LumberJocks Which Tim Makes a Rake

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Blog entry by Tim Anderson posted 08-09-2014 03:07 AM 1458 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ever since I bought a house, I’ve found myself doing too much yardwork, and not enough woodworking. I decided I could use yardwork as an excuse to woodwork. Rather than buy a $45 aluminum landscaping rake that I would probably only use 4 times in my life, I decided to use the old rake handle I found in the yard when the snow melted and a 2×4 to make my own.

The first step was to remove the broken end of the existing handle:

With this done, I started shaving off the end with my trusty Stanley 51 Spokeshave to get it down to 3/4” or so. This being my only large-sized bit, I basically had to make the handle be the size I had. The shaving to get the handle down to the right size is actually what took the most time on the whole project.

Then it was onto the boring bit (hah! nobody’s ever made that joke before):

Here’s the mostly finished shaved end of the rake handle. Funny how the wood doesn’t look like it was abandoned in the winter when you take off the outside edges:

I then cut a thin wedge into the end across the grain using my dovetail saw:

With that ready, I cut out the rake side, though I plan to use the flat side for grading work as well. Just crosscut down to a line at roughly 2” intervals and used a coping saw to pop out the waste:

The last step was to hammer the rake head onto the handle, and then drive a maple wedge into the gap to get it stuck on there good. In testing, I stood on the head, and pulled, but it didin’t come out. Should be fine for moving a bit of freshly tilled dirt about tomorrow:

And just to be safe, I cut the wedge off so it couldn’t be bludgeoned from the side and come loose. Thus ends the tale of how I made a crappy rake in 2 hours with hand tools. Hopefully my Rake entertained you all a bit.

Now hopefully I can stay out of the yard soon, as I just bought a bandsaw and I really would rather use it to clean up all the old maple flooring I’ve got so I can laminate a new benchtop. We’ll see if the gods of entropy are forgiving this month.

-- -Tim, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

4 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3356 days

#1 posted 08-09-2014 09:57 AM

A fun project. In the old days farmers usually made their own rakes with wooden pegs so they could take advantage of using whittled long grain dowels for the forks.these were tapered at the business end to make it more effective. Their method was pretty similar to the techniques used to make Windsor style chairs.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Tim Anderson's profile

Tim Anderson

152 posts in 1752 days

#2 posted 08-09-2014 01:33 PM

Haha, yeah. This was mostly intended to be used for the long flat side, and the teeth were a half-joke afterthought. We’ll see how well they work in a bit. I’m off to the yard!

-- -Tim, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

View NormG's profile


6134 posts in 3026 days

#3 posted 08-09-2014 05:57 PM

It provided a great opportunity to meet both needs

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Tim Anderson's profile

Tim Anderson

152 posts in 1752 days

#4 posted 08-11-2014 02:39 PM

Welp, I managed to get the yard mostly flat using the rake. I ended up breaking one tooth off, but that was because I got it stuck between the sidewalk and the dirt and levered on it. For moving the dirt and sod clumps around and leveling it worked just fine.

Just in case anyone else wants to make a rake in an hour or two and sees this later, it’s definitely functional, but probably not an heirloom quality tool build.

-- -Tim, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

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