June 4, 2015

Herb Basket from scrap Red Cedar and Canvas

We were going to a saturday afternoon party at my work friend Branden's house, and I planned on bringing along some spring garden stuff as a little gift. But what to bring it in? An old plastic bag? Hmm... I've got all those scraps of clear red cedar in the basement which I'm generating by building our fence...

I doodled up a design in Inkscape one day while I was eating my lunch. You can find the vector file here, with scale of 1 pixel = 1mm.

To make cutting out the patterned pieces easier, I made a full scale version of these pieces.

I printed this and cut out the pieces with scissors, then traced around them with pencil on the wood. The bandsaw made quick work of the cutting out, and my block plane, spokeshave, and sander smoothed out the saw marks.

I knocked it together with minimal work mostly on Friday night using the stainless torx drive wood screws I favor for nearly every purpose fit into predrilled holes.

The width looked a bit much, so I redid the handle to fit in a different way and thus make the basket narrower by 38mm. Also, using 19mm thick wood for the two bottom pieces looked chunky, so I used a scrap of about 12mm thick spanish cedar.

During sanding I accidentally knocked the frame off the table and the handle broke, so I redid the handle to make it stronger, and put a bit of epoxy in the joint before screwing it together. Probably this basket is still too fragile and it could use epoxy in the other joints and an even stronger handle design. Red cedar does split relatively easily, so maybe next time I'll use a piece of cherry or beech for the handle. A stretcher piece running longitudinally between the two bottom cross pieces would also help with strength and wouldn't add much weight. A few coats of waterlox wouldn't go amiss. Eh, maybe next time!

After sanding, I took the frame upstairs and made up a quick lining with some pre-washed cotton canvas I had in my fabric stash.

 Running short on time, I didn't do the best job and did not even take the time to wind a bobbin and change the thread on my sewing machine. But it was soon finished and secured to the frame with stainless screws (not torx unfortunately; those were too long) and stainless countersunk washers.

I left one end of the canvas liner open, to allow long items like green onions, to stick out.

Buster and I went outside to cut some green onions, sorrell, mustard greens, tatsoi, and tokyo bekana.

These were bunched up with rubber bands.

Violet made some labels with her calligraphy pens,

which I soon learned were loaded with water soluble ink :(

Ready to go, only an hour late to the party!


jengod said...

You guys are so cool. Do you homeschool? I think I read that somewhere. Would love a post about that someday. :)

Holly Gates said...

@jengod -
Thanks for the compliments!

We do indeed homeschool. My wife Becky is at home, so she does most of the work, and her inclinations don't tend towards writing up all our private business on the internet, as mine do. She is a good sport about me posting stuff to this blog, but she does not feel much motivation to do so herself. She did however contribute an essay about choosing to stay home to an ebook recently published by another homeschooler in Cambridge.

Anyway, I'm not sure I would post here about homeschool. I'm not the primary person on it at our house, and also I feel like one of the nice things about homeschool is that it is a flexible way to approach the unique and disparate situations presented by each family. So I don't know how interesting or useful it would be to random people on the internet. Additionally, while being mostly confident in what we are doing, I admit to harboring some anxiety about how it is all going to turn out, so I'm reluctant to crow about our choices and approaches.

But, briefly, we are not in either of the hardcore curriculum at home or unschooler camps. Our oldest would be just finishing 2nd grade if she were in school. In terms of directed stuff, we are doing Singapore and Miquon for math, Writing Road to Reading and a book from 1911 or so which I forget the title of for spelling and writing, and occasionally bits of history and science from other curriculum books Becky has. They just started doing greek roots the other week. The two older ones are compelled to do piano most days and for the last two years I've taken them to chinese school on sunday afternoons, though I think we probably won't do that this next year. Most of their day is unstructured however, and they spend a lot of time playing and doing art and paper projects or making little illustrated books on their own. The oldest is really into making advertisements!