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I'm thinking of buying an estate rake this year:

Estate Rake.jpg Estate Rake #2 jpg.jpg

Anybody here used one? Do they do a good job with grass? Leaves? Preferred style?

Any input is helpful! ~~ Lowell
 
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I bought a used hayrake last year to de-thatch my pastures - it did a nice job of rowing up a whole pile of clipping for me to burn.

I don't know what the passive wheel types would do for you.... mine is PTO driven, so it scratches nicely....

-Jer.
 

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I'm thinking of buying an estate rake this year:

View attachment 25123 View attachment 25124

Anybody here used one? Do they do a good job with grass? Leaves? Preferred style?

Any input is helpful! ~~ Lowell
My dad bought one like in your first picture. He was trying to recover an old field and turn it into more of a yard.

He was not very pleased with it. It did not work very well in heavy grass. He also felt it was "light & bouncy". It also didn't work unless the ground was level.

We halled it off to the scrap yard last year.
 
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I guess the next thing to decide is whether to go with the "V" style or "one-way" style! I can see advantages to both. Although, I'm leaning towards the 60" one-way.

May be a while before I decide for sure! ~~ Lowell
 

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Ordered the straight rake from Amazon, arrived today! Took about 2-1/2 hours setup time, including drilling, tapping & installing grease fittings in all hubs.

HPIM3004 (800x597).jpg

HPIM3005 (800x597).jpg

Still need to grease it. Not sure I have the tines headed the right direction, manual is pretty vague. Picture on the box even show one wheel opposite the rest! ~~ Lowell
 

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Don't you just love some of the "manuals" you get...

Looks pretty good from the pic's.

Maybe that was my fathers problem with his...manual wouldn't have mattered though...he would not read it any way.

Grease that baby up and let us know how it works!
 
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Hopefully it works because I just bought one too!

Have you figured out the direction the wheels are supposed to face? On the big ag rakes the tines touching the ground point into the direction of travel for raking.

What size grease fitting, drill, and tap did you use? Could you please post or a picture showing where you put the grease fitting? That sounds like a good idea.
 
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I have had one of the straight style for over 20 years. I have used it to lightly thatch the yard in the spring and then used the pull behind lawn sweeper to pick up the leaves, dead grass. If you have any longer twigs around they will tend to get hung up in the wheel teeth.

I have used it when landscaping and preparing a new yard. It worked great to windrow stones and any other foreign matter and I could pick it up with a shovel. I also would spread my grass seed and set it a little lower and it helped to cover up the grass seed.

I just brought into the shop to service it yesterday. I was just adjusting air pressures in the tires and checking it all over. The latch on the height adjustment level is finally worn to the point it would jump out of the place I had it set. I took it apart, ground the rounded edge straight and it works fine again.

I put about 40 - 50 lbs of weight over each tire to get to tow straight, This is something you just need to experiment with to get it right for your situation.
 

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I was just adjusting air pressures in the tires...
Are there any tire pressure tricks (example: running the inboard wheel at a lower pressure so it has a larger footprint for the rake to pull against) to make it work better?
Have you found a certain range of pressures which work better or do I just follow the recommendation on the sidewall of the tire?
What do you use for your ballast?
Am I asking too many questions?:lol:

I guess I'm just a bit excited for spring. My rake is still in the box because the morning after it was delivered we got another 3" of snow. I'm glad I didn't jump the gun and pull my snowplow off!
 
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Mine has a turnbuckle between the height adjustment lever and cable that you may want to tweak to get the right setting depending on the situation. Weight over the wheels is critical. I never worried about adjusting tire pressure.
 

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What is a good material to use for ballast? The box shows two concrete blocks but are they enough? I was thinking about lining the ballast racks with plywood and then tossing a bag of lead shot into each one.
 

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I used a 40 pound concrete block on each side, but if you want to get really aggressive with how the rake is working you may need more than that.
 

