Shut Up and Dig, Taking Your Gardening Dollar, Uncategorized

The Rubber Rake & The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name


Last year, we posted about this fancy rubber rake from Clarington Forge.  Those people make all kinds of amazing, once-in-a-lifetime garden tools, many of them hand-forged by actual British people.

But the rake in particular is really something amazing.  You see, it has rubber tines, which means that it’s a little extra grabby in the garden, but more importantly, it’s utterly silent when you rake it across pavement.

This is not a big issue for me, because I just don’t rake stuff off my pavement much, even when there’s something there that needs raking.  But it is a huge deal for Friend of Rant Genevieve Schmidt, who is a professional garden designer/installer.  Her crew shows up first thing in the morning and gets right to work, and the ability to work quietly in case the client is trying to sleep or work or whatever?  Really, really nice.

We love it.  We are painfully, dreadfully, shamefully in love with the rake.

So now we’ve had these rakes for a while and we’ve really put them to the test.  Gen has actually used hers so much that she’s worn the rubber right down and replaced the tines.  That’s the whole point, you understand–the rubber is supposed to wear and get replaced.

She reports that it’s very easy to unscrew the base of the rake and slip in the new tines, and she even provides this photo to show how much wear the rake got before its upgrade:



So!  Guess what?  The nice people at Clarington have come back to us and offered to give away yet another rake to some rakish GardenRant reader.  Just post a comment below and tell us why you absolutely must have a Wizard (that’s the larger one) or a Merlin (that’s the smaller one).

And if you’re feeling doubly enthusiastic about the whole thing, head over to Gen’s blog, where she’s also giving away a rake, and enter again.  Why not?

and if you’d to see the rake in action, here’s the video we made last year:

Posted by on October 17, 2012 at 4:25 am, in the category Shut Up and Dig, Taking Your Gardening Dollar, Uncategorized.
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78 responses to “The Rubber Rake & The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name”

  1. Gerry says:

    Would LOVE to win this rake !!!! We have 7 Sugar Maples in our front yard that were planted over 110 years ago. Needing to rake the leaves and put them on my garden is moving up my “to do ” list. Thank You for ALL the wonderful articles on your website !!!

  2. Julie says:

    I hate that rake/concrete sound! This rake is awesome!

    I live in a neighborhood where everyone is afraid of working outside (it would mess up the womens’ manicures, and the men are too busy watching football), so I am the only nut out there doing all the yard work myself. 🙂 Where I live, the leaf blowers and giant mowing machines are blasting all day. Nothing is more beautiful than those times when all the noisy machines have gone home, and I am hanging out with the birds and the squirrels quietly doing yard work the old fashioned way.

    Plus, my 3.5 year old keeps eschewing his kid-sized rake and trying to wrestle with mine. It’s about time I get another cooler one 🙂

  3. Beth Urie says:

    Love your demo tapes! I had watched this one when it first came out – fun.
    The Merlin seems the answer for all the pine needles in the beds and along their fringes from our neighbor’s beautiful white pine. Once collected, they serve to mulch the strawberries. Thanks for all you share.

  4. auntie beak says:

    oooo, i love the idea of a rake named merlin! heck, i just love the idea of a rake that has a name… need! need!

  5. Deborah says:

    I actually hate the sound of the metal tines on pavement, so this looks to be a great solution to getting all the leaves off of our patio and driveway! And it just looks cool! I think Merlin for me.

  6. Terry Golson says:

    I need this rake! Not for it’s stealth, but because it would be just the thing to use in the goat pen. The goats love to “help” and I could clean up and give them back scratches with it. It does look like a goat back scratcher, doesn’t it?

  7. Liz says:

    Oh my goodness this rake design is so smart! I have a huge amount of driveway (about 200 ft long) and a large number of trees that are dropping their leaves all over it this season, and I too hate the sound-of-metal-tines-on-paving-of-any-kind. Not to mention, this would be great for cleaning the lawn-clippings, mulch dustings, weed piles, what-have-you off the large rocks and rock path that surround my back yard perennial garden.

