Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 2/16/99

A Book Review: by Don Firth

Title: Making Wooden Baskets on your Scroll Saw

Authors: John A. Nelson and William Guimond

Available from
Manny's Woodworking Place

Softcover, 60 pgs, $9.00

When I saw the chance to review a new book by John Nelson, a favourite woodworking author of mine, I jumped at the chance.   "Making Wooden Baskets on your Scroll Saw" is another easy to read and very informative project book by John Nelson.  One of his previous books, The Weekend Woodworker - 101 easy to build Projects, is one of my favourites.

  In this new book, co-authored by John Nelson and William Guimond, the authors show how to make some lovely wooden baskets on your scroll saw.  If that sounds a little odd, you'll be surprised when you see just how easy it is.  The method is basically a procedure of stacking perimeter layers of wood, cut out on your scroll saw, which when assembled (or stacked) become the sides or outer body of your basket, seemingly woven together.  The number of layers and therefore the resulting height, are your choice.

  You are taken through the entire procedure for constructing a simple country scroll sawn basket.  There are however, patterns for many more designs included in this book, but they're all made exactly the same way.  Once you learn the procedure for one, you will be able to make the basket of your choice.

Hardwood is the stock of choice here, like aspen, basswood, or poplar because they cut easily on a scroll saw and have "character".  Trim or colour variations can be added by using  mahogany, cherry, maple, or red oak.  For example, you could use maple for the base, top rim, and handle , and mahogany for the levels of the basket.

The authors recommend leaving the baskets unfinished, however your choice of stain and topcoat can be used for your desired effect.

  Here's how it's done.  After deciding on the size of your basket, enlarge or reduce the pattern elements to the desired size on a photocopier.  If it's possible, have it made in red.  Red lines are easier to follow than black.  Get lots of copies of each element - you'll be using one copy for each layer.  Attach the patterns to the wood with a removable adhesive.

  The base is cut out and the bottom rounded over. There are 2 different elements for the sides - level A and level B - and by alternating any number of these elements, you can produce the desired woven effect.  Each of level A & B are so ingeniusly designed, that when the quantity of each that you choose, are alternately stacked and glued in place, you have your apparently "woven" wood basket.   The authors emphasize the importance of marking each element with an alignment dot.   This is a must for successful completion of this project, but its quite manageable and easy to understand.

  The handle and top rim are cut out, sanded and assembled.  Then this assembly is glued to the top level of the glued stack of basket side elements (the stack of level A's & B's).  This final assembly is then lightly sanded and finished to suit, or left unfinished.

  There are patterns for a number of completely different looking baskets including, a Large Market Basket, a Small Market Basket, an Oval Basket (Brick Pattern), a Small Oval Basket, a Large and Small Round Basket, a Candy Dish, a Square Basket with Two Handles, a Napkin Holder, a Tissue Box, and a Round Basket with Painted Lid (with tips on painting).

  One thing I liked particularily about this book, is that although nothing is left out, the reader can have some input into the final outcome of the project if they desire.  By leaving the final decision on just how many layers to include up to the reader, you feel that you had some creative input, into the project's design.

  The complete and informative text of this book is complimented quite nicely by black and white photography at every step of the way, to illustrate exactly what the authors are saying. 

  Making Baskets on your Scroll Saw is both enjoyable and easy to read.  It explains in a straight forward and informative way how to create these uniquely decorative baskets for your home or as gifts.  Whether they're for yourself or for friends, these projects will be treasured for years to come and you will have learned another woodworking technique which can be easily employed on more of your own creations.  And isn't that the goal for us all in woodworking?

Don Firth

Editor's Note: Don Firth run's Grampa's Workshop. Also, You can visit John Nelson's website to get his books directly.

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