Make a Zen Garden Rake for Your Ashtray




This is how to make miniature Zen Garden Rake for use wherever. I was planning on raking some public ashtrays and leaving them for others to rake it.
If you wanted you could also use these in your own tiny Zen garden or bring them with you for a quick Zen fix anywhere that has sand.

Step 1: What You Need

1/2 in. dowel
1/4 in. dowel
1/8 in. dowel
Wood Glue
Measuring tape

Step 2: Measure Two Times, Cut Seven

So there are 3 parts of the Rake: The handle, the teeth, and the part that holds the teeth(mouth?).

The teeth are 1 inch segments of the 1/8 inch dowel. You will need 5 teeth.
The mouth(?) is a 2 1/2 in. segment of the 1/2 in. dowel.
The handle is a 7 in. segment of the 1/4 in. dowel.

. . . . Cut those pieces

NOTE: I HIGHLY recommend wearing protective glasses while cutting because. . .well, personally I like being able to see.

Step 3: Drilling the Teeth

First, draw a straight line across the mouth(?). I accomplished this by laying both the pencil and mouth down on a flat surface and pulling the pencil across its face.

Then, put 5 marks on the mouth that are 1/2 in. apart but start 1/4 in. away from either edge (see picture).

Use a 1/8 in. drill bit and (using a drill press if possible) drill the 5 holes at each intersection that you drew on the mouth.

Try to be consistent - If the holes are crooked or some are deeper than others, your rake might not look to pretty.

Step 4: Drilling the Handle

Measure half way (1 1/4 in.) across the mouth piece and mark it.
Get a 1/4 in. drill bit and again drill 1/8 in. into the mouth at the halfway point you marked earlier.

NOTE: I didn't bother drawing a line along the length of the mouth because I let it rest on the teeth while I drilled (see picture 2).

Step 5: Sanding

This is pretty simple. Get a fairly fine sand paper and sand down the edges of each piece so that they look nice and feel nice.

I used 220 grit sandpaper which is probably too fine for what I needed but make sure not to use anything to grainy or it will leave visible scratches in your wood. Just use your best judgment.

Step 6: Glue It All Up!

Get some newspaper or aluminum foil that will keep your floor (or table) clean. Make a small puddle of wood glue, dip each tooth into the glue, and then jam it in one of the teeth holes. Have a damp paper towel or rag on hand to wipe up any extra glue that squeezes out.

Repeat with the handle and then wait for a while (maybe prepare your Zen Garden or Ashtray).

Step 7: DONE!

Now enjoy your new Zen Garden Rakes or let others enjoy them!

Some ideas I had in mind for the rakes:
-Zen Gardens everywhere!
-Ashtray Zen Gardens
-maybe bring some sand, lay it out on the sidewalk somewhere and rake it.
-The beach, though you would probably need a bigger rake.
-The park while your kids play in the sand.

If you have any ideas I'd love to hear them. Also I'll put up photos of what I do with my rakes shortly.



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    15 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I am so excited to see these instructions. I am making some Zen gardens for a gift exchange, but we have a strict budget policy on budget. Commercial rakes were out of my price range, but this seems like a great fit with a dollar tree tray and 'sand' made from colored Epsom salts.

    I really cannot wait to try this.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    ever thought to use baking soda as the sand as it absorbs smells

    It would give you something to play with in the bathroom


    7 years ago on Introduction

    We enjoyed making several of these little rakes yesterday... used all of our 1/4" dowel, and most of the 1/8". Now have several extras to give as gifts. We used a hand saw and handheld drill (centering the crossbars in the groove of a ruler to keep it steady.)

    One note is that this produces a good sized rake, not a tiny little thing. As such, we felt the minimum garden size it works in to be about 11" x 17" or so.

    Thanks for sharing a fun project the entire family enjoyed!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea. However, I would hate to go through all that work just to have someone with less talent and sticky fingers to walk away with all my hard work. Hmmmm.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I love the idea of leaving the rakes in public places like ashtrays for others to use, kinda like open source zen gardening! Brilliant!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great constructions - thanks!  But how to manage without the completely-tooled shop?!?!?  (I have NO power tools!)  Wooden barbecue skewers work great for the teeth - maybe the handle, too?  Ooh, ooh!  That broken tapestry dowel now has a re-purpose!

    Thanks again!  Many thanks!

    I made my own version of this from toothpicks and a chopstick
    good instructable!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    a while ago i made a mini zen stone garden and it looked realy nice.....but i had to use a plastic fork as a rake which realy took away from the cool wooden frame i made. now iv seen this im definately making another one! awsum instructable and idea!!! also,i realy like the idea of using them for ashtrays


    my first thought when I saw this was "I've always wanted one of these," but for a nice catbox-sized box for my action figures and sweet sweet serenity.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, great job! My dad would definitely love these, the other day, me and my brother just destroyed (not completely) his rake... sparks look really cool, especially from rakes! Nice job, +1 rating, excellent job.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I am making a desk Zen garden (out of an old picture frame or ashtray) for my cubicle cell at work to keep my cool when the crazies are calling in. I think those public ashtrays should come with one of these chained to it, but the smell may distract from the Zen.


    EXCELLENT instructable! However, you should never cut cylindrical stock on a scroll/band saw! Safety first! (I love being a tool)

    Karel Jansens

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I never got these Zen garden rakes.

    Truly, real Zen gardening should be with no rake, yes?


    11 years ago on Introduction

    im making one... the glue is drying... also. to keep the teeth straight. LIGHTLY clamp in a vice...