  8. I just came over from Gen’s site, she wrote a most excellent description on these rakes. Why I need the Wizard rake is… I’m a founding member of a new ecovillage and I will also have the village herb farm. There’s a lot of clearing to do on this parcel and of course after I get all of the planting done I will need to perform maintenance. The Wizard rubber rake would be perfect! Thanks Amy!

  9. Jen. says:

    Sycamores. Need I say anything more?

  10. Suze in CO says:

    I am the keeper of a 40′ by 40′ Thornless Honeylocust, perfectly situated to generously be-sprinkle all the sidewalk surrounding our corner lot with teeny, tiny leaflets. And while the neighbors love their leaf blowers, I prefer to practice early morning stealth gardening.

  11. erin bailey says:

    I really love this rake, too. I could use either size, but if I have to specify, the Merlin is probably most useful to me. thanks for the chance to win one.

  12. Will says:

    It’s beautiful; it’s mercifully silent; and it does a great job on pine straw and oak leaves. It’s not even that much more expensive than good quality standard metal-tined rakes. What’s not to love?

  13. Thad says:

    The Merlin would be a wonderful addition to my tool kit. Maybe I would keep our driveway clean, if I had it …

  14. LaLa says:

    About 25 years ago I bought a set of rubber-tined rakes from Smith & Hawken, one similar to the one you demonstrate and one with a much narrower head. Over the years I’ve found the smaller one to be useful for so many things as it can get in close to plants without damaging them, and is perfect for raking and smoothing mulch in my flower beds. The tines on each rake have held up all this time. I see Clarington doesn’t offer the smaller one. Maybe a word from you two?

  15. ChrissyMN says:

    What a cool rake – the Merlin would be perfect around shrubs and groundcover.

  16. Karen says:

    How many chances do Muggles have to own something designed for Wizards?

  17. greg draiss says:

    Just need one that’s all no more

    The TROLL

  18. maggiewann says:

    I need it because my old rake is falling apart and the leaves are getting ahead of me.

  19. April Chase says:

    I just bought a little place of my own (finally!) and it has a LOT of trees. And it has been empty for, like, two years. I NEED a decent rake! I think the Wizard would be just the thing!

  20. Paul O. says:

    I would love a wizard! The season in which kings go out to make war on the leaf hoards is upon us, and no decent tyrant goes to battle without his wizard.

  21. Holly Windsong Greenwood says:

    If you don’t give me one, I’ll surely buy it myself. You and Gen have convinced me I need both sizes for my organic gardening service.

    I recommend your readers buy the GardenShark (moves gravel and soil like nobody’s business and Gen at North Coast Gardening has used it to dethatch lawns) and the GroundHog (for moving huge quantities of mulch and other bulky, lightweight stuff). They are expensive ($40 each three years ago) but totally worth the investment for those of us who do this often.

  22. Kate L says:

    I would love to win a Wizard! We just moved into a house with multiple trees and pavement/paving stones winding their way through the yard. Being able to have a rake like this would make raking a lot more pleasant!

  23. Dunno. Tried a rubber crutch once and that didn’t work so good.

  24. Sue says:

    This is just what I am looking for to clean the leaves off of our new patio, made with recycled stones. The wizard I think would be perfect to help collect all of the oak leaves – not to mention all the leaves from the many, many trees we collect and compost from.

  25. Laura Bell says:

    Oh, I need one of these rakes ! Either one. Both would be work for me. My suburban yard is in a constant state of rebirth brought on by my inability to just leave things be. Between the general yard debris that gets tossed on the walkways & then noisily raked away, & the ornamental grasses which need “grooming” to look their best, either of these would make my outdoor time easier AND quieter. A win for me, and a win for the neighbors who don’t appreciate the screech of metal on cement early in the morning

  26. theresa says:

    Really need a rake to get all those neighbors pine needles out of our yard! Would love a wizard! Can’t believe I still don’t own a rake!

