But I do sometimes make the rake with the bow support which I call the ‘Dorset Style’.I was taught to nail the bow onto the handle, but I know that some people pass the bow through a hole drilled in the handle. I suspect that there are as many variations in style as there are rake makers!
Even though its very fresh cut the hazel hoop will rarely adopt the sharp radius needed for the hoop without breaking so some gentle persuasion is necessary, gradually working the bend into the wood bit by bit until after a few minutes it will take the curve without breaking. Of course you could steam it to achieve the same result as I do over my knee.
I enjoy making and using rakes. Over the coming year I’ll be experimenting with some adjusted designs more appropriate for garden use and also for bracken raking. There are few rake making workshops left in the country which might give the impression that wooden rake making is a dying craft. But I don’t believe so, around Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset there are plenty of rakes being made in a wide range of styles by woodsmen, coppice workers, greenwood workers and estate workers who hand make their rakes alongside other products and supply locally as they always have done. In my view the future of wooden rakes lies more with these woodland workers than in workshops. But then as a woodsman and a self confessed jack-of-all-trades I am biased and banging my own drum here!