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Rake with an air-gun 'puffer' in the handle.
Leaf blowers are loud, and sometimes take as much energy to fill, service and start as the raking chore it replaced.
My guess is that (aside from the manly powertool aspect) the attraction of the leaf blower is that it can dry and lift those wet, sticking leaves that a regular rake might not lift.
Enter the rake (/broom) puffer. In the handle of the rake, a pressurised container of air allows a 'puff' of air to lift the occasional wet, stuck leaf. It can also 'puff' a leaf from under a small space, in a hard-to-rake corner, etc.
The pressure is recharged by pumping a lever that runs along the line of the handle. The whole system works very similar to those weed-sprayer back packs with pump-able recharging, but the design fits neatly along the handle.
Can those plastic air-pressure devices produce significant 'puff' for this purpose?
An illustration -- maybe the recharge handle could be smaller? [not_only_but_also, Jun 07 2005]
||See illustration -- maybe the puffer spout could be longer to get closer to the action, and maybe the recharge handle could be smaller and more compact along the handle.
||Yeah, maybe broom bristles around the puffer. Nice suggestion.
||That would look great in the garage next to my pressure washer/thatch rake !