  27. Kamille H. says:

    I’d love to win a Wizard to clean all the old foliage out of my new deer grass plants!

  28. Terry says:

    Definitely the Wizard. There are a LOT of pine needles to be raked.

  29. Robyn R. says:

    I would love the small one. Leaves from my neighbor’s giant trees keep falling between my kale plants!

  30. Margaret K says:

    Ohhhh…I would so love the Wizard. I have so many leaves in the fall and other debris throughout the year and it looks like this rake would make quick work of that clean up. I would also use it at my lake house where the the oak leaves collect along the shore. Please!!!!

  31. BooksInGarden says:

    Aleppo pines. I have six aleppo pines. I need to rake up the needles of my steeply sloping driveway. Sliding on pine needles is no joke. Would love either size. Really must buy one this year if I do not win.

  32. UrsulaV says:

    I have a beagle.

    If there is Unexpected Noise outside, the beagle goes mad. And you have not lived until you have heard a beagle do his Hound of the Baskervilles imitation.


    The sounds that drive him particularly crazed include the trash can being dragged down the gravel drive, because if the trash can goes away to the curb OH MY GOD, PEOPLE WILL TAKE OUR STUFF AWOOOWOOOWOOOWOOOKILLTHEMALL!

    Raking, as it happens, apparently ALSO sounds like People Taking Our Stuff. Did I mention I’m surrounded by sweet gum and red maple trees? About two acres worth? I don’t want the leaves GONE, but getting them all together to compost…without shrieking beagle hysterics…

    Well, you get the idea.

  33. Barbara Moss says:

    So many deserving applicants, I am almost ashamed to ask! Today we moved into a new house in the UK, having just moved from New Zealand. We are retired and to keep my mind and body in working order, I have started a blog on composting and I am going to be working in my new garden, which is “small, but, unfortunately, not perfectly formed”. I have to replace all my old tools and this rake sounds (or not) fabulous. Just what I need to rake up all those leaves to make my leaf mould.
    Is this offer open to UK residents? If not just let me say how much I enjoy reading the articles you all produce. Lots of fun and thanks to you all!

  34. David says:

    The small one sounds ideal to compete with the array of gasoline powered leaf blowers that regularly prowl the neighbourhood

  35. Jennifer says:

    Would love to win this rake (Merlin) and shame my gas leaf blowing neighbors!

  36. Les says:

    If the King Arthur and Guinevere models are both sold out, then either the Wizard or the Merlin would do for me.

  37. Dinah Brock says:

    The Merlin would sound like music to the ears of my neighbors who get to hear me too early in the mornings out working in the yard, but that is MY prime time! A rubber rake would be the most awesome tool for me!

  38. John says:

    We live on the traditional large tree-lined street and have a ton of leaves every autumn. It would be awesome to try out some new raking technology!!!

  39. kristin says:

    I would love the Merlin! Having a rake with a cool name would help me convince my nephews to rake my yard!

  40. Catherine says:

    Please ship to Australia. Eucalypt leaves will not be moved by metal tines, blower, water jet or tears. But suspect they might get into rubber.

  41. Gina B. says:

    Help me oh Wizard!! I am up to my eyeballs in leaves and you would make this year’s fall clean-up so much easier!! Take pity oh wisest of wizards!! Signed your loyal but lowly servant!!

  42. Sharon says:

    I watched the video last year and immediately ordered both the Merlin and Wizard for my professional gardening services. It’s terrific even though my husband called it a “girly” rake. What does he know? It’s quiet, useful in the maintenance of garden beds and handsome to look at ! I’d like to win one to give to the 4-H Environmental Center in my hometown so the Junior Master Gardeners can use it to keep the perennial and herb gardens there groomed and learn early the value of having well-made garden tools.

    PS, I personally would be happy to win new rubber tines for my “Merlin” which has gotten quite the workout this year!

  43. Kay says:

    I rarely crank the leaf blower anymore for small jobs,like raking clippings off driveways, but the leaf rake does create the nails-on-a-chalkboard reaction. I would LOVE to try a rubber rake… putting this on my ‘must have’ list!

