my, what semi-perfect ears you have…

For some reason, I have always referred to these things as “ears” – musta heard that term somewhere. They are the bits that a swing-handle fits on for a basket. I make them from white oak or hickory, white oak is the 1st choice. Those on the right in this photo are semi-perfect; those on the left are perfect; the middle ones might make it, they might not. They tore up on the outside of the bend. Might be enough wood to shave away & still have something left behind. Bending white oak basket stuff is what I did today; after running around doing chores first. 

semi perfect ears

I didn’t take shots of the process – it’s too hard to do it & shoot it too. This photo shows some ears and other handles. I rive & shave them from green wood, then steam them in a steambox, a pretty simple one I cobbled together back in my windsor chair days. 

handles & ears

 

Here’s an un-bent ear; for an idea – these are 3/8″ squares; the shaved portion is 3″ long. Quite small. 

unbent ear

 

 

Here’s my newest swing-handle basket = a big one, about 14″ in diameter; about 10″ high to the rim. White ash & white oak. 

 

 

swing handle basket

This style of swing handle is one I learned from a book – The Legend of the Bushwhacker Basket, by Martha Wetherbee & Nathan Taylor

Here’s mine with the handle propped up, as it will be in use…

 

swnig up

And here are the ears in detail; they cross the basket from inside to outside; and fit in a hole bored in the handle. Then the ears are notched, and the rims fit into the notches inside & out. the ends of the ears are shaved thin, and slide under the basket’s weaving. Then the lashing binds it all together. 

installed ear & lashing

installed ear

 

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7 thoughts on “my, what semi-perfect ears you have…

  1. Really impressive, beautiful work. Thanks again for sharing and dame I wish i had more spending money.. But plenty others do! Thankfully.:)

  2. Jennie here
    Peter, this book is remarkable. As you say Rachel Nash Law
    lives in a basket house.
    Appalachian White Oak Basketmaking: Handing Down Basket Paperback – April 1, 1991
    by Rachel Nash Law (Author), Cynthia W. Taylor (Contributor)
    Jennie Alexander

  3. Nice Peter. They are typically called “ears” or “staples” or sometimes even “castles”. One way to get a nice matched pair is to carve the center section out from a double wide blank. Once you have that scooped out the way you wish, divide the blank into two equal widths. Voila. Two perfectly matching handle blanks ready to bend to shape.

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