Tested: Tiltman rake

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle


A quick flip through the Deals on Wheels archive is all that Lyndsay Whittle needed to find the right attachment for his machine

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We were in the middle of Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown and I was doing a story for Deals on Wheels remotely. I needed to cross-reference something I’d written about four months ago, so I was trawling through some past issues to find the info I needed to complete the story.

These were unusual times and my thoughts couldn’t have been further away from purchasing any new equipment as I skimmed through pages of the last four issues, looking for the article I was hoping to find.

As I carried on searching, I chanced to see an article the Ed had covered on Nelson Contracting in Hamilton who aside from operating their contracting business, have
the Tiltman NZ agency, supplying quality Danish-made attachments for 0.8- to
three-tonne excavators.

I recalled reading the article at the time and seeing their advert on the opposite page with an array of useful-looking attachments for sale. This time, though, a 1.5-metre rake attachment featured in the ad caught my eye.

A wise not-so-old sage once told me that there’s a wide range of excavators and other machinery out there in the marketplace and that you could buy almost any one of the many different brands available and come away feeling pleased with your purchase.

But what he said next was the thing that rang the biggest bell. He said that the point of difference in getting new work, aside from any one person’s ability to operate a machine, lies in the specialist attachments that a contractor has in their inventory.

From a personal point of view, I wasn’t particularly looking for an attachment that would make money per se. I was simply looking for a device that would help me stay on top of keeping the yard tidy where I store my collection of old trucks as they wait their turn to be restored.

Periodically, I bring in a load of AP20 crushed concrete to smooth out the tyre ruts that inevitably form, especially during the wet winter months, and I could see that the Tiltman rake could provide a useful alternative to towing a levelling bar behind a tractor.

It also looked as if it would get into some of the tight corners of the bays a whole lot better.
The advert showed that the Tiltman rake had different-sized tines on each side of the bar and that it could easily be turned the opposite way round to act as a means of scraping up tree trimmings and a myriad of other tasks.

After about three weeks of lockdown, I was starting to run short on new ideas of things to play with, so I gave Andrew a call and pretty soon I was the proud owner of a Tiltman rake to attach to my 1.8-tonne digger. I was keen to see the attachment in operation, so I didn’t waste any time modifying it to suit the size of my machine’s hitch before I could put the unit to work.

Level out

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The Tiltman rake in action

The first job up was levelling off some high spots that I hadn’t previously been completely successful with. With the small-tine side in use, I was able to cover a lot more ground than I could have with the wide bucket and the tines seemed to level the surface more easily than if the bar was completely flat.

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Loading up, ready to try out the new surface

The shorter tines being 30mm long allow a small amount of product to trickle behind the rake, thus eliminating that hard, shiny surface that can be produced when using a standard bucket.

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30mm tines were used for spreading AP20 aggregate

I could well imagine the implement coming into its own when laying a lawn, as it would produce the perfect medium for seed sowing.It’d also be a useful tool for smoothing out undulations in paddocks.

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Special hooks allow the rake to be transported outside the bucket

The rake’s transport hooks allow it to be carried outside the bucket, leaving room inside for other attachments to be taken to the worksite, eliminating the need to return to base in order to collect the implement separately.

From small to large: an easy swap

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Where once there were blackberries

While I was working on the yard, my mate Murray noticed the larger set of tines on the other side of the bar and could see a useful way that I’d be able to try out my new possession while at the same time helping him solve a problem that had been on his mind a while.

Murray said that he had a patch of blackberries in a corner of his property where the land they occupied would look a lot nicer planted in some native trees he’d been nurturing in pots.

Keen to not only put the attachment to work on something a bit different but also to see how easy it was to transition from small to large tines, I set about turning the unit over before heading off to the briar patch.

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The two-sided rake has long and short tines for different applications 

While the entire attachment weighs approximately 30kg, turning the rake (which would be no more than 15kg) 180 degrees to use the longer tines is achieved by undoing two bolts to complete the swap. It only took a few minutes and was dead easy.

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Removing the blackberry patch

If the lightness of the unit appears to suggest that the rake might not be robust, a close look at the way it’s constructed should allay any fears one may have on that score. The rake made short work of the blackberry patch, taking me no more than 20 minutes to deal to the approximate 20x3m hedge and place the remains 10 metres away.

On this particular job, I unearthed a number of re-useable rocks, which I was able to separate from the topsoil with considerable ease, as the tines of the rake acted as a sieve, much to the delight of Murray who says he’ll use the rocks as a feature in his new planting.

Verdict

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At the end of the day, I can say that I’m pleased with my purchase, which you will remember was primarily made with my own use in mind. However, I’ve already had one enquiry from someone who has a pile of trimmings he wants shifted, which isn’t bad I guess, given that I’ve only trotted the rake out once to date.

It’s quite ironic when I think that I wasn’t even looking for an attachment in the first place, let alone a tool to make money with. Moreover, it appears that the first commercial use it gets isn’t going to be on the kind of job it was initially purchased for. Funny that!

For more information, visit facebook.com/tiltmannz.    

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