Clam Basket Project

Clamming Skiff

The Essex Shipbuilding Museum (MA) has created a project to replicate a vintage clamming skiff and harvest basket, for which I’m digging in on research for the basket.

Here’s the model we’ll follow.

The basket is made with #11 gauge galvanized wire and will be woven with white oak from near the museum.

In the coming weeks, we’ll split out harvested logs, make jigs and molds so that we can replicate the basket and prepare for community classes to make more.


The 8-inch square bottom of the basket is woven with wire in 1-inch square dimensions, almost exactly 1-inch. Handling the thick galvanized wire and commanding it to hold with such certainly appears to have required some kind of jig to secure the wire in place as it was woven. I don’t know how the original maker did it, but I created a jig by sawing a grid 1/4 deep in 1-inch spreads from a cherry board. When the bottom was woven, a plywood square covered the wire and was bolted tight.


weaving clam basket

Weaving clam basket


One Comment on “Clam Basket Project

  1. I remember seeing one of these baskets in a basket collectors book I used to study the picture in, when I first started weaving back in the early 80s. I will be interesting in seeing how you wrap the wire around the rims once the basket is woven. Good luck. This looks exciting.

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