Back in 2020 when we were all at home wondering what to do, I made some videos about making ash baskets. Just recently someone either wrote to me or saw me somewhere & said “Oh, I loved watching your videos on basket-making…” and I was instantly apologetic for never finishing that series!
So now, 2 years later, I got a chance to shoot a short video about lashing the rims and handles on a woven basket. Better late than never. Here it is, I lashed new rims and handles on a laundry basket I made years ago.
If you scroll back to the main page where my youtbue videos are, there’s a section called “playlists” and the basket ones are collected there in a folder called Making Ash Baskets or something like that.
I have some baskets & a few pieces of oak furniture for sale.
The furniture is all joined & carved by hand. Almost all the oak was split from a log, hewn & planed, etc. (except for the box lid and chair seat – those are quartersawn stock) Construction details are throughout the blog here, in my videos w Lie-Nielsen and books with Lost Art Press.
The carved box I can pack & ship. The larger pieces I will have to take somewhere (UPS probably) to be packed & shipped. Or I can deliver them within a couple hours’ drive of Kingston MA. (or you can come pick them up if you wear a mask…)
The baskets are all ash, with hickory rims & handles. There’s videos on the blog recently, showing all the steps in making baskets, from pounding the log apart, weaving, (and next up for the videos) shaving and bending handles & rims.
If you’d like to purchase anything, leave a comment here or send an email firstname.lastname@example.org you can pay through paypal (with additional fees) or send a check. Just let me know which you prefer.
The carved box is the only one ready for sale right now, but I have two more underway, and will take orders for boxes anytime. They’re something I keep stock for all the time, so there’s never too long a wait for one. Email me if you’d like to order something.
Thanks as always,
CARVED OAK BOX –
white & red oak, white pine bottom.
H: 8 1/2″ W: 23 3/8″ D: 13″
$1,050 includes shipping in US.
This pattern is often found on 17th-century work – a surprising amount of detail in small spaces. (the bottom photo shows the detail well…)
Glued & pegged at the corners, bottom nailed on w handmade nails. Handmade hinges as well. A lidded till inside.
JOINED & CARVED CHEST
red oak & white pine. Handmade hinges & nails. Lidded till inside.
H: 30 1/2″ W: 45″ D: 21 1/4″
$4,000 plus shipping.
I was recently trying to estimate how many joined chests I’ve made. It’s well over 60. This is one of my favorites – the wide front panels separated by an extra-wide muntin is an unusual format. I based mine on a Devon chest I saw 20 years ago, and have seen others presumably by the same maker since then in photographs. Back when I was writing my book, I wanted to include a short detour on making the “brackets” that fit under the bottom rail. So I made this chest just to get the photos for the book! Then it sat around unfinished for years. Now it’s done, and there’s no room in the house for it. Room for your (or someone’s) initials or date on the muntin…
Here it is with junk piled on it:
I cleared out some room in the shop today to take “proper” photographs (as proper as I’m going to get…) – but there’s only room for the 53″ wide paper, and the chest is 45″ wide. Technically, it fits on the paper, but not for a photo…so here is what I call a “half-view” –
The lidded till inside, and the handmade hinges visible in the rear rail.
The only way it fit, but you can’t see the front. Two-panel ends, typical of my chests. Single-board white pine lid.
One of the panels in this chest:
red and white oak. Finial is ash.
H: 47 1/2″ W: (widest point across front of seat) 25 1/2″ D: c. 24″ Seat height: 18 1/2″
$4,000 plus shipping
I’ve made versions of this chair three times before. This one I designed the panel as well as the top rear rail, just below the crest. Otherwise, it’s a close copy to two originals made in Ipswich Massachusetts, probably by Thomas Dennis, between the late 1660s and 1700.
Sometimes it seems from photos that these chairs are huge, there’s a shot in this gallery of me in the chair & you’ll get a sense of its actual size.
BASKETS – All of these are ash splints, with hickory handles and rims. Most, maybe all, have hickory bark lashing around the rims. These baskets are made for use; I’ve been using baskets like these around the shop and house for over 30 years.
If you’d like to purchase one, leave a comment here. Prices include shipping in the US – you can pay through paypal or send a check. Just let me know which you prefer.
large round basket –
14″ diameter at rims, basket height 9″ to handle 18″
$600 including shipping in US.
rectangular basket – SOLD
10″ x 13″ at rims; basket height is 8″, to handle about 15″
$400 including shipping in US.
Swing-handle round basket – SOLD
12 1/2″ – 13″ diameter at rims; basket height 8 3/4″, overall 16″ high.
