Making an ash splint pack basket

Ash splint pack basket
This week I’ve been working on a new ash splint pack basket commission and took a few photos along the way to show the process.

The weaving is a very simple over-one, under-one weave – all the emphasis is on matching the weight of the weavers and altering the tension to create the correct shape.
ash splint basket weaving

As the weaving continues, I let it dry and pack down the weavers. As it dries, the ash splint shrinks so without this packing, the weave would be loose and weak.
ash splint basket making

Once the desired height is reached, I trim the uprights and split them so they can be turned down and tucked into the weavers to lock them in place.
ash splint basket making

Here is the shape I want, a full-bellied basket with a tight base and short straight section up to the rim, all achieved by changing the tension in the weaving.
ash splint basketry

The next stage is to carve and steam bend a wooden grab handle for the top of the basket. With small pieces like this, I heat them over a pan with a cloth to hold the heat on the wood and then bend it around a simple wooden former.
Steaming wood for bending steam bent ash basket handle

An inner and outer rim are fitted and the handle notched into the inner rim. With long, thin splints, I lash the rims and handle tightly in place.
lashing an ash splint basket rim

Finally, leather carry straps are attached along with a pair of splint ‘feet’ which protect the leather when the basket is on the ground. I’m proud to use UK-made leather and brass buckles which set off the ash splint beautifully.
Ash splint pack basket

Strong and lightweight, ash splint is a beautiful material which makes elegant and stylish baskets. My pack baskets are individually made to order and are priced at £425. If you are interested in discussing a commission, please email me for more details stevetomlin8[at]
As well as pack baskets, I currently have a few other ash splint baskets for sale.


About Steve Tomlin

I am a greenwood worker and scythe tutor. I carve spoons, bowls and other products from locally sourced greenwood. During the summer I teach scything around the UK.
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2 Responses to Making an ash splint pack basket

  1. So happy to see you pursuing this avenue of craft. That is such a beautiful and handy basket.

    I’ve always been amazed how rugged and strong a proper pack basket is. She’ll be hauling birch tree trunks in no time!

    Hope to see this summer!

    -Alex Y

  2. Stunning work. I love the pale ash with the natural leather. Very elegant.

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