Summer is surely now just around the corner so it was the perfect time to be teaching a group how to make wooden hay rakes as part of the Rusland Horizons project in Cumbria.
Our venue for the weekend was the fabulous Stott Park Bobbin Mill near Windermere which has a long connection with coppicing which continues today.
A wooden hay rake is a relatively simple item but with lots of details in getting it right. First we made the teeth, or tines, by splitting a short ash log into squares and knocking them through my tine cutter. We made tines collectively, rapidly filling my Devon stave basket; there’s some exciting news about those to come, keep following the blog.
At the same time, part of the group were busy shaving the rake head on the shavehorse. I love that the quiet of using hand tools allows people space to chat as they work.
A big part of getting the rake right is drilling all the holes for the tines. It’s a great exercise in teamwork, sighting for each other and working together to get them straight
We made split stail rakes, sawing down the handle to open it out in a V to attach it to the heads. It was all very busy and exciting at this stage so I missed taking photos of the process but we finished with a set of fine new rakes, ready for the fields.
I make wooden hay rakes each year which I sell at my Learn to Scythe courses around the UK. They’re too large to post but if you’re interested in buying one, get in touch and we can try and arrange to meet or you can come and collect one if you’re near Manchester.
A comprehensive and practical guide to working with an Austrian scythe. Perfect if you cannot attend a course or as a reference guide following tuition.