  44. Ruth says:

    How nice it would be to replace the noisy blower with a quiet lovely rake! I could use either size — smaller one for me; the large for my burly husband — Surprise Me Please!

  45. Jen says:

    I have a large white pine with a gravel seating area under it – the needles are impossible to rake up and the noise my traditional rake makes while trying is absolutely disgusting. This rake looks like it would solve both problems!

  46. Judith says:

    I too have big leaf-dropping trees, along the driveway and in the back yard. The white pine grove that supplies me most of my path mulch would be a cinch to rake with one of these. Either the Wizard or the Merlin would be most welcome to come do their magic.

  47. Ictero says:

    I might actually enjoy the task if I had a rake called “Merlin” …. headed over to their site now to see if they make snow shovels (although I don’t think there’s a name fanciful enough to make that task enjoyable!).

  48. Susan in WNC says:

    With almost a quarter mile of tree-covered driveway to rake, I could sure use this. Not to mention for raking leaves out–and mulch into–all the flower and vegetable beds.

    Please choose me 🙂

  49. lisab says:

    Why not, i love cool tools! Especially when they look good and function too.

  50. Monish says:

    Living in the city and being aware of all the excess noise- this rake makes sense. I also like Jen’s demo of cleaning a grass plant and how the rubber grabs the old loose blades better than hand cleanng.

  51. cynthialeigh says:

    The Wizard would be so great for me because I have to be really careful to keep the fallen leaves off the road at the curb to prevent flooding in the fall caused by leaves clogging up the storm sewer drains! Thanks for the giveaway and pointing out a really cool, new (to me) product!

  52. Deb says:

    The thought of being able to rake my blue oat grass instead of hand picking out all of the dead leaves would be heaven!
    I seem to replace my metal rake almost yearly due to bent, twisted tines- maybe I am an aggressive raker… being able to replace the working end instead of the entire rake is brilliant!

  53. Debra says:

    The sounds of tines on pavement rattle the fillings in my head. Also, rubber tines won’t damage exposed roots.

  54. Heather says:

    My neighborhood is full of gas powered mowers and leaf blowers. I like to garden silently.

  55. Marla says:

    Wow, what a cool gizmo!
    Last spring we planted 1800+ plants in our side slope (sedum, mondo grasses, creeping jenny, sempervivum..), carefully mulched around them and admired the beauty. Like an abstract swirly painting made of plants.

    Now the autumn leaves are starting to fall all over the little darlin’s, and a regular rake won’t work. Yikes! Help the sedum, please…a petite rubber rake would be the perfect caress they need.

  56. Penny says:

    My heart lurched when I saw the video—Merlin is the answer to my dreams!

    I live in an apartment complex and my patio garden is actually someone else’s roof. Neighbors and management are supportive of patio gardening but I wouldn’t want to push my welcome with noise or a mess. Right now I keep things clean by picking up large debris and then sweeping with a broom, but a silent rake would make clean up so much easier!

  57. Liza says:

    I would love to have this rake! Completely cool and needed for so many jobs around my garden! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to enter! I love your site!

  58. Sue says:

    The sound of metal rake on concrete really gets me! I’d love to have a quiet rake that can get the job done!

  59. BetsyM says:

    wow just what I need–a wizard! big urban yard–neighbors close by–tons of trees–oaks and black gum, and can you say acorns? add all this up with 120′ frontage plus the “lower 48” cause I have a corner lot and the sidewalks collect everyone else’s leaves too.

  60. Sue L. says:

    Would love to have a wizard rake- this seems like such a functional and beautiful rake that will last a lot longer than my 4 rakes I’ve purchased over the last 5 years (we have a woodland garden that produces lots of leaves–much we reuse).

  61. Molly J says:

    Because I’m a Garden Tool Whore. And not ashamed to admit it.

  62. Michael K says:

    A Wizard looks like the right tool to remove the annual collection of Austrian pine needles from the driveway and sidewalk.

