Long leaf pine needles for baskets

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by hot diggity, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    I have made a few baskets from pine needles, and have seen many really beautiful ones. The recent talk about plastic straw bans got me thinking about the long leaf pine as basket material again. Straws are the gauge for the rows of needles in basket making.

    I found these for sale for around $50 to your door.

    I'm not a basket maker, but if somebody wants to come get some for baskets you're welcome to them.

    I think I burned a $1000 worth this afternoon.
  2. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    I have tons of pine needles, Your welcome to come get em'
    Motomom34 likes this.
  3. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    I have a friend who put his daughter through college with the money he made annually harvesting long leaf pine straw. He has young pine trees that were planted for timber. Until they are grown they produce loads of needles. If the ground below the trees is kept free of weeds, and their seed, landscapers will pay a premium price per bail. He has special spray rigs on four wheelers to keep weeds from sprouting, and makes around $40k a year on pine straw.

    When these trees are ready for harvest the needle operation just moves to a younger plot of trees until the cut trees can be replaced with new needle makers. :)
  4. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor Site Supporter+

    Prices very I am sure, but when I looked into it several years ago, a pine needle harvest with the land owner doing practically none of the work except seeing to the mentioned spraying, would net $750 per acre per year.
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  5. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    He must have a pretty good spread of trees. How many acres does it take to clear that kind of profit ?
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  6. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    His family farm is several hundred acres. He has the same crew come in every year to bail the pine straw, and he warehouses it so he can time the sale to get the best price.
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  7. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    How long are the needles? Needles are $20 a pound? I would love to see a basket made out of them. That is quite the craft to make one that would hold together.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  8. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    It looks to be an industry

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    all from this

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  9. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    Needles are 10-12" long. Prices on-line vary and are sometimes by weight and sometimes by bundle diameter. You can even get bundles with the little end pulled off for a couple dollars more. To me they're a nuisance and a fire hazard, but the basket makers I've watched on the island make it look easy. I tried it, but I didn't really have the right materials. The idea is to use a gauge, like a short piece of plastic straw to keep the diameter of the baskets rows consistent. You start out with a bundle stuffed in this tube, and you wrap one end to hold it together. As you pull the tube over the needles you make more wraps, and stuff in more needles as you go. This eventually gives you one long strand of needles that you bend and tie to the next wrap of needles. Much like a kids pottery bowl, where you roll the clay and pile roll on roll. I have seen work that was 100% needle, but more common and decorative are bowls using colored thread to sew the rows together. I was using cinnamon dental floss and a crude paper clip "needle," to make my first bowl, but I got the concept down pretty quickly. Imperfect pine needle bowls burn really well in the fire place too.
    DuxDawg, Motomom34 and Gator 45/70 like this.
  10. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    You seem to like burning things. :LOL:

    I did a search on Pintrest and these are really cool. Some are even dyed.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  11. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

  12. GuitarPlayer

    GuitarPlayer Monkey

    here's a youtube search loaded with 'how to' videos

    making pine needle baskets - YouTube
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  13. enloopious

    enloopious Rocket Surgeon

    There are really long ones by my house.
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  14. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Collect them, dry them then sell them. Plus if you take up basket weaving in the winter it would be a good second income.
    The needles do not seem that long out here. But this is an interesting craft that is unique.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
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