How To Prepare Willow For Basket Weaving

Drying and Rehydration Of Willow

Willows must be stored in a dry place or they will become mildewed. For the same reason, any watered material left over from a particular job should be thoroughly dried before being stored away.  Before beginning work a rough estimate should be formed of the material likely to be used within the next two days.  Then that amount only should be soaked in water, which is used to , render them sufficiently pliable to be worked with.

Brown rods should be left under water for between two and ten days days, depending on the type of willow.   They should then be allowed to lie under a damp cloth for another day to get mellow. In common with white and buff rods, they will remain covered till needed for immediate use.

White and buff rods require only from a quarter-of-an-hour to one hour under water.  The time varying according to the size and hardness of the rods. Boiling may be resorted to in the case of brown, but not buff or white, for which cold water is used.  After removal from water the white or buff rods should lie for at least an hour under the cloth before being used.

During their use you will find that white and buff rods quickly dry and it will be necessary from time to time to dip the unfinished part of the work in water, or use a sponge or small piece of cloth to swab it occasionally.  It is quite unnecessary to work with wet hands or material, and after applying water, the hands should be wiped and the rods allowed to drain before work is resumed.

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The Willow Handbook is your quick start guide to the ancient craft of Willow Basket Weaving.

Inside The Willow Handbook you will learn:

  • Methods of cultivation, harvesting and preparation of Willow
  • Work space and tools required for basket weaving
  • Technical terms and essential weaving techniques

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