confused about raking...

Greetings all, I'm new to sculpting in general. I've been watching a lot of the various lessons here and they all mention rake tools and show how to rake your sculpts...
But i guess i'm just thick, I don't really understand WHY you should rake. a lot of times I see people build up some really nice shapes and lines and then just rake them down to detail-less forms again, only to go back in a second time to add in detail. this seems crazy to me. my instinct is to just build up forms and then refine the detail and skip raking altogether. I know this is wrong for some reason but i just don't get why. Can you fine folks give me the dummies explanation for raking? 


  • Hi Andrew,

    Raking is used to smooth out the surface, removing high points and filling in low points.  When you rake, you attack the surface from different angles to even things out as desired.  It's a good way to remove lumps and bulges that can happen as you build up forms.

  • I had the same questions Andrew. Jordu Schell and Don Lanning both explain the process really well in their sculpting videos. When you are roughing in the process leaves depressions and ridges (uneven pressure caused by your fingers or other tools). Raking helps to smooth that out. It's like using sandpaper to bring a rough piece of wood to a smooth finish. A heavy rake knocks down those ridges. The process also fills in the depressions. As you work down to a finer rake you end up with a smooth uniform surface. Like sandpaper, you start with a heavy grit (larger rake tool) and work down to a fine grit (small/fine rake tool). I use a rake on detail to knock out tooling marks. If you go looking for rake tools at a pottery store or online you might have better luck searching for "fleshing tools." Hope this helps.
  • thanks chris, that did help. 
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