Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I made a rake (and made a Zen garden look nice)

I took a couple classes at FCCJ's South Campus last semester and while wandering around before class one day I found that there was a Zen sand garden that seemed to have been left unkempt for some time. I took a stick and drew out some broad lines in the sand and smoothed out the footprints, but it didn't look terribly amazing. After I got out of class I remembered that I'd found some thick walled bamboo rods discarded in a wooded pathway on the campus. I went there and got a few pieces, bored some holes in one piece with my knife, put some small sticks into the holes, and tied the whole bit to another, longer piece of bamboo for a handle. I'd made a very flimsy Zen rake.

I used it to go over the garden again, but it fell apart just as I finished, so I triumphantly walked back to my truck with the head of the rake dangling precariously back and forth so I could take it home and improve on it.

I wound up drilling out the holes for the tooth pegs, adding some extra supports, and sanding the bamboo. I used some bungee cords to hold the supports in place while the glue dried. It looks pretty nice and fairly authentic, though it's about twice as wide as a traditional rake. It lets me finish twice as fast, sometimes you don't have hours to meditate and rake sand between classes. I was pretty happy with it and it gave me something relaxing to do while waiting for classes. I also trimmed up the overgrown bamboo and trees around the garden. I did this for a while, but eventually had to use some Shoe Goo to attach and coat the corners of the supports so the wood glue wouldn't get re-softened and come loose.

I wound up getting tired of having to carry the rake around and eventually decided to leave it in the garden so I wouldn't have to carry it and so others could make use of it if they wanted to. I gave the whole thing a good coat of clear lacquer so it would last longer, wrote "Please return when done." on a piece of pipe, and put the pipe and rake in the garden. I left it the last day I had class for the semester, I wonder if it'll be there when I get back. Anyway, Here's a picture from right after I started raking the garden, I've got more here.

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