Hand Tools – Part Two: Rakes

If you live in a region of the country where fall means a lawn covered with leaves, then you know what a rake is. Typically, lawn rakes have fanlike, flat, springy teeth that are constructed to glide over grass and gather clippings, leaves and other debris without damaging the sod.

It is recommended that you should use rakes similar to the way you use brooms. A sweeping motion is said to be more effective than a raking action.

There are four types of rakes –- steel-tine, polypropylene, bamboo, and garden. Although polypropylene and bamboo rakes are rust-free, they include wire that holds the tines together that can rust if the rake is not properly stored. Experts also suggest that they be coated with oil.

A steel tine rake has flat tines that are made of spring steel and snap back into position even if they are being severely bent during use. If the tines happen to remain bent, then you can use pliers to straighten them. However, as the rake ages and experiences a lot of wear, overtime the tines will weaken to a point where they will bend and it may not be possible to straighten them out. Since these rakes are made of steel, they are susceptible to rust. It is suggested that you coat the tines with oil before storing for a long period of time.

Steel-tines rake.
(Courtesy: Dean Hochman at flickr.com)

A polypropylene rake does not rust and it doesn’t become brittle and break like bamboo rakes can. The rake must have a strong steel wire enforcement across the tines and around the area where the head attaches to the handle to ensure long life. It is suggested that you store this type of rake indoors to avoid photodecomposition.

A bamboo rake is probably the lightest weight rake available and it does not rust. Weathering can weaken the bamboo tines, so it is suggested that it be kept out of the sun and rain when not in use.

Bamboo rakes.
(Courtesy: Eric Flexyourhead at flickr.com)

A garden rake is very different than lawn rakes. For example, it features a long handle and a head with 3-inch long steel tines that are equally spaced. Garden rakes also have fewer tines than lawn rakes. The tines are durable, will not spring back as lawn rake tines do and the spacing between tines is longer. A garden rake is generally used to loosen soil, so it is primarily made of steel. When not in use it should be treated with oil and stored indoors to avoid rust.

Garden rake.
(Courtesy: Mark Bult at flickr.com)

It is recommended that you buy the right size rake for the job. It should be light and easy to use and match the size with the strength of the user. When raking, it is suggested that you don’t reach too far out and extend your back. Instead, use a shorter raking motion and stand in an upright position. Keep in mind that the raking motion can cause stress to muscles. So it is suggested that you take a break periodically or shift hand positions to minimize overstressing. Make certain that the tines of the rake are facing down and are on the ground during your motion.

About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.