Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vacation Project (Part I)

So last week was my first week-long vacation in three years.
I stayed at my uncle's cabin on Kelleys Island - three days alone and the rest of the week with my parents since dad starts chemo in a week.

Nineteen years ago, he was into basket-making, and got charmed by Nantucket Lightship Baskets.
He made his first baskets while on vacation at the cabin, and I told him I wanted to learn how (on an island - it only seemed natural).

We started the weekend before I left, ordering supplies, digging out the molds and making the bottoms and ears.

Making the basket bottom

Before you start, you have to whittle down the ribs... he remembered that last time he built a jig and did it on an electric sander... this time all hand done.

Shaping the ribs

So here are the finished ribs, in one of his original baskets, with the mold in the background.

Once the tips are shaped, you soak them and place in a groove in the bottom. We kind of free-handed this, but it turned out well. Then you have to secure the bottom and ribs to the mold... very nitsy work.

Ribs secured to mold

Finally, you have to bend the ribs (while keeping them wet... and evenly spaced... and in the groove) and secure with a band to let them dry to the shape of the mold.

Molding the ribs

More in the next post, Blogger seems to have a photo limit...

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