Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Ash Pack Basket Kits?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by garypete, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. garypete

    garypete LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Does anyone know a contact for buying white ash packbasket kits?

    Or better yet, someone experienced with packbasket construction who could be hired to teach a workshop for several people?
  2. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

  3. woodcanoenut

    woodcanoenut 1914 Old Town Charles River

    Pack basket

    If you are lookling for ash you will probably have to spend close to $300.00
    for the material. Reed is used (a form of bamboo) quite often now and is much cheaper. I weave pack baskets--different styles. I have a basic pattern I use. I could send you a copy. I would love to do an ash basket someday if the cost was cheaper. It is a work in itself to strip the log of splints and get them ready to e=weave.

    Wendy Kimpel
    Warsaw, In
  4. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I saw a demo of ash packbasket making at the Adirondack Museum a few years back. Ash logs are sunk in a pond for a year then beaten to separate the splints at the annular grain. It's very labor intensive and time consuming. Is there a viable alternative to this traditional method?

    The Canadian Canoe Museum is offering a one day workshop for only $150

    See you there?
  5. OP

    garypete LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Alternative to Pounded-Ash Splits?

    My question exactly. Is it possible that sawn and planed straight-grained white ash would work as well as the black ash splits?

    If 4/4 clear white ash boards were ripped to 1/8" thick strips, then run through a planer to end up with dressed 3/32" strips, would those be flexible enough to soak in hot water and weave into a packbasket?
  6. woodcanoenut

    woodcanoenut 1914 Old Town Charles River

    Ash Basket

    Hi Gary

    My bamboo I use is very flexible. It is just under 1/16th of an inch. What you will be using will be very thick. I have two white oak baskets that have been woven--the strips tend to splinter where you need to bend them up.
    You may try the steam method. Maybe if you had a form that would break down when finished you could get good results. I use 3/4" by 1/2" or
    3/4" by 3/8" even 3/4 by 1/4". If you look up Basketmakers of Wisconsin,
    you may find someone who can help. You should try to make one yourself
    to see how it will do. My spokes are 54" and 51" long. The weavers are long strips so I can do continuous weaving. (you must split one of the back spokes to do continuous weaving) Hope this helps.

    Attached Files:

  7. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Ya, I was wondering the same as garypete, since I have a bunch of thin offcuts of various woods (ash, oak, maple) from picture frame making.
    Besides using them for kindling, the only other thing I have experimented with is making them into woven garden trellises, some with canoe tacks clinched at the intersections! I had to try a bunch of woods and pre-drill to find out which ones are prone to split.

  8. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I used to buy ash for weaving chair seats from the H.H. Perkins Company. Tried just now to look up their information on ash, but find I have a "bad gateway" (whatever that means...) but I do recall they had a nice product. I used a very fine drill bit to make an initial hole in the splint-- at those points where it had to be affixed to the chair-- to keep it from splitting.
  9. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I have both black ash (its black ash that’s soaked in a pond and then pounded) and white ash baskets (sawn and split) baskets and black ash is head and shoulders preferable for durability. There are some black ask basket makers around New England, but their products are expensive. I was fortunate to land a lovely black ash basket made by a Maine Micmac for under $100 many years ago.
  10. D_Sabine

    D_Sabine Procrastinator

    Sawn splints?

    "Is it possible that sawn and planed straight-grained white ash would work as well as the black ash splits?"

    I see no reason why sawn and planed splints wouldn't work for weaving pack baskets, as long as they get a good soaking afterwards. Many commercially-produced packbaskets are made from cut splints - often maple, and I presume sliced like veneer. You'll find them for sale at places that sell trapping supplies. The problem with these baskets is their low durability relative to pack baskets built from pounded splints. Because the cut splints cross the grain (as sawn splints will), they break easily, especially on the corners. Less of a concern perhaps, if your basket only sees occasional use, but a trappers pack basket gets some heavy use.

    I recall reading once - maybe in one of the old Foxfire books? - about how oak splint baskets were made. Rather than pounding like ash, the white oak was split and resplit along the grain, by axe and then by knife, until the desired thickness was reached. I suspect these splints would be quite durable as well, but just about as labour-intensive.

    Some years ago I asked a old pack basket maker here in New Brunswick to show me how to make them. All I had to do in return was pound ash logs for a couple of days - they turned out to be looong days. It gave me a lot of respect for the craft, and a better appreciation for the price of a good pack basket. I figured he was undercharging by the time I was through, and he didn't lose any business to me - I haven't made one since:)

  11. Denis M. Kallery

    Denis M. Kallery Passed Away July 3, 2012 In Memoriam

    H.H. Perkins Co. offers many sizes of hand pounded splints as well as sawn ones. They also have a quantity discount. Check it out! They sell them in coils. I think they state the coils are 80 feet. :)
  12. OP

    garypete LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Perkins for Splints

    Thanks Denis,

    I've ordered caning from them for canoe seats but wasn't aware that they handle splints also.


Share This Page