The Clarington Forge Rubber Rake: The Coolest Tool You Never Knew You Needed

Sometimes you come across a tool that solves so many problems you wonder how you went so long without hearing about it. The Clarington Forge rubber rake is one of those tools.

“A rubber rake?” I hear you asking incredulously. “Really? WTF?”

I’ll forgive you for asking, because if you remember our review of the rubber rake from last year, Amy Stewart had the exact same reaction on first glance.

I’ll explain the advantages for the uninitiated:

Neighborly relations. Have you ever had a neighbor who wakes up the entire-freaking-neighborhood at 6AM on Sunday morning because they cannot wait to get out the rake and be industrious about the leaves coating their sidewalk? SCREEE! SCREEEE! I mean, all that activity comes from a nice place in their heart, but if anyone in the neighborhood has a hangover, or worse, a baby that has just gotten to sleep, that poor hardworking soul is in mortal danger of being impaled upon the very tool they are using to bring order to their world. If you are that person, I beg you, get yourself a rubber rake and you can enjoy raking at whisper-soft volume any time of day or night.

Decks and patios. What do you do if you have a beautifully-stained deck, or a flagstone patio with a clear coating on it to keep the color looking bright? Even plastic leaf rakes will scratch the stain off a deck when used with vigor. A rubber rake, by contrast, rakes just what it’s supposed to and leaves your hardscape alone.

Gen cleaning out a Blue Oat Grass with the rubber rakeOrnamental grasses. You know all those icky dead leaves that start to clog blue oat grass and others, and keep them from looking their best? You could spend for-freaking-ever running your hands through each individual grass to pull out all the dead blades, but some of us have Project Runway episodes to watch. I’d rather run the rubber rake over the grasses and get back to stalking Christian Siriano on Twitter that much faster.

Groundcovers. Whether they’re herbaceous or woody, groundcovers can be a challenge to rake. Every time I run a traditional rake over them, the tines catch on the stems and I end up ripping or displacing my plants. Yet if you’ve ever picked clumps of leaves off your groundcovers by hand, you know what an arduous task that is. Necessary so your groundcovers don’t smother, yes, but if I’m going to spend time outdoors in that fall chill, I’d rather be planting bulbs or harvesting apples or something. The rubber rake once again shines at removing the leaves quickly without hurting your plants.

Raking on mulch. The rubber rake is also good for more pedestrian raking tasks. Ever tried to rake trimmings or leaves off an area that’s got wood mulch on top? It’s kind of challenging to rake up all the detritus without raking up all your lovely mulch as well. The rubber rake’s a lot easier to control than the usual stiff leaf rakes, and makes cleanup a snap. It’s also extra-grippy on things like pine needles which like to stick to pavement.

wizard rubber rake  (21)No more whomping yourself on the ears. Have you ever pulled a smooth move in the garden by stepping on your rake when it’s sitting face-up and having it whack you in the head?

Every new employee likes to try this maneuver a few times in their first weeks, and it’s embarrassing for all involved. I mean, it really hurts. But it’s also really funny, and it’s very hard not to laugh when it happens, which creates poor relations between crew members. Save yourself the worry and stock your toolbox with a rubber rake. I personally tested this by jumping up and down on my rubber rake and was unable to make it hit me in the face. Score!

But don’t the tines wear out all the time?

The one concern I had when I first saw the rubber rake was the tines. I saw a great big cha-ching tattooed on those rubber tines and figured I’d be buying replacement tines every other month. Strangely, that hasn’t happened. My landscaping crew’s been using the rake for a full year now, and even with regular professional use (it’s really nice because we don’t disturb our clients when we clean up), the tines are holding up great. They still have quite a bit of life left in them, and I imagine for the average homeowner, the tines would last 5-10 years. (Need a tutorial on changing the tines? I created one here.)

The rubber rake from Clarington Forge comes in two sizes: the Wizard for raking large spaces, and the Merlin for raking in between shrubs. If you’re an urban gardener, you’ll probably want the Merlin, but if you have a large area, the Wizard’s ace for making cleanup fast.

Disclosure: Clarington Forge sent me some free stunt rakes so I could jump up and down on them and attempt to wear out the tines.  All opinions are my own.

55 responses to “The Clarington Forge Rubber Rake: The Coolest Tool You Never Knew You Needed”

  1. ooo! that little merlin guy sounds perfect for me. i have some gardens along my deck that are heavily mulched, and get very leaf-choked in the fall/spring (darned oak trees just never stop dropping leaves).

  2. 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.

