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2. Adding Uprights

Between the weaving of the base and the weaving the sides, there is the stage of adding uprights (also known as staking up). In this tutorial I will teach you how to add uprights to to your base in a very classic and traditional way. It is important to choose the right willow rods for your stakes, so that they will be easy to insert, and to soak them properly, so that they will not break during this process. See the relevant tutorials in my Beginners Guide to make sure you get these things right.

There is, actually, much more to learn about the process of adding uprights, but, for now, this basic demonstration is quite sufficient. After weaving this basket, and, perhaps, a few more bases, be sure to watch my more detailed course on this subject, called Staking Up.

Cutting the uprights

When cutting the uprights with a knife the work should be effortless. As long as the material is properly soaked and the angle of the knife is correct, there is no reason why it shouldn't go smoothly and effortlessly. If I find it hard to make the cut, I like to tilt the knife upwards so that it breaks some of the rod, which I will then pill off, and proceed to make the cut finer. The knife should be held and pulled diagonally in relation the rod, and not at a 90-degree angle. The pull of the knife, or- the force of the cutting, should come from the arm, and not from the wrist. This is how I do it, at least. The length of the cuts should be proportional to the size of the base. Making them too long will leave some of the cut outside of the base, and it will break when the stakes are kinked upwards. Usually, I just do it naturally and quickly, without thinking about it too much.

Inserting the uprights

I will always try to insert the uprights without making a channel with the bodkin first. If they refuse to entre, then I will use the bodkin. I might actually go all around the base and make channels with the bodkin to make my work more efficient. If the uprights are extremely hard to insert, I might pre-kink them, and hammer them in with my rapping iron. You can see a demonstration of this method in my more detailed Staking Up tutorial.

Another way to ease-up the insertion of the uprights is to use lard. I've never actually used it, to be honest, but I have used cooking oil, and it did the job fine. Just make sure you don't get the oil on your pushing hand, as it might make it even more difficult to insert the uprights. But, as I said already, when choosing the right willow rods, the uprights should entre pretty easily.

Hopefully, this lesson was clear enough. If you have a question about it, or if you wish to give me feedback, let me know through the contact page.

Asaf Salim

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