Saw tooth rake


Sand and Gravel Garden Rake

"Saw-tooth rake"

  Before you begin this project, please read through the instructions carefully including the additional notes and suggestions (see link at the bottom of this page). There are many ways in which this design can be modified to meet your particular needs or tastes.
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  • 30" (76 cm) length of 2x8 (5 x 20cm) lumber (Note: this is the nominal size of the board, the actual dimensions are 1 ½" x 7 ½" (38mm x 19cm) )
  • 5 foot (152cm) length of 2x2 (5x5cm) stock (again, nominal: actual dimensions 1 ½" x 1 ½" (38x38 mm) )
  • two strips of  ¾" (19mm) thick board 1 ¼" (32mm) wide by about 24" (61cm) long for the braces.
  • six #8 x 2 ½" (5x60mm) wood screws
  • two #8 x 1 ½" (5x40mm) wood screws


  • cross cut hand saw
  • angle measuring device (protractor, drafting triangle, roofer's quick square, etc.)
  • wood chisel ½" to 1" (12 to 25mm) wide
  • wood rasp and/or sandpaper
  • electric drill

Start the layout by making a mark 1 ½ inches (38mm) from one end of the 2x8 board. Continue by making additional marks every 3 (76mm) inches. The last mark should fall 1 ½ inches (38mm) from the other end of the board.


To layout the teeth, it's easiest to use a 30-60-90 drafting triangle, but a roofer's square, protractor or other device for measuring angles will also work. Make two lines from each of the marks on the bottom edge of the 2x8 (5 x 20cm) - one at a 60 degree angle to the left and one at a 60 degree angle to the right (angle is measured from the bottom edge of the board). When this is done, all of the teeth will be outlined.


When you cut the teeth, try to keep both the cutting edge of the saw blade and the sides of the blade perpendicular to the board surface. This will give you the best results at the angle where two adjacent teeth meet as well as insuring that the teeth are of uniform dimension on both the marked and unmarked sides of the board. There are several types of saws that would work for making these cuts. If you happen to have a jigsaw, use it, otherwise any hand saw should work. Japanese saws also work extremely well for this type of controlled cut since they cut on the pull stroke. Unfortunately, I left mine in Japan when I moved back here!.


To complete the rake head, cut a small notch in the top of the head to fit it to the handle. The handle is made from a 2x2 (5x5cm) (actual dimensions 1 ½" by 1 ½" (38x38 mm) ) so the notch should be 1 ½ inches wide and ¾ inch deep. You want it to fit pretty snugly to form a tight joint, so cut it a hair smaller at first, then use a rasp or coarse (#60) sandpaper to enlarge it for the final fit. Finally, attach the handle with two #8 (5 mm) wood screws 2 ½ to 3 inches (63 to 76mm) long. Drill a pilot hole for each screw slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw to prevent the handle from splitting.
(Note: Coating the screw threads with a bit of bar soap makes them much easier to drive!)


All that remains now is to attach the braces to make the connection between the handle and head more stable. Cut off one end of each of the brace pieces at a 45 degree angle. With the brace held in place on the side of the handle - approximately 19 inches (48 cm) up from the head end of the rake, carefully drill a pilot hole through the brace and into the handle. After drilling the initial pilot hole in both pieces, change to a larger bit and drill the hole in the brace again. This diameter of this hole needs to be close to the diameter of the screw to prevent it from splitting the brace. Attach the brace to the handle with a #8 x 1 ½" (5x40mm) wood screw. Be careful not to tighten it too much to avoid splitting the brace. If the screws are any longer than 1 ½" (38mm), you may have a problem with the two screws running into each other in the middle of the handle.


Double check to make sure the handle is square to the rake head using your triangle or carpenter's square. Drill the pilot holes for the screws that will hold the head end of the brace. I would recommend attaching both braces before cutting off the excess that projects beyond the rake head. Once this is done, your rake is essentially finished. To make the rake more comfortable to hold, you might round the corners off of the handle with a coarse rasp followed by a good sanding with progressively finer grits of sand paper - we don't want any splinters!


Your rake is now finished!


See the final notes.

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