  3. Thanks for this equipment post Gen. I have used this rake over at a friend’s garden and would love to have one for myself! The Wizard would be terrific for raking up the myriad leaflets from my big pecan tree. thanks, Geri

  4. Wow, this is an even better tool than I imagined. When I first read about it, I thought “what’s the big deal?” but upon further examination… Grasses that are time-consuming to thin of dead leaves? I got ’em. Mulch that I don’t want to disturb, but I do want to tidy of leaf litter/whatever? Yep. Stone patio-ish areas that I don’t want to scratch? Check. Lots of driveway that has leaves aaallllll over it? Yes and yes. I even have a pine-needle-strewn corner of the yard that I’d like to clean up. I think I’d prefer the Wizard, because of all that driveway.

  5. Merlin. I can just see my sons arguing to see who can use the rake to sweep the gravel off the stones!

  6. This is the coolest garden tool – the Merlin would be fantastic for inbetween shrubs and groundcover.

  7. Thanks for this introduction. I actually budget a certain amount annually to test new equipment, so I’m glad you’ve saved me some time and wasted money here. Now I know I need one or both of these for my business. If I’m the lucky winner, I’d like to start with the MERLIN.

    By-the-bye, I recommend your readers try out the GardenShark and it’s mate the GroundHog. One moves gravel & soil quicker than any other landscaping rake I’ve used; the other does the same for light and bulky mulches. They are expensive ($40 each three years ago), but worth every penny.

  8. Would love to try these out! The Wizard looks like it would make short order of my leaves and without that horrible scritchy noise, too!

  9. The season in which kings go out to make war on the leaf hoards is upon us, and no decent despot goes to battle without his Wizard!

  10. OOOOooooo! I could use the Merlin for the tight areas under/between shrubs or for grooming those same shrubs & the ornamental grasses. The Wizard – I rake up & collect not only my leaves, but those of the neighbors around me (sounds altruistic, but it’s all about the compost really). Sidewalks, walkways, and driveways make metal rakes screech like crazy. It would be lovely to clean up swiftly and silently!

  11. I was just outside blowing pine needles away and realized what I really need is a rake! A wizard would be perfect and would be well loved! Thank you!

  12. Sounds great I would love to show our neighborhood leaf blowing team what a little bit of noise free raking can do and with the price of gas maybe they’ll be some converts.

  13. Metal tines on concrete are tops on my list of annoyances, right up there with political posts on face book. I would love the Merlin.

  14. I’d luv one of the lil Merlin’s! Sounds like a savior as I’m one of the early birds in the garden! That IS the best time, isn’t it?

  15. I’d like the Merlin if I’m picked. I’m just getting back into the swing of things after being laid up with a broken foot so I’m better off going with something smaller.

  16. Wizard, please. I would use it for raking up the pine needles that my aleppo pines shed on my steep driveway. Not any fun sliding down steep driveway courtesy of the slippery needles on needles on driveway.

  17. I would love the wizard. My chickens always knock down my leaf piles and the noise of the metal deafens me for at least the whole day. It rings in my ears! I really really really want this rake. I NEED THIS WIZARD RAKE! Thank You!

  18. 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.

  19. We have a very long gravel driveway and it would be nice to DIScourage the leaf blower by using a lovely rubber rake! I would love to have either one — Surprise Me!

  20. I’d love the wizard. 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!

  21. 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.

    Merlin me, please!

  22. I would love this rake despite the fact that I love to wake up my neighbors who smoke outside my daughter’s window…

  23. A Merlin looks like the ticket for clearing the hundred-odd meters of gravel paths in our gardens.

  24. Oohhhh! We just moved from a small city lot to the country and I just finished the WSU Master Gardener Course. Love this rake! Would love the larger Wizard for my 1.25 acres! Where can you buy one?

  25. Years ago I purchased a rubber tipped tool used for cleaning the floors and clearing snow from the cars. It makes sense to use a rubber tipped tool to attract the leaves in my yard. A Merlin would be magic!

  26. Um, Wizard. Just wondering if it would be effective on my little patch of artificial turf (the dog area–grass just won’t hold up to the puppies). Will look into that. Thanks for the recommendation. I hate that screee screee sound, and my old rake is the one making it!

  27. I could definately use the Merlin rake in the numerous tight beds I do. Seems as though it would work nicely on removing such things as fallen leaves/twigs on beds of creepy Charlie and such.

  28. I’d love to have the Merlin for taking care of the plants in my front yard. I’ve got a lot of ornamental grasses and ground cover mixed between hard bushes that it should fit nicely between.
    Thank you for the opportunity!

  29. Just bookmarked your blog this morning! Seems like if I am not gardening I am reading about gardens! I hope to follow your blog this winter. In the meantime, sure would love that rubber rake!