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Update

Even though I got my rake in the mail a week and a half ago, I just got around to putting it together yesterday! Assembly was very easy. It took longer to drill and tap the holes for grease zerks on the rakes than it did to assemble the rest of the rake. Some of the reviews I read warned about poorly written directions but I had no issues with them. I am a little disappointed that some of the components were scuffed and scratched. I'll probably repaint it when I get bored next winter so I'm not too worried about that. Maybe blue to match my old Sears tractor?

A question for those who have used these things before: how durable are the pin-wheels? Should I order a pack of tines or would that be a waste of money?

It looks ridiculous sitting in the shed in front of my full-sized hay rake! :lol:
 

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I tried my rake for the first time yesterday. :yahoo::yahoo::good2:

First I used it to smooth out and rake up some of the mess I made in the lawn while plowing snow. It also worked surprisingly well at raking gravel back into the driveway. Next I used it to rake up the sawdust and bark from cutting and splitting firewood. It didn't do too well with the sawdust (I hadn't expected it to) but it fluffed it up enough that I could get it with the sweeper easier. Finally I tried raking some pine needles which it did a great job. I didn't want to do too much with it until the grass comes back to life. With my sandy soil, I'm sure I could rip out most of my grass by the root if I got too carried away.

So what's my overall impression? On one hand, this isn't a product for a perfectionist. It does a good job but it isn't as perfect as if you raked it with a human powered rake. On the other hand, raking several acres by hand is not nearly as fast or enjoyable as sitting on the tractor for a few hours!

Now all I have to do is perfect a system of picking up the windrows. I tried making one and two pass windrows to test my sweeper and I found that I had to go over them at least twice in order to pick up all of the windrow. I think that next time I'll see how large of a windrow I can create and pick it up with a pitchfork instead.
 

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does it do a fair job dethatching?
 

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does it do a fair job dethatching?
I can't compare it to a 'normal' dethatcher because I've never used one. For what it's worth, mine will not be up for sale any time soon! :laugh: I haven't been able to use mine a whole lot because my ground is still a bit soft (I still have a few snow piles left) but what I have done has worked very well. It doesn't do quite as good a job as I could by hand, but I have too much lawn and not enough time to rake 4 acres of grass. There is no way I could pick up a rake and clear a 55" path at 2 miles an hour! Having all the debris windrowed for pickup is a huge bonus.

I'd recommend one for anyone with more than 3/4 acre of lawn.
 

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Mine is the straight rake too and I will definitely agree to the "better than expected" part. I was innitially skeptical, but I figured it would be worth the try since I could only find one negative product review.
My grass finally started to noticeably turn green yesterday and I'm going to wait until after it has grown out a bit and has been mowed once or twice before I rake the whole lawn. My soil is very sandy and I want to give the roots some time to wake up and take hold before I drag a gang of wire pinwheels through them.

I like chores that I can look forward to doing. :greentractorride: Funny how all my favorite chores involve my tractors!
 
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Update: Using the estate rake as a de-thatcher

I took advantage of the nice cool day to test the rake as a de-thatcher. I was able to rake a little over an acre an hour making 2 pass windrows. I followed that up with another two hours pulling the sweeper. Out of a little over three acres, I managed to pickup a pile of thatch and old clippings which filled my 4x8x2 trailer past the point of overflowing. :thumbup1gif:

Here is what I learned:
1) The rake is best suited for wide open areas. Maneuvering around trees and other obstacles while trying to maintain easy to pickup windrows is very tricky.
2) Exposed tree roots make the rake unhappy. I don't think I did any damage but I did have to stop and straighten out a few of the wires on one of the wheels.
3) Raking all of that by hand would have taken at least a week... or rather, it would have taken forever because I wouldn't have done it in the first place.
4) Sticks will get stuck in the wheels and reduce their effectiveness so if at all possible, do a FOD walk prior to raking.
5) Windrows made in slightly taller grass are easier to pick up with the sweeper.
6) Taller grass means more ballast in the rake. I used 2 concrete bricks in the ballast carriers plus a suitcase weight strapped to the frame. Winter project; remove ballast boxes and install suitcase brackets in their place.

#3 is probably the most important. A few hours of tractor therapy wins every time.
 
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