CHRISTMAS GIFT BASKETS #1: Materials Preparation

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Blog entry by stefang posted 10-14-2014 04:51 PM 2109 reads 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of CHRISTMAS GIFT BASKETS series Part 2: Material Preparation (Continued) »

I have made a few of these baskets through the years and they have been very popular with friends and family members. In fact some who got one basket have asked me for a duplicate so they can have extra capacity when they are entertaining. They are very strong, but lightweight and east to pass around at the table. They are not likely to break if you drop them on the floor unless the scrollwork hits a sharp edge.

I have to make two duplicates for Christmas this year, one for my DIL and the other for her mom. They are easy to make, very durable and they can be used year around. My wife and I are still using the original one I made 10 years ago on an everyday basis. I have made some of hardwood and some in pine which I will be using for this project. The reason I’ve used pine is because I can buy the materials already planed and dimensioned without any knots.

I will be making 5 of them altogether so I have some extras on hand and using dimensioned lumber saves me some time and effort. Here’s some photos of what I am building. As you can see there are bow ties which reinforce the corner miters on the top rim. This will in turn reinforce the side miters. I also used bow ties on the two jointed bottom pieces since they are very thin.

A scroll saw is used to cut the design on the sides of the basket, but otherwise this is more like a box project, so you will need some general woodworking skills if you decide to make one. I will include the scroll pattern and the dimensions so you can replicate my design, but please feel free to change it in any way you want.

My main goal here is to introduce you to a great gift idea that lends itself to time saving production methods and it is an item that should be easy to sell at a very reasonable price point too if you are into that.

Here is the pattern. I will try to include a picture that can be printed out in the correct size later if someone will tell me how to do that. Otherwise you will have to figure this out yourself. I will also include the dimensions and angles as I produce them. This pattern is not as detailed as I would use for hardwood and that is because the pine is a bit weaker and therefore less fragile fretwork is more appropriate in this case. The simpler design is also a lot easier and faster to cut which is always good at Christmas time. YOU CAN DRAG AND DROP THIS PATTERN INTO YOUR PHOTO GALLERY AND PRINT IT OUT FULL SIZE.  Below

Materials Preparation
As mentioned before I bought some nice quality pine. The dimensions were 2.1cm thick and 14cm wide. With this size was able to resaw the material for the sides in half and then plane them to a thickness of about 0.6mm. Below

After planing I cut the the sides to length on my miter saw using an auxiliary fence with a stop for accuracy. Below

The cut pieces were just wide enough that I could get two sides from each one by ripping them in half. So I wound up with 5 stacks of 4 sides each. Below

A pattern copy was cut out for each stack to be glued on the top piece for stack cutting. I have cut the sides slightly oversized so that the stacks of 4 sides each can be easily pinned to hold them together for cutting.

This was as far as I got today. Tracing the pattern, printing out the copies and all the wood prep. took 2 hours. Thank you for reading and I hope some of you will give this project a whirl.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

19 comments so far

View Dutchy's profile


1976 posts in 1591 days

#1 posted 10-14-2014 05:26 PM

Nice basket, but also beautiful wood. You can use this wood also for a frame without a knot ;)

-- My englisch is bad but how is your dutch?

View sharad's profile


1108 posts in 3227 days

#2 posted 10-14-2014 06:08 PM

Mike, your long lasting Christmas gift basket is a fantastic piece of work. Thank you for the details with appropriate pictures.
Looking forward for more description on the project. I am in full praise for you for doing such scroll saw patterns requiring lot of patience, at your age. Many of your projects are unique.


-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View johnhutchinson's profile


1172 posts in 1052 days

#3 posted 10-14-2014 06:15 PM

Very nice, Mike. I’m sure that a lot of LJ’s will want to make them. I’ll be anxious to see how you add the bowties.

What you really need for archiving and sharing the pattern is a full-size PDF. I you send me the same photo, with some kind of scale in the shot (like a ruler), I’ll whip one up for you.

