Making a Nantucket Basket
These are the basic steps involved in making an authentic Nantucket Basket!
All baskets start out with a wooden slotted base that is secured to the bottom of a mold. This method dates back to the origin of the Nantucket Basket.
Staves are individually tapered by hand, dampened and then inserted around the mold into the slot of the base. They are held in place to dry with a rubber band. Using cane, the basket is then woven tightly in the standard over and under pattern. After the basket is woven, it is removed from the mold.
This is a purse lid that has been staved also. The lid is woven first and then the staves are dampened and secured with rubber bands to dry around the edge of the mold.
The basket has been removed from the mold and is waiting for its rim.
The rim joins are glued together and then sanded for an almost seamless look. The staves are cut so that they sit down below the level of the rim. For the purse, the rims will be matched and notches will be cut into the rims for the hinges and latch, the hinges will then be nailed into place and then the rest of the rim will be nailed. For a plain basket, the rim would be nailed at this point.
After the hinges are attached and the rim has been nailed, the lid and bottom are now ready to be lashed. Special care is taken to make sure that the lash direction is the same on both the top and the bottom. The basket is engraved on the bottom with the makers signature and the year it was made.
The basket is then given multiple coats of polyurethane to protect it and bring out the beauty of the basket. The wooden handle has been attached with brass pins, bone knobs and washers. A decoration has been added to the lid and the latch peg has been secured to the basket with cording. Finally, a finished Nantucket Basket!
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