This is a small (4" x 4")
square, open basket of hand-pounded black ash woodsplint. The sides of the basket are
embellished with an applied curl pattern. The body of the basket is woven over a wooden
mold. The inner and outer rims are made of heavy woodsplint and are single lashed to the
- Pocketknife with straight, stiff blade
- Piece of leather approximately 12"
x 12" to cover your knee
- Awl or WeaveRite tool for packing
and for rim lashing
- Clip clothespins or other small clamps
- Water bucket or basin
- Side cutting pliers (Fiskar's or
- Tape measure
- Cushioned stainless steel push pins
- Sharp scissors
- Mold Minder
- Soft Touch sanding pad or fine
- Caliper (optional)
- Shavehorse and drawknife (optional)
- Mold 4" x 4"
When weaving with black ash
woodsplint, you should keep the following things in mind.
- Run your hand along the length of each
splint to check for defects before using.
- Routinely grade out all but the most
minor of defects.
- Determine which side you want to show
to the outside of the basket. Most double satin black ash splint does not have a bad side.
- Most weavers will not require thinning
down (grading) when two overlap at joins. Thin when necessary, so that the two layers do
not create a noticeable bulge.
- When you start a new weaver, overlap
over at least a spoke count of 4 and conceal the ends.
- The splint should be worked dampened
enough to remain flexible, but keep in mind that the splint swells on its width when wet,
so that the wetter you have it, the more it will shrink up as it dries.
- Allow yourself enough time for the
weaving to dry thoroughly before turning down and tucking the spokes, so that shrinkage
will not cause problems.
- Spokes · 18 pcs. - ¼" x 10"
light spoke weight woodsplint
- Wide Weavers · 7 pcs. - 3/16" x
20" weaver weight woodsplint
- Narrow Weavers · 8 pcs. - 1/8" x
20" weaver weight woodsplint
- Embellishment Curl · 2 pcs. -
3/16" light weight woodsplint
- False Rim · 1 pc. - ¼" x
20" weaver weight woodsplint
- Inner and Outer Rims · 2pcs. -
¼" heavy weight woodsplint
- Lasher · 1 pc. 3/32" x 5' weaver
- Dampen and weave the spokes into a 9
element by 9 element square in a checker work (over one - under one) pattern. The square
should match the measurement of the base of the mold.
- Attach the spoke assembly to the end of
the mold with cushioned stainless steel push pins, or tie it securely with waxed linen
thread. Line up the woven square exactly with the dimensions of the mold.
- Upsett the spokes along the sides of
the mold and use a Mold Minder or elastic band to secure them. Be certain that the
spokes are straight up and down along the sides of the mold and are equidistant from one
- If time allows, let the spoke assembly
rest and dry on the mold.
- The Mold Minder can remain on the
top ends of the spokes while you weave the first few rows if you choose to weave
- All the body weavers in this basket are
done in "start-stop" rows, in an "over one-under one" pattern.
- Dampen a 3/16" weaver and weave
the first row. If you have chosen to leave the mold minder on the spokes you will have to
thread the weaver through one spoke at a time.
- Weave tightly to the mold as you weave
around the row. Pack each row well.
- Overlap the end of the weaver for four
spokes and conceal the ends.
- Advance one side to determine the
starting point of the next row. This will avoid having a build up of bulk caused by
overlaps in adjacent rows. I plan to move in the direction which allows the overlap from
the previous row to be covered as I weave the second side of the row I'm working on. This
direction will vary depending on the direction you normally weave.
- After three rows have been completed,
you should be able to remove the band.
- Weave a total of five 3/16" rows.
Embellishment curls will later be added to the fourth and fifth row.
- Narrow weavers (1/8") are woven in
next. Weave in three rows. (This area can be varied, you may choose to use dyed weavers
or more narrower weavers - but there should be an odd number of rows between the curled
pattern bands so that the curls will line up properly).
- Weave in two rows of 3/16" (the
second band of embellishment curls are added to these rows).
- Weave in four rows of 1/8"
- Weave in one ¼" row to form a
false rim. This is the row that the inner and outer rims will be positioned over.
- Remove the basket from the mold.
- Add an embellishment curl to the
3/16" rows. See Figure below.
- Dampen the light weight weaver. Insert
the tail end of the splint behind a spoke on the lower row of the area to be embellished.
Roll a curl into the splint and then insert the leading end of the weaver behind the spoke
in the upper row. Pull the splint through until the curl lies close to the basket body.
- Roll the splint into another curl in
the opposite direction and then insert the splint behind the lower spoke next in
sequence. Continue around the row, alternating the direction of the curl as well as the
upper and lower spoke. (Many variations to the basic curl are possible, but what is
most important is that you are consistent).
- Overlap the splint as you reach the
place where you began the row of curls and conceal and trim off the ends of the splint
- Once the lower band of curl
embellishment is complete, repeat the sequence for the second band of curls on the higher
group of two 3/16" rows.
- When the body of the basket is complete
you should give the spoke ends a trim so that they are all an even height (about an inch
above the false rim).
- Allow the basket body to dry
completely. Repack the rows if they have become loose when dry.
- Fill a basin with just enough water so
that the basket can be turned upside down and set in water that is just deep enough to wet
the spoke ends that are beyond the weaving and the false rim. Allow the spoke ends to soak
until they are flexible, but don't get the weaving wet.
- Turn down each outside spoke to the
inside of the basket and tuck into several rows of weaving.
- Trim off each spoke that is on the
inside of the last weaver, level with the top of the false rim.
- Trim, shape and sand the heavy weight
woodsplint into an inner and an outer rim. The rims should be ¼" wide. They should
have their ends rounded off into a blunt point and thinned so that they do not create a
bulge where they overlap. The edges should be sanded smooth and rounded over on one
- Fit the inner rim to the inside of the
mouth of the basket. Be certain that it fits tightly to the inside of the weaving, leaving
no gaps. Overlap the ends 3". Use small clamps to secure the rim temporarily.
- Offset the outer rim, so that the
overlap is on the opposite of the basket body. Fit the outer rim, making sure that the
overlap is carved or sanded enough so that no extra bulk is formed in the overlap area.
Clamp the rim with small clothes pins.
- Dampen a 3/32" lasher. Secure the
tail end of the lasher just beyond the outside rim overlap. See figure below.
- Single lash around the mouth of the
basket, lashing as tightly as you can. Secure the end of the lasher by inserting the tip
between the outside rim and the weaving from the underside of the outside rim at the last
space between spokes; pull the lasher tightly, then insert the lasher down, between the
weaving and the inside rim. Carefully tighten the lasher so that the end of the lashing is
secured between the weaving and the inner and outer rims.
- Take time to trim off any stray fibers,
or loose ends.
- Sign and date your basket.
For More on Black
Ash Basketry Also See:
Ash Basketry - The Baskets
Black Ash Basketry - The Basketmakers
Black Ash Basketry - Basketmakers Directory
Black Ash Basketry - The Material
Black Ash Basketry - The Process
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