My latest “trick” for adhering patterns to stock is Elmer’s School Glue diluted 1:1 with water and then blotted with a paper towel. You don’t want to use Elmer’s Glue-All because it’s too tacky. School Glue is just enough to keep the pattern firmly in place, and it releases with a damp paper towel. You will raise the grain, but it’s easy to knock down with 220.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2757 days

#4 posted 10-14-2014 06:18 PM

Dutchy Thanks. The dimensioned pine is pretty nice. I do resaw it thinner but it is easy to plane with one nice flat side.

Sharad Very glad to hear from you after such a long time. I hope all is well you with my friend. Yes, I’m still making these baskets. They are about the only thing I have made more than one of. It never occurred to me before now to make a blog on how to build them. It will be interesting to see if anyone is actually interested. They aren’t too difficult, but just challenging enough to make the work a little interesting.

John Thanks John That would be very nice of you. I’ll take a pic with a ruler tomorrow. I plan to use hot hide glue for fastening the pattern. It also removes very easily with a little spray of water.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#5 posted 10-14-2014 06:35 PM

Mike your one cool dude ,another great project and blog,and oh yes we are interested! :)

-- Custom furniture

View Druid's profile


1234 posts in 2218 days

#6 posted 10-14-2014 06:45 PM

Nicely done, and the butterfly joints are a nice touch.
Thanks for showing us.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16810 posts in 2528 days

#7 posted 10-14-2014 07:02 PM

Great gifts’ Mike, They will be treasures!!.....................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View johnhutchinson's profile


1172 posts in 1052 days

#8 posted 10-14-2014 07:02 PM

Mike: I really don’t need another picture. Just give me the exact pattern width at the top and bottom, and I’ll take it from there. I can lift the image from your post.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2757 days

#9 posted 10-14-2014 07:06 PM

Ok John. It will have to be tomorrow since the pattern is in the shop.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3098 days

#10 posted 10-14-2014 07:49 PM

Another great blog Mike. Looks like you had work cut out for you ;-) (pun intended, of course) Nice baskets, I can see why they are popular.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1841 days

#11 posted 10-15-2014 12:16 AM

Those are very nice baskets. Wonderful scrollwork. I like the bowtie detail on the bottom. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View sras's profile


4363 posts in 2552 days

#12 posted 10-15-2014 12:23 AM

Looks like a great project Mike!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View johnhutchinson's profile


1172 posts in 1052 days

#13 posted 10-15-2014 01:21 AM

Mike: Here’s where I’m at with the pattern. I took your image into AutoCAD, traced half of it, and then mirrored it about a centerline. It might not be exactly correct, but it IS exactly mirrored. Right now it has no dimensions, but when you give me the length of the top edge, I’ll plot it as a full-size PDF.

I’m guessing that the angle is important, too. What is that angle?

Is there a story behind the pattern? I’m seeing an alien, two bats, and two flowers. :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2757 days

#14 posted 10-15-2014 09:36 AM

Thanks for you comments everyone. I do hope some will try these out and maybe make a few of them. It’s not problem giving these to folks who know each other as they are so useful.

John Thank you. Your rendition looks very professional. The pattern is loosely based on an acanthus plant. This type of pattern has become so stylized over the ions that it has a life of it’s own now, but definitely earth bound. This particular design is my own, though I won’t claim that there is anything unique about it. The ‘Alien’s head’ is an abstracted urn used to ‘grow’ the plant in. Here is a more detailed pattern I designed for hardwood. Again abstracted Acanthus, but with no real logic involved. Your just supposed to love all the curlycues. I’m having my morning coffee/news session, but I will send those dimensions to you at lunch time.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dale J Struhar Sr's profile

Dale J Struhar Sr

442 posts in 2553 days

#15 posted 10-15-2014 10:36 PM

Nice looking basket Mike.

-- Dale, Ohio

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