  63. Kathy M says:

    A Merlin would be perfect for working in our garden!!

  64. CindyP says:

    The Wizard would make the designated raker in my home, my husband, incredibly happy. He’s a big fan of tools that can be repaired or have parts replaced instead of having to throw them out. He has an entire collection of handles from old garden tools because he can’t bear to throw out a completely good handle. And don’t get me started about how many left hand gloves we have because the right one wore out first.

  65. Carol says:

    Two things my Dad taught me: Always have fun, no matter what you’re doing. And use good quality tools. With one of these rakes, I can do both at the same time! Thanks for the opportunity.

  66. A. Marina Fournier says:

    We’ve just moved into a rental, after years of owning. I’ve never liked the blowers–noise drives me AND the elderly dogs nuts. They bark or whine as long as those things are running. Count me in as one of the club who cannot stand the sound of metal grating on anything.

    The owner maintains the front (lawn, little else: no shrubs, trees, groundcover…) but we have free rein over the back. Since my MiL and I want to grow food around the perimeter of the back yard, and I have my couldn’t-stand-to-leave plants in pots etc, the strip of ground they’re on will need care. I also have numerous spring-flowering bulbs to plant here and there, around and among the various low, walkable, ground covers we plan to put in.

    I bought the Fiskars loppers after your recommendation–surely the Merlin will do well for me. Merlin being his own Wand–love that idea!

  67. yolana says:

    I usually look for any excuse to put off raking, perhaps with this I would look for an excuse to do it instead.

  68. tropaeolum says:

    Praise the lord! I HATE the sound of leaf blowers and metal on concrete/pavers makes my skin crawl. Thank you Clarington Forge for making life a little quieter and calmer.

  69. Trent Fisher says:

    With 9 large maple trees and 1 huge oak in my yard, I can always use another rake, especially since my 3 year old daughter hates the sound of the leaf blower. And the replaceable tines are an excellent idea! The larger the rake the better!

  70. Peggy says:

    Years ago I bought a rubber tipped tool for sweeping the floors. The rubber was supposed to attract the dust making it easier to collect. With the Merlin rake, perhaps the same principle works for leaves. I would be willing to give it a try.

  71. This wide, corner curving frontage on a no-mow residential lot has areas of mulch, ornamental grasses, dozens of low growing evergreen shrubs,
    river rock, posts and rope, and a brick path. Wore out many pairs of gloves creating this over the past 5 years.
    The oversized driveway has a full length grate and drain in front of the garage door to keep cleared of leaves. Acorns on the driveway are a daily slipping hazard… I do alot of raking here, especially in the fall!
    The Wizard rubber rake would be put to immediate, and frequent use!

  72. Riva says:

    The sound of a rake on pavement brings my otherwise tough little toddler to shrieking tears. This awesome invention could solve that problem.

  73. Mary says:

    If I wave this rake over my yard the leaves will blow into crunchy colorful piles of fall leaves…..OK, I guess I will just muggle it and rake them into crunchy colorful fall leaf piles but it would be even more fun with a Wizard or a Merlin rake!

  74. Craig says:

    I’d love to have the Wizard if it really works like last year’s video shows. I’ve got a bad back and raking is down-right painful. If I didn’t have to bend over so much it would save me so much pain.
    Thank you for this opportunity!

  75. Kath says:

    I would like the Merlin rake so that my late night raking does not disturb my neighbors.

  76. The Merlin rake would be perfect for my veggie gardens. Thanks for the tips!

  77. Grizzly Amador says:

    Would love to own one of these Merlins, I’d use it to harvest up the pecans on the ground in the backyard AND the neighbors tree leaves in my front yard….and not have to worry about the annoying screeching sound from the tines on those Sunday morning hangover days cleaning the driveway and sidewalks! HA!

  78. […] Chosen at random by asking my uncle Walter to pick a number, the winners are:  David for the Clarington Forge rubber rake, and Geri for the new book THE ROOTS OF MY OBSESSION.  Thanks for playing, everybody! Posted by […]