Mr. Rebates

Split Whiteoak Basket Making

Westville's woodwright, Fred, shows us how to make a split white oak basket in this video. In very rapid motion (the first part of this video has been sped up) Fred goes from spitting the oak flitches with a froe and mallet, to then cleaning up the oak strips with a side axe. Once this has been done the film slows down and it's time to start cleaning up the strips with a pocket knife.

Each piece is thinned down and then squared up, and any piece with a knot in it is usually put aside and used for other parts, depending on the severity of the knot. Each piece is then halved again, starting with a knife split, then working downwards with the hands. Great care must be taken at this stage to make sure that the piece doesn't break.

Once again the pieces are split down the middle and even more care is needed as both halves are increasingly fragile by this stage. When a sufficient amount of strips have been prepared it is time to begin assembling the basket.

The strips are laid out on the ground with their centers dissecting each other -- much like the way a spoked wheel appears. A smaller and thinner strip is then carefully shaped and interwoven in and out of each radiating oak strip. Once this is done, another layer of oak strips are laid out with their centers dissecting each other, and the process of interweaving is again repeated.

After this has been completed, each alternating strip is then bent over and flattened until all strips have been done. More strips are then added and interwoven to form the sides of the basket.

The video ends rather abruptly and no finished basket is shown, though the viewer gets a good idea of how the overall process works. However, having said that, it would have been nice to see how the finished product looked.

Making baskets out of white oak has a long tradition in America, where the native inhabitants would make a variety of different styles of basket for their own use or for trading with others.

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25 Responses to Split Whiteoak Basket Making

  1. moofasa1211 on December 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    who da faaaaa put that damn music over what he is saying,

  2. brokenshackles101 on December 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Great basket!! Lack of a finished product was a little disapointing though. Get rid of the music. Lets hear him speak!!!

  3. MaxSafeheaD on December 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Music is too loud to hear what he is saying =(

  4. toolinmaine on December 11, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    tha fuck? no finished product after all that. Get rid of the music so we can hear what the man has to say./

  5. 22acrobles on December 12, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Awesome, but mute it. Sadly you can’t hear his voice over the cheesy background music.

  6. AaronsEve on December 12, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Thank you for sharing.

  7. meatpuppet29 on December 12, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Awesome vid , loose the music tho , it would be much nicer to here him talk .

  8. k9wyre on December 12, 2010 at 12:59 am

    A very talented man in this video. He must be one of a small handful of people that still have this knowledge. I very much enjoyed the video but would have liked to hear the narrative of the man doing the work. A man that good with his hands needs to be heard to pass this master craft on to others. Excellent video.

  9. tydieUAE on December 12, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Wow that’s pretty amazing to watch the wood being spit into such thin strips.

  10. hypergirl19408 on December 12, 2010 at 2:42 am

    your incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!! that guy is amazing. great job

  11. jammymum on December 12, 2010 at 3:25 am

    cool vid – cool music, I personally thought guitar went well with this video, considering half of what was said was probably not coherent anyway.

  12. shas1814 on December 12, 2010 at 4:00 am

    Let us hear the craftsman!

  13. TheMrsVolfie on December 12, 2010 at 4:47 am

    get rid of the music so we can hear what he is saying! This guy is amazing!

  14. whackitov on December 12, 2010 at 4:59 am

    lol! i see so many complaining about the music, and wanting to hear whats being said. well i had no trouble hearing him speak, but most importantly i could SEE what he was doing, i dont think i saw anything there that needed too much explanation anyway.
    great video, great music!
    some whingebags want it all on a plate!

  15. Skabberdoodle on December 12, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Where is this place?

  16. NotLuckyInLife on December 12, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Excellent video and it will last for quite some time as well and is better than other natural fibers from smaller shrubs. Thank you for the video.

  17. konskazwala on December 12, 2010 at 6:52 am

    fucking 11 minutes and it didn’t show the final effect!!!

  18. HomoGnosticus on December 12, 2010 at 7:43 am

    guy has great skills but video sucks

  19. blackpowderbill on December 12, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Get rid of the lame music!!

  20. dirtTdude on December 12, 2010 at 8:34 am

    i couldn’t hear him…

  21. oldtimeway1 on December 12, 2010 at 8:36 am

    wish y’all would post this again without the music so I can listen to the man a making the basket.

  22. karachisay on December 12, 2010 at 9:33 am

    pakistan !

  23. BobbyIronsights on December 12, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Me too.

  24. krglongbourn on December 12, 2010 at 11:22 am

    `reallybueatiful basket. where can one buy these???

  25. MrPinolo on December 12, 2010 at 11:37 am


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