$500 including shipping in US.
This form is a favorite of mine, based on baskets made in eastern New York state in the early 20th century.
long rectangular basket SOLD
10″ x 16 1/2″ at rims, basket height 6″, to handle 14″
$400 including shipping in US.
square-to-round basket SOLD
10″ diameter at rims, basket height 9″, to handle 17″
$350 including shipping in US.
This one took some effort. It had been a while since I looked at the video footage I had of the next step in basket-making. And there were some holes in the sequence. So this one might be a bit choppy, maybe too long in some places and too short in others, but such as it is, here’s the last steps in weaving the basket.
Last week was basket week – and today I’ve started some new work, but I’ll show you what I did last week. Basket work will go on, but as a time-filler. I have enough baskets woven, or started, that I can pick them up here & there for an hour or two. Like many woodworking projects; most of the effort in basket-making is preparing the materials. I have written before about pounding the splints from an ash log – here’s links to old posts on the subject. I have some new posts coming up about peeling the splint, but in the meantime…
But right now, this post is about weaving up the basket bodies. Handles and rims are for another time. The basket itself is made up of the uprights and weavers. “Uprights” is something of a misnomer, because although they bend up to be the sides of the basket, they also form the bottom.
Uprights are generally heavier (thicker, and wider most often too) and weavers thinner and narrower. So a big part of the work is sorting and sizing the material.
If the splint is too thin to divide (or peel) then I scrape it smooth. This makes it less fuzzy, and also thins it some. Better for weaving. These pieces are uprights in the basket. To scrape it, I pull the splint across a piece of leather on my knee – then hold the knife in place to scrape it as I pull back…don’t do it w/o the leather! My them braces the knife blade so it stays stationary.
Then you have to trim them to the desired width. The baskets I was working on last week had around 25-30 uprights. Round baskets have 16, another time. those pictures are on a different camera.
Once you have all your uprights and weavers; you lay them out, this basket has long and short weavers; to form a rectangular bottom. I start with 3 going each way, and weave them one under the other, this way & that. Then add pieces side to side, and north & south. Here, I am weaving a single thin weaver around the perimeter of the basket’s bottom. This binds them together, keeps them from shifting around as I begin weaving the body. Some refer to this piece as a “keeper” – it keeps the uprights in place.
Some baskets have independent weavers – each horizontal row is a separate weaver. This is easy to do, but wastes a lot of material. So there’s lots of ways to weave a continuous spiral around the basket. But to do this and keep alternating where the weaver goes under and over the uprights, you need an odd number of uprights. You can split one, or add one. (or do one of several other approaches – but I usually split or add) – Here I added an upright, and tapered it to become the first weaver too. It’s towards the upper right hand corner of the photo – follow that bendy upright, and you see it weaves into the others. Then you just keep adding & overlapping each new weaver as one runs out. I overlap them for 2 uprights.
Then you just keep on weaving. I periodically dunk everything in the water, especially outdoors in summer. I want this stuff damp. Once I’ve gone around a bit, I gently bend things up and then cinch the weaver in tight as I go.
A basket like this has an “open” bottom – there are spaces between the uprights. That’s the most common form I make. but there is one we have around the house that is closed or “filled” in the bottom.
Next time I’ll show you how I lay that up.
Don’t forget – the spoons are posted and ready to go. The spoon rack I had sold, and one reader asked if I would make another – of course I will! Anytime you see something like that – if you missed it, and would like to order one, I’d be happy to oblige. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-august-2014/
The spoons, a frame-and-panel and one spoon rack for sale now – the top of the blog, or this link. . https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-august-2014/ If you’d like to order something, leave a comment. I can send a paypal invoice, or you can send a check. As always, I appreciate everyone’s interest in my work.
Meanwhile, but here’s today’s blog post. I have some stuff underway that I haven’t put on the blog much, because I haven’t made more than a few baskets a year in 2 decades. This is the scene these days. Baskets, and more baskets. I used to make these a lot, before there was joinery. It really is exciting to explore them again; but I’m having to re-learn stuff I used to know pretty well. Today I had to make a slitting tool too, to slice up the narrow horizontal weavers. I’ll shoot it tomorrow when I use it again. I had one once, but it got lost in the shuffle 20 years ago I guess.
I decided to dedicate a whole week, maybe more, to making baskets. It’s been so long since I made more than one or two…and the only way it’s going to come back to me is for me to do it over & over.
Earlier in the week, I was shaving and bending some white oak for handles & rims. I’ll fit those on this weekend. I like the white oak even better than hickory for bending. The King of Woods, Daniel O’Hagan used to say…