Rake (tool)

A rake (Old English raca, cognate with Dutch raak, German Rechen, from a root meaning "to scrape together," "heap up") is an agricultural and horticultural implement consisting of a toothed bar fixed transversely to a handle, and used to collect leaves, hay, grass, etc., and, in gardening, for loosening the soil, light weeding and levelling, and generally for purposes performed in agriculture by the harrow.

Modern hand-rakes usually have steel, plastic, or bamboo teeth or tines, though historically they have been made with wood or iron. The handle is often made of wood or metal. When rakes have longer teeth, they may be arranged in the shape of an old-style folding fan. Large versions mounted on wheels with a bar connecting long curved steel teeth can be used with tractors, descended from a horse-drawn type used prior to the growth of mechanical farming.

Cultural associations

If the rake lies in the ground teeth up, as shown on the top picture, and someone accidentally steps on the teeth, the rake's handle would swing rapidly upwards, colliding with the victim's face. This is often seen in slapstick comedy and cartoons, such as Tom and Jerry and The Simpsons episode Cape Feare, wherein a series of rakes become what Sideshow Bob describes as his "arch-nemesis". There is a Russian saying "to trip twice on the same rake" (наступить дважды на одни и те же грабли), which means "to repeat the same silly mistake".


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