Christmas Gift Baskets

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Project by stefang posted 12-11-2012 04:00 PM 2401 views 6 times favorited 39 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These baskets are in fact the only woodworking project that I have made more than one of. These are made of Linde wood which is the European version of Basswood. Fantastic for carving with very little grain showing and also pretty light weight, two characteristics which make this a great wood for basket making. Easy to pass around and the scroll sawn pattern shows up well.

I started off with a plank about 3” thick which I cut into about 1/4” thick slabs and then handplaned smooth. The top rim is a flat frame with mitered corners reinforced with small butterfly inlays and with a 15 degree cut on the outside edges.

The sides are cut with compound miters to give them a 15 degree flair and the top and bottom edges are also cut at 15 degrees to make the top and base flat for gluing on the rim and the base frame. The bottom frame is cut to the same angle to mirror the sides while flaring in the opposite direction.

Pretty easy. I glue up the sides first using masking tape to clamp with. The top rim and base are cut to length (with miters) based on measurements from the glued up sides. The frames are glued up separately and the butterfly mortices are thru-cut on the corners of the rim. The frames are then glued to the sides after the glue is dry on the 3 components. I just use rub joints on these then I wrap masking tape around the whole thing just to be on the safe side. No real stress involved here.

The finish is just 3 coats of spray can lacquer (1 hour drying time with light sanding in between coats). I still have two more coats to go on these. They will be sent in the post tomorrow which is the deadline for packages to Sweden.

The design, including the scroll saw pattern, is my own (for better of worse). I’ve made 3 of these so far as Christmas gifts, and they are all used on a regular basis by various family members. These two are headed to our extended ‘new’ family in Sweden.

Instead of cutting the compound miter angles with two settings on my miter saw, which is difficult to set accurately, I rip a 12” long piece of pine at 15 degrees on one edge to use as a utility fence with the 90 degree side against my MS fence so I can just place the workpieces against it to produce the 15 degree angle and then just cut a regular 45 degree miter with only one miter saw setting. The utility fence is placed with the narrow edge at the bottom for cutting the sides and the wide edge at the bottom for cutting the base.

I made the first basket of this type about 6 or 7 years ago in response to the woven baskets we normally used disintegrating after a year or two of use. We are still using it on a daily basis as a bread basket for breakfast and lunch. It’s easy to keep toast or buns warm when we use it with a decorative kitchen towel as show in one of the photos above. These would also be great as candy dishes, etc. I have posted the other baskets I made, but these have new patterns and I also wanted to remind everyone what great Christmas gifts these are.

I’ve been away from LJ for awhile now laid up with a bad back and knee. I found it frustrating to just read what my buddies and others were doing while I couldn’t actively participate myself.

I will be catching up on all the projects and blogs posted by all my buddies during my absence and commenting on them too. Meanwhile I’m glad to have something to post to get started up again and I’m looking forward to enjoying having a dialog with you once again.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

39 comments so far

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3193 days

#1 posted 12-11-2012 04:06 PM


Lots of little details here, and you executed them all nicely! I especially like the addition of the butterflies on top.

Glad to hear you’re back in the saddle and will be able to more actively participate in the LJ community.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3446 days

#2 posted 12-11-2012 04:14 PM

all right mike, back in the saddle again, good to see you and your work, these are really nice, i like the little Dutchman on each corner..its a nice touch and good joinery..glad to see you up and around..i send my best wishes…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View patron's profile


13630 posts in 3483 days

#3 posted 12-11-2012 04:15 PM

glad to see you back mike

and with another great project

you make this easy to follow
which i like

merry christmas to you and yours

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3056 days

#4 posted 12-11-2012 04:22 PM

It looks like some great scrolling to me! Very nice indeed!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Brit's profile


7460 posts in 2985 days

#5 posted 12-11-2012 04:26 PM

Missed you Mike. I haven’t been posting much either due to work, but I hope to get a bit in around Christmas and New Year. Your baskets are amazing. Functional, beautiful and built to last. What more could you ask for?

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View stefang's profile


15944 posts in 3476 days

#6 posted 12-11-2012 04:32 PM

Jonathan, Grizz, David, Mike, and Brit, good to hear from you all and the warm welcome back too! I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve all been up to the last couple of months.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View a1Jim's profile


117232 posts in 3719 days

#7 posted 12-11-2012 04:42 PM

Hey Mike good to see you back we can all sing a couple verses of hello dolly (substituting Mike for Dolly)
Your great craftsmanship shines through once again with these extra fine baskets . I hope you and your family have a great holiday season.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MShort's profile


1791 posts in 3561 days

#8 posted 12-11-2012 04:52 PM

Sorry to hear about the back and knee Mike. Glad you making it back. Your project is WONDERFUL !!!!

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2316 days

#9 posted 12-11-2012 05:31 PM

Excellently done!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3879 days

#10 posted 12-11-2012 05:38 PM

Hi Mike,

Sorry to hear about your health problems. Hope you are feeling better.

You did a great job on the basket. I like those butterfly dovetails.
I just happen to have a commercial butterfly making machine and , with your permission, would like to have a try at your basic basket design. Without the scroll designs. I don’t have time right now to do all of the scrolling.

Take Care, John

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 2497 days

#11 posted 12-11-2012 05:43 PM

Really beautifull. So intricate.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View SPalm's profile


5322 posts in 4024 days

#12 posted 12-11-2012 05:46 PM

Hey buddy, take care of yourself.
That basket looks just wonderful. Good job!

I agree with the compound miter solution. That is how I’d do it.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View hunter71's profile


3249 posts in 3329 days

#13 posted 12-11-2012 06:32 PM

Wow, neat design.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View stefang's profile


15944 posts in 3476 days

#14 posted 12-11-2012 06:38 PM

Thanks Jim, Mike, Surfside, John, Tololosi, and Steve.

John Please feel free to copy anything of mine you like. I don’t blame you for not wanting to use the time for the scrolling, I used 6 hours for each basket! I also found out what a difference blade quality can make. I used my usual blades on the first basket and got nice smooth easy to control cuts, then I used different brand on the 2nd basket and they were miserable to use!

My 1 hour lacquer took 6 hours to dry even though I had them in the house for the last 4 hours. I probably sprayed too thick a coat. I also found some glue spots that I missed so I sanded them out and just sprayed the 2nd coat. There is a good possibility that I might not get to the 3rd coat as they have to be mailed tomorrow! Wish me luck.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile


8086 posts in 2940 days

#15 posted 12-11-2012 06:47 PM

Good to see you back Mike. We’ve missed you.
Rub joints…... are you using your new glue pot?
Very nice baskets. Have you tried stack cutting the sides?

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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