Awl A small, sharp-pointed tool for making holes.
Bail The movable part of a swing or drop handle.
Bark The outermost covering of a tree.
Basket body The simple containing structure of a basket, consisting of the base and sides.
Bastard splits See tangential splits.
Billet A sized blank of wood for making basket materials such as splits, rods, hoops, etc. Also called a “slat’ and a “flitch”.
Binding See lashing.
Board splits See radial splits.
Border In ribwork, several ribs added above or alongside the rim hoop, modifyng the top basket edge. In rodwork, the top or bottom edge of wickerwork baskets, formed by weaving the ends of stakes in a particular sequence.
Bottom-sticks In rodwork, foundation materials for the base of a basket.
Bow In ribwork, a type of wrapping. In splitwork and rodwork, the length of an overhead or ear handle that spans above the rims.
Braid Decorative surface weaving which may cover the rim or handle of a basket. Most common in ribwork.
Brake A holding method or a device for securing the end of a piece of wood while it is being split.
Brash A description of wood that is brittle, cracking, or breaking when bent.
Butt log The part of the tree trunk from the ground to the first knot or limb, also known as a “pole” or “stick” of timber.
Bye-stakes In splitwork, short stakes which usually are added into a base structure. Bye-stakes can alter the original base shape and size.
Cambium The layer of cells in a tree, where the new sapwood and bark are formed.
Chasing Plain weave using two weavers that alternately work over and under an even number of working ends. Chasing is a spiral weave.
Curlicue overlay A decorative technique in which extra splits are threaded through the weaving of the basket body to form curls on the outer surface.
Die A metal tool used for cutting and shaping. In oak rodwork, a die is most often used to form evenly rounded rods. However, some basketmakers use dies for scraping splits.
Double bottom In splitwork, a round base made of two separate sets of stakes, in two layers.
Drawknife A two-handled cutting tool used to shave wood.
Dress To size a billet by shaving it.
Drop handle A movable handle attached to a pivot, often consisting of a bail and two small ears for hinges. Also called “swing handle”.
Ear In ribwork, a type of wrapping. In splitwork, ribwork, and rodwork, an attached side handle, most often placed on opposite sides of a basket rim.
Earlywood Also called “springwood”. A thin weak layer of wood cells, formed in the first part of a tree’s growing season and used as guidelines for making tangential splits. See grain lines.
End checks Radial cracks on the end of a log, caused by loss of moisture and resultant shrinkage.
Feet Added protections or supports on the base of a basket. Feet are also known as “slats”, “slides”, “shoes”, “runners”, “heels”, “cleats”, and “skids”.
Fillers In splitwork, extra splits to fill in a space, such as the fillers used to close in the bases of rectangular splitwork baskets or the fillers used to close the space between top rims.
Fitching A wickerwork weave using two rods which twist around each other as they interlace the bottom-sticks or stakes, creating a Z-twist. Also known as “twining” in fiberwork.
Flitch See billet.
Floats In rodwork, structural or nonstructural rods which, for some portion of their length, are unattached to a basket body and “float” over a basket’s side weaving, adding a decorative element.
Foot-stakes In rodwork, rods which are bordered off for a foot.
Foundation Basket materials which form the skeletal supporting structure of a basket body, to a large extent determining the basket’s final size and shape.
French randing A wickerwork weave which employs one weaving rod for each side-stake. Weaving rods of equal length are worked in plain weave, moving diagonally up the basket sides.
Froe An L-shaped tool consisting of a wooden handle attached to a metal blade which is beveled on its lower edge. The froe is used to split wood apart by leverage and is used in conjunction with a wooden maul.
Gluts Wooden wedges for splitting, made of tough dense wood such as dogwood or hickory.
Grain lines The dark lines of earlywood cells, as seen in a tree’s cross-section. Basketmakers call these earlywood layers “grains” and use them as guiding lines when making tangential splits.
Grains See grain lines.
Grain splits See tangential splits.
Growth ring The annual ring made of layers of earlywood and latewood cells.
Handle See overhead handle, ear, drop handle, swing handle, roped handle, wrapped handle, woven handle, hoop, and handle holes.
Handle holes In ribwork and splitwork, a type of handle made by working spaces into the sides of a basket directly under the rims, so that the rims double as hand grips.
Heartwood The darker wood in the center of the tree, surrounding the pith. In basketwork, heartwood frequently is used for handles, hoops, rims, or ribs.
Hexagonal weave A splitwork weave which interlaces over-one/under-one at oblique angles without twisting, creating hexagonal spaces.
Hinge A type of pivot for the bail of a drop or swing handle, most often made like small ears.
Hoop In ribwork, a shaped length of wood with its ends overlapped and joined together to form a continuous band. Hoops are the foundation of rib baskets, forming the handles, spines, and rims. Hoops typically are round or oval, but they also may be made in other shapes, including the square and the D shape. In splitwork, traditional basketmakers often use the term “hoop” for “rim”.
Lash To bind.
Lashing In splitwork, the method of binding rims or feet to a basket body. Also called “binding”.
Latewood A dense layer of thick-walled wood cells, formed in the second stage of a tree’s growing season. Also called “summerwood”.
Maul A heavy wooden hammer or mallet for striking a froe, a glut, or wedges to force wood to split.
Mock waling A wickerwork weave which begins in the same way as French randing, with one weaving rod for each side-stake. The weaving rods often are worked in a twill (over-two/under one) pattern. The finished weave looks like waling.
Movement The entire working pattern of a weave or border. For example, the movement in plain weave is over-one/under-one (1/1).
Overhead handle A handle that spans across the top of a basket, from rim to rim.
Pairing A wickerwork weave using two rods which twist around each other as they interlace the bottom-sticks or side-stakes, creating am S-twist. Also known as “twining” in fiberwork.
