Rake Maker

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Re: Rake Maker

Postby 81stBRAT » Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:08 pm

Getting there, Picture does not appear until sumited?
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby jrccaim » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:56 am

Fascinating discussion. The only thing missing is "what is this rake going to be used for?" Rakes are used for many purposes. For instance, hay making, raking up straw in the barnyard, raking leaves in the fall, smoothing out a seedbed... and each of these has a different purpose, and therefore a different shape. Now I myself do not make hay per se. I have no animals to feed. But I have a -- let's call it a hayfield -- mostly clover, which I keep mowed with a scythe. The stuff I cut I rake up and put on the compost heap. For this I want the biggest rake I can possibly handle. I do not have a bevy of charming Romanian ladies to help :) So I made a bull rake inspired by Eric Sloane's A Museum of American Tools.
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Crude, definitely. But it didn't take long to make -- half an hour perhaps. And it works like the proverbial charm. The double handles make it easy to pull. It's about a meter wide. I have left a lot of tooth on top because I expect shrinkage and wear. Pound it down. Eventually I will cut the teeth off at the top. I would hate to rake up my "hayfield" with a teensy garden rake.

The point I want to make is that there are as many rakes as there are cultures, or perhaps farmers! When I see people copying museum pieces, I worry a bit. But It is none of my business if you want to make a copy, after all! Far less do I want to denigrate any rake makers. But do remember that rakes are used for something, just like chisels, and you should keep that purpose in mind. This is a hay rake, this is a Moldaravian garden rake...
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby steve tomlin » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:43 pm

remember that rakes are used for something, just like chisels, and you should keep that purpose in mind.

i couldn't agree more and i'm a bit embarrassed that i haven't put that over in this discussion. i'm looking at museum pieces as examples of rakes from a time when they were seriously used and making an assumption that the ones that survived were either prized and looked after because they were good or existed in large quantities for the same reason. i'm not intending to copy blindly though; my interest in rake-making comes directly from my involvement in the scythe community and their need for good quality rakes so whatever i make will be well tested.
i'm also hoping this summer to go and work on haymaking projects in europe to use rakes 'in the field' and also meet rake makers over there.
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby 81stBRAT » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:37 pm

One old rake found on Brothers Farm, must be 1950 or before. Long handle (ash) and willow head, tenons only 3/8" (10mm) on the pegs. Conclusion made to be light weight, for the job of cavings raking, both of us have had that job, luckily only once for me.
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby steve tomlin » Tue May 10, 2011 10:40 pm

The weekend before the BB i ran a rakemaking workshop as private tuition for Mike Carswell, a recent graduate of the BHMAT apprenticeship scheme. Hard work at times dealing with the very green ash Mike had brought up from Manchester, to make tines and get everything fit together in one day without splitting the head. More photos here
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby 81stBRAT » Tue May 24, 2011 7:12 pm

Anybody have any idea what this rake was made for 20inchs long 3 " triangular metal tines curved at tip. Brother tried to use it as a garden rake having mislade his, handle not up to it, new handle required please.
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby jrccaim » Thu May 26, 2011 4:57 am

81stBRAT wrote:Anybody have any idea what this rake was made for 20inchs long 3 " triangular metal tines curved at tip. Brother tried to use it as a garden rake having mislade his, handle not up to it, new handle required please.
Richard


I think that rakes fall into a few categories. My rake taxonomy may be very incomplete, but it's a start. Leaf rakes are used to sweep up the leaves of fall. Characteristics: at least 30cm wide, very narrow closely spaced thin tines.Nowadays, mostly plastic. Hay rakes are used to rake up cut grass -- part of the process of hay-making. Typically you would cut the grass with a scythe and then rake it up into windrows with a hay rake. There are many types of hay rakes. But they are all very wide, half meter or more. Typical tines are say 15 cm apart and 15 cm long. Except for the bull rakes which are even wider with longer teeth. . I have seen pictures of 1930s bull rakes pushed by tractors. Two meter across, tines over a meter long. Try googling on "bull rake". Then we have garden rakes. A garden rake is used to dress up the soil in a garden. You have broken up the soil somehow, applied manure, lime, whatever. Then you mix the stuff in with a garden rake before you plant. These have short (say 5cm) tines spaced say 3cm apart. Tines typically curved. I think that what you have here is a garden rake. I use one every year on my own garden. Dimensons close enough. You want just enough tine to mix up about 5cm of soil.
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby arth » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:14 pm

Any chance of making this thread permanent at the top like the shaving horses?
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby Robin Fawcett » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:03 pm

arth wrote:Any chance of making this thread permanent at the top like the shaving horses?


