For the past two weeks I've been doing spring cleaning in the mornings before work. Six days ago we had a large dumpster dropped off in our yard to get rid of all sorts of junk and debris.
The junk consists of old wood, sinks, car parts, etc... This stuff as been hanging around in our yard for years and we finally decided it was time to get a dumpster and get rid of everything.
You might be wondering what this has to do with rakes.
In the course of cleaning up the yard I've also been cutting back vines and pricker bushes that run along the property line. A lot of this junk has been covered by this dense foliage so as I cut (and rake) I find more junk to throw in the dumpster.
I started using a red plastic rake from last year. This rake did not make it through the winter very well and the plastic was very brittle. Brittle to the point where the simple act of raking out a flower bed was causing the tines to break off of the rake. After about two days of use this rake looked more like a shovel as it had no more tines. So, I used it as a leaf shovel to move the leaves onto a big tarp that I then drag away to dump the organic debris into a special area for it to decompose.
Since I needed a new rake I went to the local Wal-Mart store and purchased one.
This rake was similar in appearance to the last one and that should have tipped me off. It didn't.
I thought I would get at least one season of use out of this $5 rake, I got five days.
On the fifth day the rake broke above the tines. A big 12" crack going from the left side to the middle.
On Sunday I planned to go out and spend extra to buy a rake that would last. Luck was not with me as the only hardware store open on Sunday near me was the Home Depot.
I was very careful this time. I knew what to look for and I found a rake in the Home Depot that has a very strong plastic part that was also very bendable. I thought for sure that this rake would last the whole season and it was under $10.
I brought it home and started raking. After four minutes of raking the shaft broke in half. Yes, the shaft broke.
I stood there dumbfounded for a few minutes (and laughing). I did find a rake with a higher quality plastic component but looking at where the wood broke it was very obvious that the manufacturer used old rotted wood to make their rakes.
I've worked with wood for a long time and it is easy to see if the wood was good or bad by looking at the break. This wood just looked bad. Good wood will splinter when it breaks, this wood did not splinter at all. It was almost a perfectly clean snap.
I took a moment to survey my three broken rakes. I thought to myself that if I took the plastic piece of the one I just purchased and used the shaft from one of my two other broken rakes I could have a good rake again.
I unscrewed the heads of the other two rakes but, no matter what I did, I could not get the old heads off! I tried all sorts of things to pull those broken heads off and not a single one budged.
So I'm off to the home Depot to trade in my rake for a new one.