Pith The central core of a tree.
Plain weave Interlacing of weaving materials, usually at right angles and without twisting, in an over-one/under-one pattern. Also called “checkerwork” and “simple plaiting” in splitwork and “randing” in rodwork.
Plaiting A synonym for weaving.
Pole See butt log.
Radial splits Divisions made in line with the rays. Wood is split along the rays (radially) to achieve width. Also known as “board splits”.
Randing In rodwork, the term used for plain weave.
Rays Lines of wood cells which radiate out from the pith through the wood to the bark.
Reed A basketry material cut from the core of the rattan palm which grows in Southeast Asia.
Rib In ribwork, a curved foundation piece which is inserted into the hoop framework to form the sides of a rib basket. Ribs may be either flat or rounded and are anchored at the basket’s wrapping. In splitwork, the term “rib” is commonly used by traditional basketmakers instead of “stake”.
Rib baskets Baskets made with a framework of hoops and ribs, which are filled in by weaving splits.
Ribbing In ribwork, the method of inserting ribs into the sides of a basket.
Ribwork The baskets and techniques of rib basketry.
Rim In ribwork, a foundation hoop determining the top opening’s shape and size. In splitwork, rims are made from thick splits to encircle the top edge of the basket body. Rims reinforce the basket and are bound in place by a lashing.
Rive To split or tear apart.
Rod A long slender stick, either growing naturally, as with willow, or shaped from wood by whittling or using a die.
Rod baskets Wickerwork baskets using rods as the chief weaving material.
Rod/coil baskets Baskets constructed with white oak rods for the coil foundation and bound with flat splits.
Rod/rib baskets Baskets constructed with a framework of hoops and ribs and woven with rods.
Rod/split baskets Baskets using flat splits as foundation materials and rods as weavers. These baskets share features of both rodwork and splitwork.
Rodwork The baskets and techniques of rod basketry.
Roped handle In rodwork, an overhead or ear handle consisting of a foundation piece wrapped with small rods which also attach the handle to the basket body.
Row-by-row In splitwork, a method of weaving using an even number of working ends to build the sides of a basket. Each row is woven separately and stacks on top of the previous one.
Sapwood The light wood in between a tree’s cambium layer and heartwood. In basketwork, used mostly for making splits.
Scarf To make a scarf join. A type of join made by cutting away two pieces so that they correspond to each other and then securing them together to form one continuous piece.
Season To dry wood.
Shaving horse A clamping device typically consisting of a bench with a block or head attached to a post and foot pedal.
Side-stakes In rodwork, the foundation rods added into the base weaving to make the uprights for a basket’s sides.
Single bottom In splitwork, a round base made of one layer of stakes.
Slat See billet.
Slath In rodwork, the central bottom formation made by interlacing the bottom-sticks with weavers to the point of opening out.
Soumak In splitwork, a decorative weave which moves first forward and then backward, wrapping around a vertical element before continuing forward.
Spine In ribwork, the central bottom support of the basket.
Spiraling Any method of continuous weaving to build a basket’s base and sides.
Splice To add a new weaver in order to continue weaving or lashing.
Split The thin flat pliable wood strip prepared by riving a log. Also known as “splint”. To divide or rive.
Split baskets Baskets made chiefly from flat splits used for both foundation and weaving materials.
Splitwork The baskets and techniques of split basketry.
Springwood See earlywood.
Stakes In splitwork and rodwork, stakes are the foundation materials for the base or sides of the basket. Also called by traditional split basketmakers “ribs”, “staves”, “standards”, or “splits”. See also bye-stakes, side-stakes, and foot-stakes.
Stick See butt log.
Stroke In rodwork, a term used to denote a complete unit of the weaving movement or pattern. In randing, over-one/under-one is a complete stroke.
Summerwood See latewood.
Swing handle See drop handle.
Tails The ends of a handle which are inserted into the side weaving to help secure that handle.
Tangential splits Splits made approximately at right angles to the wood rays, and in line with the growth rings. Also called “bastard” or “grain” splits. Oak is split tangentially to achieve thickness.
Turnback In ribwork and splitwork, the reversing of a weaver back around a rib or stake. Turnbacks create short rows which either fill in a section of a basket body or leave a space in the weaving (such as handle holes).
Twill Interlacing of foundation and weaving materials without twisting, in which the elements work over and under each other in movements greater than 1/1. The most common twills in oak splitwork are 2/2 and 3/3.
Twining A term used in fiberwork, synonymous with “pairing” and “fitching”.
Upsett In rodwork, a term used to describe the rows of weaving used to “set up” the side-stakes.
Waling Wickerwork weave using three or more rods which twist around each other as they interlace the bottom-sticks or stakes.
Weavers See weaving materials.
Weaving materials Splits or rods, which interlock by twisting or interlacing to secure the foundation and fill in the basket body. Also known as “weavers”.
Wedges Tapered pieces of metal or wood which are used for splitting wood.
Wickerwork Baskets made chiefly of round materials, as well as the techniques used to construct these baskets.
Working ends In splitwork and rodwork, a term to describe the total number of ends of foundation materials.
Woven handle In ribwork and splitwork, a construction consisting of a central handle with extra ribs or splits added to either side. All pieces are interlaced with weaving splits.
Wrapped handle In ribwork, splitwork, and rodwork, a handle consisting of a foundation piece wrapped with splits or rods. See also roped handle.
Wrapping In ribwork, the configuration used for binding the junction of the handle and the rim hoops, forming the anchoring point for the ribs.
- This glossary of terms appears in
Appalachian White Oak Basketmaking: Handing Down the Basket by
Rachel Nash Law and Cynthia W. Taylor
Copyright 1991 by the University of Tennessee Press
Reprinted with permission