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Lawn lutes - why so expensive? Anyone made their own?

Discussion in 'Home and Garden' started by Participant, 20 Oct 2018.

  1. Participant

    Caporegime

    Joined: 13 May 2003

    Posts: 32,151

    Location: Warwickshire

    Hi all. I've got my eyes on a lawn lute for levelling as they work much better than landscape rakes / ladders / crates and whatever other bodge. This is a lawn lute:

    [​IMG]

    The canals catch small stones when the soil is being worked.

    However they're bizarrely expensive for what appears to be a wooden handle and a few bars of sheet steel. That sort of thing ^ is ~£130 whereas a landscape rake is ~£20.

    I'm thinking of trying to make my own somehow, but I don't have a welder. I have HSS drill bits but don't know where to start.

    There's nothing second hand on gumtree or eBay. Seems like a gap in the market to me, albeit fairly niche.

    Has anyone attempted to make their own or got tips on the best way to work top soil into a lawn so that it's really level? A ladder on string doesn't really work as it's not flat and you can't push it.

    Maybe I should just suck it up and buy one :(.
     
  2. Sin_Chase

    Capodecina

    Joined: 13 Jan 2004

    Posts: 20,581

    Quick search finds some DIY YouTube videos and lutes for sale at around 50-60 quid.
     
  3. Kaka

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 11 May 2004

    Posts: 1,430

    Location: Curitiba

    It might be easier making one using joined pipes if you have minimal tools and going down the DIY route. Might not be as effective but would still do a good job.

    45 seconds in.
     
  4. Participant

    Caporegime

    Joined: 13 May 2003

    Posts: 32,151

    Location: Warwickshire

    ^ Sounds like he bought that product, not made it? Looks like a good way to attempt a DIY though if that's what you meant.

    Links please. I've seen some plastic PVC DIY vids and some where welding is required. Can't find any lutes for £50-£60.

    Edit - found a 28" one on eBay:

    [​IMG]

    I might even have a spare handle in the garage somewhere. No idea how I missed that before. That's cheap enough that I probably won't muck about trying to make one myself. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: 20 Oct 2018
  5. russell_s82

    Associate

    Joined: 23 Aug 2019

    Posts: 5

    I know this is late and the OP already bought one on ebay but I recently (July-Aug 2019) decided to redo my back lawn from scratch and had a need for a lawn lute. I don't like buying tools just to use once, nor renting tools at a cost close to purchase price, so I decided a garden roller was a no-go. I thought about a landscape rake (a friend had one I could borrow) but all my research told me it's just not as good as a lawn lute. Like the OP, I was put off by the high prices for what looks rather basic, so I came up with this make-shift DIY design, which ended up costing £44.82.
    [​IMG]
    https://imgur.com/DWFASyR

    [​IMG]
    https://imgur.com/TytQr60

    This was a first attempt and it works well. I'm pleased with it but if I were to make a second one I would buy slightly more expensive L-shaped plates (outer rectangle border) as the ones I bought are slightly thinner, and has more flex, than the U-shaped plates in the middle, which are very solid. This would increase the total cost to £50.82.

    I bought the metal plates, nuts and bolts from Screwfix, the broom handle from ToolStation (5' x 1 1/8"), and the 27mm diameter swivel hinge off ebay.
     
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2019
  6. alexakasloth

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 13 Aug 2004

    Posts: 7,869

    Location: Newhaven, Sussex.

    Could use epoxy resin in this instance instead of welding, should give a good enough bond.
     
  7. russell_s82

    Associate

    Joined: 23 Aug 2019

    Posts: 5

    No welding was done. I just drilled holes and connected all the pieces with M5 nuts and bolts (and washers for the swivel hinge).
     
  8. Participant

    Caporegime

    Joined: 13 May 2003

    Posts: 32,151

    Location: Warwickshire

    Generally flimsy still or generally plenty robust enough?
     
  9. russell_s82

    Associate

    Joined: 23 Aug 2019

    Posts: 5

    Definitely not flimsy. Plenty robust enough for pushing soil, compost, sand around for levelling purposes...however, as mentioned in my first post, if I were to make again I would use slightly more expensive/solid L-plates for the outer rectangle border, i.e. I would go with the same material as the middle U-plates, because there is a little flex, which is not really noticeable when using...only when bending by hand...but it is for this reason I probably wouldn't use my current lute to push a pile of pure 20mm+ stones/chippings around...not that I planned to but the stones would most likely dent the L-plates.

    Finally, two things I forgot to mention:
    1. Dimensions: 1m/39.37" (w) x 0.5m (l). The 40" Deluxe lawn lute on pitchcare.com is the largest push handle lute I've seen online so I've effectively matched it in width and doubled it in length for £44.82, versus its £144 cost to buy.
    2. Cost: Going with 2 U-plates instead of 4 (like the 40" one on pitchcare.com) saves £10.98. So really you can build a £144 lawn lute for less than £34...or rather, less than £40 when factoring in the +£6 for the stronger L-plates.
     
  10. Mercenary Keyboard Warrior

    Capodecina

    Joined: 4 Aug 2007

    Posts: 12,612

    Location: Wilds of suffolk

    Interesting I need to level my lawn somewhat and was trying to avoid a roller as that compacts, will check this out a bit more!
     
