How to make a splint basket.

© per-olof johansson


On the fig. 1 from Allerød 1902 you can see the steps of the production. It was used for advertising -- on its back we find the price list. Later on they used machinery, if they could, and I will try to explain this to some degree. From the left:

    1. We see the axe, with the log ready to be divided in parts and barked.
    2. Two men with the plane, with a part of the log fixed in a carpenters bench, ready to make the splints. This was later replaced by machinery.
    3. A woman with splints and a knife to make the fit for the plaiting in correct breadth. This proces was also eventually replaced by machinery.
    4. A man making the rims or borders, in the same way which they did in yet older days and still today make the splints in Dalarne in Sweden.
    5. A woman making the second part of the plaiting. For the first part, the making or plaiting of the "bottom",see fig.2.

    The bowed side of the splints turned down when you plait the bottom, and turned out, when you "plait up".
    6. A man placing the outer rim, after he has nailed it together.
    7. A woman (my grandmother in this illustration) cuts the splints down to the rim, a little rough, with a sharp, sharp knife!
    8. A man (my grandfather) who placed the inner rim. It is first placed for measuring, then moved out and nailed, placed again, and then you make the four corners of the basket by bending it over a piece of iron. Then you cut the splints down to the rims one more time, and this time carefully, and make sure that the whole basket is nice and o.k. O! they tell about my grandfather, that he counted the corners in German - eins zwei drei - and when he said - vier - then he had already thrown the basket aside. Then the person who would cut along the rims had to make the fourth corner. You do not see this on the picture, because this would be done by one of the persons in the picture who at that time was occupied with a more important part of the process! You do not either see the making of the handle for the same reason. It is made with the same technique as the rims. You could say as three or four splints, which you do not split at one end. The splint baskets were made from pine, which was shipped by railway from Sweden to Denmark, which then was stored in a little lake, as seen on the fig.3,

    because it has to be wet when used. The cleaving of the logs and the barking was made outside or in the open barn next to the lake.

The production itself took place in the factory. When the baskets were made, they had to be dried upstairs, or in summertime in the building you see top left on fig.3, The walls of this building were made by boards placed like half closed Venetian blinds, to allow the wind, but not the light, to get through! I have never seen a house like that. The smell of the drying baskets and a few sun rays through the baskets let the light materialise in the dancing of dust! The splint baskets here described were made in 12 different size -- see the copy of the price list fig. 4

for the dimensions. The basket nr. 3 was the most common and nr. 1 the least common, but I succeeded in finding an example for my collection. In 25 years I think, I have only seen one like this!

Finally, something about other splint baskets. There were other ways of plaiting. One method was called scissors-plaiting. The bottom in this case is often a board. A special kind of splintbasket is not on the price list, because my father did not like to make this basket. It was a round one, and because of my father's success with this in Denmark, they started to make them in Sweden too, and called it the Dane! My father did not like this basket, because it needed much care to make, and he could not get a good enough price for it! In the late 1950's and in the sixties they were very popular and he made them, but did not put them on the price lists! 



It has been very interesting looking for the right terminology in English, and I hope I succeeded so far, so that the reader understands the facts behind! I would be happy for corrections!
Snail-mail: Per-Olof Johansson, DK-3450 Allerød, Denmark.

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Per-Olof Johansson, DK