Done.
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby jrccaim » Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:53 am

A very interesting thread indeed. I think it's worth noticing that the process of hay making has changed radically since the industrial revolution. We have gone from cutting with a scythe and raking it up (with hay and/or bull rakes) and pitching the stuff into wagons with pitchforks (hence the name) and storing it loose, on to to horse-drawn cutters to square balers (pulled by tractors), up to today's monster balers that produce round bales that weigh a ton or so and cannot possibly be moved by muscle. I have read some stuff that suggests that this is not an improvement, but that is off-topic. An excellent book is Verlyn Klinkenborg's Making Hay ISBN 0-394-75599-5.

Point is, tools change. However, in Montana they still pile up hay in mounds the old-fashioned way. They use mechanized equipment to do so, but once our great-great-grandfathers had recovered from the shock of seeing motorized tools, they would have felt right at home in Montana.

Hay was one of humanity's greatest inventions. It allowed you to feed animals in the winter. See James Burke's celebrated Connections. The tools developed for haymaking kept our great-great-... grandfathers alive, and so here we are, making hayrakes once again.
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby Brian Williamson » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:18 pm

jrccaim wrote:Hay rakes are used to rake up cut grass -- part of the process of hay-making. Typically you would cut the grass with a scythe and then rake it up into windrows with a hay rake. There are many types of hay rakes. But they are all very wide, half meter or more. Typical tines are say 15 cm apart and 15 cm long.


Tines 15cm apart and 15cm long? Although you rarely see long tines in rakes over here, that's probably just down to natural wear. But I don't think that I've ever seen 15cm spacings on a hand rake. It seems quite reasonable though; hay is pretty long stuff and unlikely to slip easily through tines set to this spacing. And it would save a little weight and work.

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Re: Rake Maker

Postby steve tomlin » Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:54 pm

jrccaim wrote:
There are many types of hay rakes. But they are all very wide, half meter or more. Typical tines are say 15 cm apart and 15 cm long.


Earilier in the year I visited the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading and measured the rakes in their collection. The tines were all spaced at about 40-50mm as are all the others I've seen. Do you have pictures of these 'typical' rakes? A 50cm long head with tines 15cm apart would only have 3 tines.

Brian Williamson wrote:
you rarely see long tines in rakes over here, that's probably just down to natural wear.


The tines on rakes in the museum were 10cm long. You could still see where the end had had the corners bevelled indicating that was their original length. Or possibly the user had recarved this. But if the owner was working hard enough to wear away 5cm of ash tines then the corners would probably bevel themselves.
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby arth » Wed Jul 06, 2011 6:35 pm

Do the tines need to be dry before they go into the green head?
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Re: Rake Maker

Postby Brian Williamson » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:39 am

A vexed question, Arth.

Fixing the tines securely (and permanently) into the heads is a challenge. Personally I put the tine blanks through the (1/2") die green and let them season so that they are undersized and oval.I then drill a 7/16ths hole through the seasoned head and knock the tines in with their long axis orientated along the length of the head. This is pretty good, but I'm not sure that is as good as it can be. I have split the odd head doing this (which is infuriating) and I'm not sure that there aren't other methods of getting the tines tighter (without glue).

I've met people who put tines in aligned any which way and people who put them in green. I can't believe that either of these are good practice. I've seen people who only drill three quarters of the way through the head. It will certainly stop the tines pushing right through, but makes for a heavier head. You could try adapting Sean hellmans arrow through a hole trick. It should work but would be very slow.

There is a method out there which I haven't understood which involves banging the end of the tine with a hammer. I guess that the bruising of the fibres makes them swell and helps them lock in the hole, but I don't really know.

Let us know how you get on with whichever method you pursue.

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Re: Rake Maker

Postby arth » Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:00 pm

Will do, Brian. Thanks. I have made them with seasoned tines which works by dipping the tines in water and letting them swell in the holes. I'll experiment with green tines and see how it goes.
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