Clay, Application to refinement


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The alternative method of producing a rake when you have no brazing facility is to build it and bolt it together with machine screws. This method proves to be as strong as the silver soldered rake but may be slightly heavier due to the larger size leg assembly.


The materials for this project are easily purchased from Home Depot or a D.I.Y center. The steel and steel rod come in three or four foot lengths, making it ideal for 3-4 tools.


The photograph to the right shows the pre-cut material.



Steel flat stock        6"x 1"x 1/8"

Steel round stock  7"x 1/4" Dia. 2 off

Copper ferrule          1/2" Dia. x 5/8"

Machine screws    6-32 x3/8" 2 off

Wood for Handle   6"x 1 1/4"x 1 1/4"



To control the bending of the legs make a set-out board, this will enable you to fine tune the bends.


Scribe a centerline and mark 2 1/4" either side, this will represents the connect point to the blade. At 90 degrees to the centerline scribe two horizontal lines 3 1/2" apart, this represents the bend for connecting to the handle. An additional horizontal line can be scribed 1" from the top line if required, this would represent the first bend on the legs.


As you can see from the photograph on the left, the legs have been bent. The set-out board shows that the alignment is correct.


To complete the leg assembly, file a flat on each of the vertical legs where they connect together. This will help to stop the legs from twisting when gluing into the handle and give clearance inside the 1/2" Dia. copper ferrule.


With the leg assembly complete, we shall make a curved blade for this rake by pressing the shape into a set of press blocks. This can be made from 2"x 4" lumber or 3/4" plywood.



The photograph to the left shows the press blocks made from 3/4" plywood. The negative curve has two pieces of plywood screwed together to provide support for the blade.


The actual curve on the blocks is a 9" radius. This will give a curve of approximately 12" after pressing.

As you can see, the metal for the blade is positioned between the two press blocks in a vise.


The alternative to a vise is to use a pair of clamps to provide the pressure.



The vise has been tightened and the blade bent.


Once the pressure is released you will find that the blade will spring back.


If you want a more generous curve on your rake, make a tighter curve on your press blocks.

Now that the blade has been bent and the leg assembly is complete. The position of the blade to leg assembly has to be established.


This can be achieved by using the set-out board. 


Position the blade equally about the center line with the blade intersecting the leg positions. Tape the leg assembly together with masking tape and support with 3/8" plywood to bring the whole assembly up to the center position of the blade. 


Offer the leg assembly up to the blade and mark the center point of the steel rod onto the blade for both legs. Remove the leg assembly and scribe the center line of the blade to intersect the center point of each leg. This will give you both positions for drilling the blade for bolting the leg assembly together.





With the hole position marked, set-up the drill press with a 5/32" or 4.0mm drill. Clamp the blade into a drill press vise and drill the two holes. Reverse the blade in the drill press vise and countersink, using a 19/64" or 7.5mm drill bit. Check the depth of the countersink with the 6-32 x 3/8" machine screws. The head should be just below the surface to give a flush impression. (Photographs above)


Remove the masking tape from the leg assembly and clamp one half in a drill press vise. With the leg clamped in a vertical position center punch the mid-point of the steel rod. This will help to guide the drill. Set-up in the drill press with a 7/64", No.36 or 2.8mm drill bit. Drill the end of the steel rod to a depth of 1/2" to 5/8" and repeat for the second leg. With both of the legs drilled they can now be tapped with a 6-32 tap. Make sure to use plenty of tapping lubricant to prevent the tap from breaking.


With the blade drilled and the legs drilled and tapped, set-up the blade on the set-out board and support the leg assembly with the 3/8" plywood. Offer the leg assembly up to the blade once again and mark the curve of the blade onto the legs and file to suit. This should give you a flush fitting condition. Pre-assembly the legs and blade to check for fit, adjust to suit i.e. countersink depth, tapping depth. Once everything fits together tight, disassemble and apply Pro Lok? thread lock removable to the machine screws. This is a liquid that prevents the screws from loosening when the rake is in use but also allows you to remove the blade if you have to.


This completes the blade and leg assembly.


Set the particular wood that you are going to use for the handle in the lathe and turn to suit your desired shape. Turn to accept the 1/2" Dia. copper ferrule. (This is cut from 1/2" copper pipe)


With the turning complete, sand smooth and apply paste wax to seal the handle, buff to a silky finish.


To hold the handle vertical in the drill press vise, cut a set of "V" blocks on the bandsaw. Line the "V" blocks with cardboard or leather. This will stop marring of the wood when clamping.


Set-up the drill press with a 27/64" or 11.0mm drill bit and drill the handle to a depth that accepts the tang of the leg assembly. Check the depth by inserting the leg assembly.


After checking for fit, remove the leg assembly and rough-up the tang with a file. This will provide good grip for the Epoxy resin.


Mix equal parts of 5 minute Epoxy resin and apply to both the tang of the leg assembly and the hole of the handle. Insert into the handle with a twisting motion to expel the air from the hole. Wipe away any excess resin that flows onto the ferrule and allow to set.



As you can see from the photograph on the right I chose to grind the angle of the blade before gluing into the handle. This was a personal choice, the angle can always be ground on after gluing into the handle if desired.


The grinding of the angle was achieved on a bench grinder but it can also be filed. The angle is a third of the width of the blade. Scribe a line 1/3 of the width of the blade and grind or file from point "A" to point "B".


To finish the rake we can file teeth on one side or both sides of the blade. This is achieved by filing with a Swiss file every 3/16 of an inch or any spacing that you wish. This helps to reduce resistance and also gives an indication of where you have removed material.

As you can see from the photograph on the right, the rake is ready for action. The only difference from the silver soldered rake is the slightly heavier leg section. The performance is exactly the same.


Copyright © 2004 - 20 Steven Austin