repairing a split wood basket

I had a grand day out last week and came home with some goodies, among which was this basket with damaged corners. It doesn’t seem to be especially old, but I liked the way it was assembled, the handle had brass fittings and aside from the corner damage was pretty solid. If the basket had been undamaged I probably wouldn’t have looked at it twice as I have plenty of baskets, but this gave me a chance to figure out how to repair one.

I had an epiphany in the basket aisle at goodwill, and spent $2 on two donor baskets with approximately the same sized slats? After disassembly, I put all the splits under water to soak. Upon reflection I should have left them all overnight as those were easier to work with. The soaked splits dry pretty quickly too so I should have left them in the water while I worked. I also thought about soaking the damaged part of the basket as well. Baskets don’t really LIKE to get soaked through, it throws them all out of whack and makes them shrink, but the broken corners were already pretty brittle.

I started by removing any broken splits that were small sections, I ended up removing a few more than I felt comfortable with but I had plenty of replacements to weave in. The wood that had soaked over night was much easier to weave than what had only soaked a few hours. and some pieces had to be trimmed to fit.

I had been convinced that I was going to use glues and brushes, but I found working slowly with a bit of wiggling, trying to keep all the ends UNDER so that nothing sticks out, glue wasn’t really needed. I left a couple of ends sticking out INSIDE, and will trim them flush once the basket is completly dry. JUST in case I may go about with a tiny brush with glue and tackle any cracked splits I didn’t have to replace.

I hadn’t actually cleaned the basket before I started, I wasn’t sure how many broken bits would have fallen off if I had. I used to put dirty baskets under the shower, which I found out was the worst thing to do. For every day cleaning just wipe with a damp cloth, using a paint brush to clean between the slats, or a vaccum for deep cleaning. But I wanted to remove the old dirty and grime, to make room for my own dirt and grim. So I washed it down using a soft Shoe Brush and a bit of warm water with Murphy’s Oil Soap. This way I didn’t actually SOAK the wood, and it drip dried off pretty quickly. Considering the mess on the towel this basket may have been older than I thought.

Considering I have never woven a basket in my life, I think I did pretty well.