Rake Making

A wooden rake is not too difficult to make, provided you have the right tools and a little knowledge. The woods to use are ash, willow, elm and sycamore.

Think of the rake as having three parts the tines, head (the block that holds all the tines) and the stail (handle).

Making the tines

Saw a six inch diameter log of ash or willow to the length of the tines required. Tie a piece of twine tightly around the log. Then rive the log in equal parallel cuts with a froe and mallet. Cut one way and then at 90 degrees to that. You will end up with lots of square cut potential tines.

modern froe

A heavier piece may require the use of a bittle and a steel wedge, rather than a froe and mallet.

Then use a tine former to shape the tines. The tine former should be attached to a driving stool with a bucket under it to catch the falling tines. Simply place the square tine over the tine former and hit it with the mallet.

stail engine
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The second tine pushes the first into the waiting bucket.

The head can have as many as 30 tines in it and it is best to make this using sycamore or elm. A upright brake or clamp is used to hold the head while it is shaped and the holes for the tines are drilled. Wet the tines then hammer them into the head.

Use ash for the stail. A straight pole is needed. Use a stail engine, twisting down the pole to finish it off.