  11. russell_s82

    Associate

    Joined: 23 Aug 2019

    Posts: 5

    You may also find this video interesting: https://youtu.be/UmMDCsIPkS0?t=330 (5:30 onwards). He didn't use a lute, just a landscape rake and...wait for it...a wide broom at the end. The broom is interesting and something I plan to incorporate in the future after initially levelling with my lute. Btw...this guy knows his stuff when it comes to lawn care.
     
  12. Mercenary Keyboard Warrior

    Capodecina

    Joined: 4 Aug 2007

    Posts: 12,612

    Location: Wilds of suffolk

    Yeah thanks, I looked a few up after this topic and decided to knock something up myself. Its heading to lawn maintenance time for me and I have some bits that need fixing. I decided to just attach a piece of wood to a broom or something for this season.
    Looking at the lute some people just use wood so seems its really just a way of dragging the surface soil around. Obviously the larger the surface area of the lute the larger the area it will level. I watch a video where two guys were dragging one must be about 2m or more across, was on a bowling green or something like that. I need to start smallish I think on my lawn and maybe work up maybe every 6 months (spring and autumn law care season) as I would be leaving some pretty massive piles of soil I think if I went for a big lute to start.

    I want to have a play, I have a similar issue at the allotment when trying to level beds after digging, a normal rake takes ages, something like this may do the job a lot faster
     
  13. russell_s82

    Associate

    Joined: 23 Aug 2019

    Posts: 5

    For completeness, and because someone asked me directly, here's my parts list:

    SCREWFIX:
    • 1 x Easyfix Steel Large Flat Washers M5 x 1.2mm 100 Pack (871FT)£2.99
    • 1 x Easyfix Roofing Bolts M5 x 20mm 10 Pack (3442J)£1.09
    • 1 x Easyfix Roofing Bolts M5 x 30mm 10 Pack (6194J)£1.59
    • 3 x Alfer Anodised Aluminium Equal Angle 1000 x 15 x 15mm (3085P)£11.97 **NOTE: I recommend NOT using this. I recommend part 8361P instead**
    • 4 x Alfer Raw Aluminium U-Profile 1000 x 19.5 x 11.5mm (1370P)£23.96 **NOTE: You could make do with just 2 U-plates to save cost, HOWEVER if you do, test the shorter length with some scrap metal/wood/etc connecting the top and bottom 1000mm L-plates BEFORE cutting the final L-plate (to make the left/right sides) because 1) the shorter length may be less stable, i.e. prone to flipping over, and 2) once you cut the L-plate it's a lot harder to uncut, unless you are a welder**
    TOOLSTATION:
    • 1 x Wooden Broom Handle 5' x 1 1/8" (30010)£1.98
    EBAY:
     
  14. Participant

    Caporegime

    Joined: 13 May 2003

    Posts: 32,151

    Location: Warwickshire

    That's great thanks so much for this.

    I didn't buy the eBay lute in the end and have been procrastinating about it for this season's lawn care.
     
    Last edited: 4 Sep 2019
  15. Participant

    Caporegime

    Joined: 13 May 2003

    Posts: 32,151

    Location: Warwickshire

    @russell_s82

    Do you mind providing a close up of how you attached the angles to each other, from above and below please? I can't work out how you made the angles flat with the ground when there are presumably nuts protruding from the bottom?
     
  16. Codejam

    Associate

    Joined: 8 Oct 2019

    Posts: 1

    First, thanks @russell_s82 - this is great info.

    I believe the cross plates are laid on top of the angle brackets with the bolts pushed up from underneath. L plates either side, U plates between them (inside the L), bolted from the bottom of the L with the bolt head on the floor.
     
  17. Participant

    Caporegime

    Joined: 13 May 2003

    Posts: 32,151

    Location: Warwickshire

    Cheers.

    In the end I ordered a welded one from pitchcare.com for £150 :o. 2 week lead time on them apparently.
     
  18. Kaz Kassam

    Associate

    Joined: 4 Oct 2019

    Posts: 1

     
  19. Participant

    Caporegime

    Joined: 13 May 2003

    Posts: 32,151

    Location: Warwickshire

    Mine has arrived:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Seems pretty well built (as you'd expect for the utter bending over you get for buying it). Going to give it a run out tomorrow as I have two tonnes of topsoil to get down on the lawns.

    Importantly the slats are level with the frame, i.e. it's all flat where it will contact the soil.
     
  20. Dhutch

    Associate

    Joined: 15 Sep 2005

    Posts: 6

    Good work, I am currently looking and the same thing myself, the lawn is currently not really flat enough to warrant it (ie you could make it a lot better by eye just shoveling it into the hollows) and I am not really aiming for more than a nice family lawn, but you have to start somewhere?

    Currently the same item (35" wide, about 10" deep) is £160 plus £15 delivery. Which is sort of mad money, but also if making it professionally as they are with overheads and wages etc, you couldnt make it for much less
    https://www.pitchcare.com/shop/levellers-and-lutes/levelawns.html?

    Daniel