Hey, Boo Boo...

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Project by visualj posted 09-26-2017 03:20 PM 1467 views 9 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Okay, how many remember that show…

I was looking for a gift for my niece’s wedding present when I picked up the issue of Woodworker’s Journal with the picnic basket on the cover. Perfect.

Now I am not going to take anything away from Sandor Nagyszalanczy, but there are some things I changed. I don’t have a Domino, so instead of the floating tenon method of joining the corners, I used a miter. I also thought the way he wove the strips in the sides might be a bit difficult to maintain squareness, so I wove the strips, left them long and cut them off square with a tenon saw. I also removed the wheels and the longer handle since I like the traditional look with shorter handles. And lastly, I didn’t like the way he designed the handles. But other than those things, I made it just like the article…

The thing that got me about the project is the fact that he made it out of ash. And I have a bunch of ash in my stack of lumber. The idea of weaving the sides without steaming intrigued me, so I had to try it. I ripped what I thought was enough of the strips for two, but learned a hard way that not all grain bends the way you want. And you have to be very careful with the grain direction when you use a planer with strips that thin. They have a tendency to explode when you hit the grain wrong.

One thing I did follow was to really look at the grain to make sure everything was fairly straight. That meant layout took a bit longer, but it was worth it. Even though it meant that the percentage of waste went up. But since I had a bunch of boards to go through, even that wasn’t a lot.

The way I wove the sides was to glue the verticals in the bottom, then weave the strips and leave them long. Next step was to fit the top of the frame and glue it on to the verticals, making sure it was square. Then I clamped the strip ends together with two strips of wood so that they lined up with a side. I then took a tenon saw and cut them just shy of the end of the tenon.(Sorry, I don’t have a picture of that.) When I had both sides cut, I then glued the two sides on the frame, again making sure it was square and nothing moved.

Once I got the basket all together, I made up a handle. For some reason, I just did not like the way it looked with the woven sides. So I puzzled over that for a day or so. Then I came up with the idea that the sides were woven, why not try to make some laminated handles, the ash bent pretty easily while weaving, right? So I ripped some thinner strips, probably 1/16” or slightly thicker. Certainly thinner than the weaving strips. Made up a form, and tried bending a strip around it. Hmm, nary a split, lets go. I ripped the rest of the strips that I thought I would need and proceeded to try it out. Unfortunately, the only epoxy I could find was 5 minute epoxy, so I had to do each handle in two processes. I could only get 4 strips glued up at a time. The other thing I had an issue with was that I couldn’t keep them lined up properly, but that is why you keep the strips wide, right? Anyway, everything stayed together. Then I pulled out that block plane and spokeshave and got the handles evened out and a bit rounded.

I also took his advice and used a spray waterborn finish. Couple of coats, sanded with 220, a coat of wax, and it was done.

Hope she and her new husband like it.

13 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4611 days

#1 posted 09-26-2017 03:21 PM

Great design and execution. I’m sure they will love it.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View doubleDD's profile


8661 posts in 2556 days

#2 posted 09-26-2017 03:54 PM

I like it. I like it a lot. Looks like it will be on my list. Nice job.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3380 days

#3 posted 09-26-2017 05:24 PM

You have done a beautiful job on this box.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View ohwoodeye's profile


2240 posts in 3667 days

#4 posted 09-26-2017 06:06 PM

Looks really nice.
I have to believe there is some substantial weight to this… least a lot more than a wicker basket.
I hope she don’t have to carry it too far or she will have bulging biceps before the picnic.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View visualj's profile


36 posts in 2064 days

#5 posted 09-26-2017 06:31 PM

Thanks for the complements.

Mike – Actually, it isn’t that heavy, all of the panels are 1/2” or less in thickness. Besides, she has a new husband to carry it around for her. ;)

View ohwoodeye's profile


2240 posts in 3667 days

#6 posted 09-26-2017 08:24 PM

I just reread my comment…......should say…......I hope she doesn’t have to carry etc, etc.
I’m kind of anal about grammar. I’m not sure how that happened.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1289 days

#7 posted 09-26-2017 09:11 PM

Very cool!

View psully's profile


67 posts in 795 days

#8 posted 09-27-2017 02:01 AM

That’s a heck of a “pick-ah-nick” basic- the Ranger would approve. Nice work. Thanks for the write-up and pictures of bending the handles – I’ve always found Ash to be a versatile wood and now I know there’s more you can do with it.

View jeffswildwood's profile (online now)


4061 posts in 2491 days

#9 posted 09-27-2017 11:54 AM

I like this a lot. I bet it really was tough to build. Yogi would have been proud!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View KelvinGrove's profile


2043 posts in 2426 days

#10 posted 09-27-2017 01:21 PM

I think it has passed inspection!

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. If traffic is passing you on the right, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG DAMN LANE.

View visualj's profile


36 posts in 2064 days

#11 posted 09-27-2017 03:55 PM

Again, thanks for the comments. Hey my first Top 3…

psully – I finding out that the more I use it, I like it more and more. Fortunately, I have a pile or two to use.

jeffswildwood – It really wasn’t that difficult, although it did take a while laying out and thicknessing the panels. But for every piece I cut from the rough lumber, I usually got two parts.

View Ivan's profile


15092 posts in 3381 days

#12 posted 09-28-2017 05:24 PM

Outstanding basket with those crossed slats. I like the way you made this handle, very smart.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View ronstar's profile


519 posts in 4224 days

#13 posted 09-28-2017 11:39 PM

Very nice!

-- Ron, Northern Illinois

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