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Longaberger Woven Basket (1999)

You may have noticed that my wife kinda likes baskets. Ok – she's addicted. It's a sickness, and try as I may I can't seem to help her quit.

If you make the pilgrimmage to the mecca of the basket world (Longaberger Headquarters in Dresden, OH) you can even make a basket yourself (for a small exhorbitant fee, of course). It's a great way to understand what goes into weaving baskets, and you get to keep your handywork.

Here's the basket I made:

They provide you with the maple splints and guide you through the weaving process. The splints are peeled off a log similarly to the way plywood laminations are peeled on a big honkin lathe, and then they're trimmed to size (again with knives to minimize waste). The weaving is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. There are verticle splints that meet on the bottom starter-weaving, and you alternate the horizontal splints in front and behind the verticals. The horizontal bands are each two doubled up bands of maple. Occasionally you use a hammer and special tool to tap the horizontals down and remove extra space between the rows. The top bands are then trimmed and tacked on by hand. The handle is a heavier piece of maple that comes pre-bent, and you also hand-tack this onto the basket.

Pretty cool project, and it fits right in with the one or two other baskets that decorate our house…

© Copyright 2006 Chris Billman