New hay rake tine cutter

I’ve been making wooden hay rakes for several years now. To make the rake teeth, called ‘tines’, a cleft ash billet is knocked through a sharpened steel tube called a tine cutter. As the wood is split from a larger log, the fibres run along the tine intact making each one very strong.
Hay rake tine cutter
Recently I’ve been thinking about my rakes and that I would like to have a tine cutter to make slightly smaller  tines. While I was at Beamish Museum the other day, I mentioned this to Bill who was helping on another stall. The very next day he turned up and gave me a perfect new tine cutter which he’d made the evening before. The generosity of makers never fails to amaze me.

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10 Responses to New hay rake tine cutter

  1. René says:

    So amazes your generosity to all of us by sharing your way, your words and your wisdom.

  2. I love how things work. I’m going to make one of these as well as a couple rakes this winter!

  3. Matt says:

    Do you leave the raking end of the tines square cut, or round them off?

  4. Will Poyntz says:

    We have found that tine tend to split as they are hit through the tine cutter. How close to finished diameter should they be? We have used one inch square(ish) dry ash, at 5 1/2 inches long, thinking we are leaving a lot of margin for error. Is closer to finished diameter (1/2 inch) better?
    Thanks, Will

    • Steve Tomlin says:

      hi Will
      I split my blanks 5/8″ square so I’m just shaving the corners as they go through the tine cutter. I use green wood and the best quality ash that I have. I also make the blanks a bit longer than I need so that, if they do run off a bit, I can often still use them. Finally, there is a knack to hitting them through straight but try it with really straight, green blanks and see if that fixes it for you.
      Cheers, Steve

  5. Jero (woodculture_handcarved) says:

    Hello Steve, thank you a lot for this interesting post and blog in general. I need to make a tine cutter myself because they’re impossible to get here in Germany, so I’m looking for detailed information about this, especially how the taper of diameter and a hardened edge are achieved. Are two pipes joined (the upper one with smaller diameter and made of tool steel)? Or is it just one piece that is tapered by forging (or some other process?) and all hardenable material (or is it carburised/case-hardened)?

    • stevetomlin says:

      Hello
      I didnt make mine so I can only describe what I’ve seen and hope that helps.
      Some are made in one piece, boring the two diameters on a milling machine.
      Easier, in my mind, is the option you described of making a short section which is sharpened and heat-treated then fitting that onto a longer pipe with wider internal diameter. Make this only 1mm or so greater so the tines are guided straight through the cutter.
      All the best, Steve

      • Jero (woodculture_handcarved) says:

        Thanks for your advice and fast answer! I will try it, maybe myself, or i’ll ask a blacksmith to make me one. I think I’ll post the result on my instagram channel then, but it will need some time.
        Kind regards from Germany, Jero

  6. Jero (woodculture_handcarved) says:

    Hello Steve,
    thank you a lot for this interesting post and blog in general. I need to make a tine cutter myself because they’re impossible to get here in Germany, so I’m looking for detailed information about this, especially about how the taper of diameter and a hardened edge are achieved. Are these two joined pipes (the upper one with smaller diameter and made of tool steel)? Or is it just one pipe which is tapered by forging – and all hardenable material (or is it carburised/case-hardened)?
    Thanks, Jero

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