha activities from a tedious duty into a pleasant pastime in the fresh air.

When choosing a rake for your farm, you should avoid unnamed models: if the manufacturer wished to remain unnoticed, the quality of his products is unlikely to be on top. A better solution is to buy tools from reputable companies that have earned a good reputation.

The higher price of a brand-name rake compared to the ones bought on the neighboring market will be repaid by the long service life of the first ones – and the pleasure of working, which you will certainly experience while holding a handy, light, and efficient tool in your hands.

A side note. Among gardeners on small plots, simple manual garden rakes are the most common.

Berry picking rake

Used for picking forest berries such as lingonberries, blueberries, blueberries, cranberries. It consists of a metal bucket with tines and a wooden handle. To gather berries they are gently “brushed” by the teeth of the device and then rolled inside the bucket. Round cross-section and smooth-surface wire tines of such a device minimize berry bush injuries, making berry gathering more productive and faster.

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Searching rake

Such a rake is needed to find lost chains and other precious metal jewelry by bathers at the bottom of the beach or bathing area. Are made such a rake for self- beach search of the two sections of heavy angle 60-60 cm long, enclosed one into another and fixed by welding, with teeth welded on both sides.

To catch small objects on the bottom and in the sand, each tooth of such a rake has several cuts. For the convenience of throwing the device on long distances to the corners on the outside side is welded to a wire loop for rope. In addition to this design, used to search for gold items on the beach simple rake on a long handle (4-5 meters), with attached to each of their teeth fishing tees and extra, the first part of the device is a long self-tapping screw with a row of teeth at an angle of 30-45.

In addition to lawn care, berry picking, and searching for precious metal items lost on the beach, this tool is also used in road construction.

Asphalt rake

For example, aluminum or wooden asphalt rakes with triangular tines are used to evenly distribute and flatten hot road mix.

How to choose a rake

When choosing a rake, consider such factors as:

  1. Purpose – for works on leveling and loosening the soil use a strong and simple straight rake. The removal of leaves, garbage, and plant debris is a more convenient fan type of this tool. When tedding and raking dried grass into windrows, tractor tedders or windrow rakes are used.
  2. Length and material of the shaft – it is very important to pick the right shaft for your rake when working with this tool. Its length should not be greater than the height of the person who will regularly work with the rake. Among the most convenient and reliable materials for the shafts, you should give preference to aluminum or plastic. Handles made of them, unlike wooden ones, have less weight, greater durability, and are not subject to rotting.

Important: To work in hard-to-reach places, it is better to buy a tool with an extending handle (cutter).

You should pay attention when choosing a rake

  • Width of grip – in the garden and flower beds, rakes with a small grip (up to 40 cm) are used for cleaning fallen leaves and garbage. For loosening and levelling the soil, tedding and raking the hay, wide-cutting tools are used (up to 60-80 cm for a hand rake; up to 5-6 m for a tractor unit).
  • Tine spacing – for clearing leaves, garbage, small vegetation residues the tools having the distance between the tines not more than 3 cm are used. When working with soil, as well as for lawn care use a rake with a pitch between the teeth of 5-6 cm;
  • Material – for working with soil are more convenient and reliable iron rakes with strong tines. Tools made of plastic and springy wire are used for cleaning leaves, garbage. Wooden rakes are used very rarely recently, due to the short life of the material.

Thus, a rake, despite its apparent simplicity and unpretentiousness, is an unusual and versatile tool that allows you to perform many different operations, from loosening of freshly dug soil to tedding and raking of hay. It has many different designs and types. Another advantage of this tool is its simple self-made, allowing you to quickly and at low cost to make a rake for certain purposes, having non-standard characteristics.

David West
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Rakepick - All about the rake: how to choose, what to look for and where to buy