Preserving Coiled Pine Needle Baskets

Pine Needle Coiled Baskets by Peg's Basketry Arnoldussen
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My preference is straight beeswax, though some people mix it with paraffin. I'll explain how I do it:

Melt wax in double boiler set-up (I use a recycled soup can). Once water is boiling, turn to simmer, as wax can suddenly flare (has never happened to me -- good). Preheat oven to its lowest setting (under 200 degrees). Use a sponge-on-a-stick to glob the wax all over the basket. It'll look awful and you'll be filled with fear, but proceed anyway. This gets very drippy, so cover working surface if you don't want to scrape wax later. When oven is fully preheated, put pathetic looking basket on an old cookie sheet or one that is wrapped with aluminum foil. Bake around 20 minutes.

You'll know when the process is complete because, though the basket will look wet, all the wax will be completely absorbed and the surface smooth--original condition. Take it out. Though it will be quite warm, you can handle it immediately; shape with your hands, if needed. Let it cool (I put it outside to accomplish this quickly). Voilà! One tough basket.


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