A rake (Old English raca, cognate with Dutch hark, German Rechen, from the root meaning "to scrape together", "heap up") is a broom for outside use; a horticultural implement consisting of a toothed bar fixed transversely to a handle, or tines fixed to a handle, and used to collect leaves, hay, grass, etc., and in gardening, for loosening the soil, light weeding and levelling, removing dead grass from lawns, and generally for purposes performed in agriculture by the harrow.
Large mechanized versions of rakes are used in farming, called hay rakes, are built in many different forms (e.g. star-wheel rakes, rotary rakes, etc.). Nonmechanized farming may be done with various forms of a hand rake.
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 typically a ~1.5 metres (5 ft) haft made of wood, bamboo, steel or fiberglass.
Leaf rakes, used like a broom to gather leaves, cut grass and debris, have long, flat teeth bent into an L-shape and fanned out from the point of attachment. This permits some flexibility to allow the teeth to conform to terrain, while also being light to minimise damage to vegetation. Compact, telescoping leaf rakes allow the teeth to be withdrawn by sliding a movable fixture point up the shaft.
Garden rakes typically have steel teeth and are intended for heavier use in soil and larger debris. They have long, stiff teeth which must be able to withstand abrasion and bending forces.
Bow rakes are a subset of garden rakes which separate the handle and bar with a bow-shaped extension which allows the flat back of the bar to be used for levelling and scraping. These may have somewhat finer and shorter teeth and can perform a myriad of gardening and landscape tasks, and due to their more costly construction are likely to be a professional tool. Alternatively, a second set of differently shaped teeth may be added to the back of the bar.
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