The basket shown in the accompanying sketch is designed to be used with a library table having slats in the ends and wooden handles on the drawers. The finish is made to match that of the table by fuming, when completely assembled, in a large-size size, clean garbage can, with fumes of concentrated ammonia.
The following quarter-sawed white-oak stock should be procured in the exact dimensions given. This may be had, planed and cut to lengths, from a mill for a slight extra charge. It is advisable not to have them sandpapered, as the very coarse sandpaper generally used, gives a bad surface for finishing.
See that the posts are absolutely square cross section. Mark with a pencil—not gauge—the chamfers on the ends of the posts and plane them off.
Carefully mark the tenons on the ends of all the rails with a knife and gauge lines. Be sure that the distance from the tenon shoulder at one end of rail to the shoulder at the other end is exactly the same on each rail. Cut the tenons, using a backsaw and chisel.
Arrange the pieces as they are to stand in the finished basket, and number each tenon and mortise. Mark all the mortises on the posts, being sure to keep the distances between the top and lower rail the same on each post. Cut each mortise to fit the correspondingly numbered tenon. Next, mark the mortises for the slats in the rails, allowing the whole slat to go in 1/4 in.
The handles are next in order. The pieces going into the rail should be fastened with a round 1/2-in. tenon cut on one end and glued in place. The crosspiece should be mortised all the way through these pieces and held in place by a brad from the under side.
Now put the whole basket together without gluing, in order that errors, if any, may be detected.
If everything fits perfectly, the basket is ready to be glued. For best results hot glue should be used. First glue up two opposite sides with the slats in place. Clamps must be used. When these have set for at least 24 hours, the other rails and slats may be glued in place and clamped. It is a good idea to pin the tenons in place with two 1-in. brads driven from the inside.
The handles are then glued in place, using hand screws to hold them until the glue sets. The bottom should rest on thin cleats, without being nailed to them, so that it may be removed when the basket is to be emptied of small papers, etc.
Before applying the stain, see that all glue spots are removed and all surfaces sanded to perfect smoothness. If a fumed finish is not desired, any good stain may be used, after which a thin coat of shellac and two coats of wax should be applied. Allow plenty of time for drying between the coats.