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Ferret-Basket-art - 1/2/98


"Constructing a FerretŐs Basket for Rabbit Hunting" by Pamela Hewitt, the Harper.


NOTE: See also the files: ferrets-msg, Ferrets-Hunt-art, rabbits-msg, pets-msg.


NOTE: The file Ferrets-Hunt-art contains the documentation for the construction of the ferret basket described below.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



First published in the Shire of TempioŐs newsletter, Dreamspinner.



                        By Pamela Hewitt, the Harper


   Never having constructed a basket before 1998, I was a little concerned

about tackling this project. It was clear from looking at the three

Rabbit Hunting with Ferret Tapestries that the top of the basket was a

piece of wood with two holes. At first I thought these were for

ventilation, but on examining the Peasant's Picnic Tapestry more closely

I discovered the lady with the basket who has a leather strap threaded

through the holes and looped over a walking stick. This was probably put

over the shoulder to keep the ferret and his personal odor to himself.

I concluded that the bottom of the basket was also made of solid wood,

because a ferret has very delicate feet and long toe nails. These toe

nails catch on things unless they are clipped every two to three weeks.

No good ferreter would let his valuable animal hang a claw in the bottom

of a basket.  My basket is larger than the one in the tapestries so that

an adult ferret can stretch out and rest its back. Modern boxes are

about 18 inches long and this is the longest dimension of the basket

top.  The top is shaped like a capital "D" and measures nine inches at

its greatest diameter. The top and bottom of the basket were clamped

together and holes for dowels were drilled about every one and one half

inches. This seemed a comfortable distance to weave the 5/8 inch oak

splits and turned out to be ideal. I purchased one pound of oak splits.


   It was unclear how the door to the basket was opened and closed.

My door was planned to be made with three dowels at 1 inch intervals

(an adult ferret can not slip its head through this space) with the

central dowel to be removable to let the ferret out. This seemed to be

the simplest and most secure method to create a ferret exit and would

approximate the baskets shown in the picture. A small handle was added

to the top to keep the dowel from dropping through and a blunted nail on

a string was attached to act as a latch, The nail is inserted into a

hole below the top of the basket. A miscalculation of the amount of

space between the dowels and the oak splits caused two more dowels to be

added to the door.


   The 8 inch dowels (about 32) were glued to the bottom. I then

soaked the oak splits in water for at least three minutes and kept them

wet. Pieces that were not properly wet or handled tended to break. I

found that instead of folding the split to weave back on its self that

it was better to allow the split to wrap gently around the dowel.

Allowing the split to soak too long made it sprout frizzies.  I wove the

basket to about two inches from the top and then attached the top.

Attaching the top was the most difficult part of the project. I started

inserting dowels into the top, one at a time. I started at one end of

the flat side and then worked my way to the opposite end. I then

inserted two to three dowels at a time first on one side and then the

other until the top was attached.  (In retrospect, I think I would begin

by glueing together both the top and the bottom to the dowels and then

weaving it.) I had about a half inch gap and divided one of the oak

splits in half to fill it. I then glued the four stationary dowels.  The

basket tops were sanded and finished with a waterproof non-toxic marine

lacquer. I attached the moveable dowel and its blunt nail with a string.



  Anna Gray Bennet. Five Centuries of Tapestry From the Fine Arts

Museums of San Francisco. San Francisco, Ca.: Chronicle Books, 1992.


  Gabriel Bis after Gaston Phoebus. Translated by J. Peter Tallon. The

Hunting Book. London: Regent Books, 1984.


  Margaret Freeman. The Unicorn Tapestries. NewYork.. E.P. Dutton & Co.,

Inc, 1976.


  James McKay. Complete Guide to Ferrets. London: Swan Hill Press, 1995.


  Pierre Verlet et al. The Book of Tapestry, History and Technique. New

York: The  Vendome Press. 1978.


  Graham Wellstead. Ferrets and Ferreting. London: T.F.H. Publications,

Inc., Ltd, 1982.



Copyright 1998 by Pamela Hewitt, the Harper, Pamela Keightley Hughes, 3305 Pecan Drive, Temple, TX  76502-2341. e-mail: shughes at vvm.com (2 "v"s not a "w") Permission granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided

author is credited and receives a copy.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org