Gauges And Molds


Ash Splitter By Rick Love
c. 2004


HM5722; 8587; 8588; 8589

Crooked Knives
c. 1900-1950

Crooked knives were among the tools commonly used by basketmakers to shape sticks of
ash and to make sturdy handles and rims for baskets.


HM2540; 3040; 3048; 3082

Penobscot Splint Gauges
c. 1880-1930

Basketmakers use hand held splint gauges to divide basket material into pieces ranging from
1/32” to 3/4” widths. Gauges are made with a wooden handle and clock springs were set at regular
intervals to split the strips of basket material. Early gauges were elaborately decorated with chip
carving and relief carved designs. Later gauges tend to be plainer with little or no ornamentation.


Button Basket Start
By Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot




HM3099; 5717; 3361; 3366; 8598

Basket Blocks or Molds
c. 1900

To ensure uniform shapes and sizes, especially for fancy baskets, basketmakers attached their
basket start to blocks or molds. They continued to weave up the basket sides while their work was
attached to the block. The piece was removed from the block to finish the rim. Forms represented
here were used to make sewing baskets, tatting baskets, curly bowls, shoppers, and handkerchief